If you are thinking about buying an electric vehicle, one consideration you must make is the cost of the vehicle. Now, the cost is not just about the purchase price, which tends to run higher than that of gas-fueled vehicles. It should also include the refueling costs.
So, how much does it cost to charge an electric car? The answer will vary greatly seeing as the price depends on the charger, the charging network, the location and the electricity rates for the vehicle, which are different from one state to the next.
But as an initial estimate, electricity rates vary from $10 to $30. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how much it costs to charge an electric car.
How to measure the cost per charge of an electric car
The amount of gas that can fill a car’s tank is measured in gallons. Similarly, with electric cars, the energy that an electric car’s battery can store is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).
Electric cars generally measure their kWh consumption per 100 miles. Most electric car batteries have a capacity of 43 kWh, and the average mileage for electric vehicles (EVs) is approximately 0.346 kWh.
That said, the average mileage of your EV may differ depending on your driving habits and the surrounding conditions. For example, driving in stop-and-go traffic uses more energy than driving on the highway, which is similar to how gas-fueled cars perform as well.
Different types of electric vehicle charging costs
Depending on when and where you charge your car, your electric vehicle charge cost will vary. You should factor in the type of charge that is needed, the energy company’s rates and the amortized cost of purchasing as well as installing a home charging station. With all of these details in mind, you are more likely to obtain a better idea of how much charging your electric vehicle will cost you.
Free charging for electric cars
Some EV manufacturers offer free charge-ups at company-branded charging stations. For instance, Audi’s e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT come with free charging benefits. Both vehicles receive three years of free charging through the company’s Electrify America charging network.
Similarly, Porsche, Hyundai, BMW’s i4 and BMW’s iX are vehicles that all come with free charging as well. BMW provides free charging through Electrify America for up to two years after the initial purchase. The EQS and EQE vehicles from Mercedes also come with this same plan.
Off-peak charging at home
The price of electricity varies based on the time of day. During off-peak hours, which are hours during which fewer people are in need of electricity, the price per kWh will drop. During on-peak or high-demand hours, the price will increase instead.
In simple terms, countries as a whole use less electricity during typical nighttime hours, seeing as that is when most people are sleeping, so the demand is low. When EV users charge their vehicles during off-peak hours, the price to charge their cars from empty to fully-charged decreases.
On-peak charging at home
On-peak hours begin when consumers turn on appliances, wash laundry, cook meals and complete various other electricity-based chores. Additionally, daytime store hours occur during on-peak hours, which increases the overall cost of electricity as grocers and other retailers turn on their lights for the day.
These hours come with a greater demand for electricity that your local utility servicers must be able to provide. To compensate for the increased costs of offering electricity to everyone who’s in need of it, the price of electricity will increase. This means that the electric vehicle charging cost during these hours will increase, even when you’re charging your vehicle from home.
Public car charging station cost
Public charging stations provide people with a way to charge their electric vehicles in public. The costs of using a public car charging station will also vary. Not only do public chargers have to compensate for variable electricity costs, but they generally seek to turn a small profit as well.
In most cases, public charging stations charge around $0.40 to $0.70 per kWh. Considering that most vehicles average three to four miles per kWh, the typical public charging process can cost upwards of $30 for a full charge, if not more. Larger vehicles tend to cost closer to $40.
High-speed public electric charge station cost
Another consideration that must be made regarding the cost to charge an electric car is the type of charger that you are using. Broadly speaking, there are three tiers of EV chargers.
Level one chargers are slower. It typically takes up to 24 hours to fully charge a vehicle when you use a level one charger to do so.
Level two chargers are the types of charging stations you will typically find in malls. They are a faster refueling option, and they cost anywhere from $1 to $5 per hour. Depending on your vehicle, a full charge can take anywhere from four to 12 hours.
Level three chargers are sometimes called direct current fast chargers (DCFCs). These are the fastest charging option. They can recharge your battery within an hour for anywhere from $10 to $30, depending on the timing and the location.
Other factors that can impact your public charging speeds include the size of your vehicle’s battery and the dispenser output. That said, overall, most electric vehicles can be refueled for up to 80% of their capacity in under an hour using a level three charger.
Are Tesla charging stations free?
Tesla introduced supercharging stations as a free-to-use perk for Tesla car owners. But in the past two years, Tesla has started charging people to use their charging stations in an effort to reduce corporate expenses and increase revenue on part of Tesla.
That said, there is one notable exception that cannot be overlooked. If you have a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can take advantage of free supercharging without any limits.
How much electricity do electric cars use?
The average electric vehicle uses 30 kWh to travel 100 miles. That is equivalent to the amount of electricity the typical American home uses to power lights, computers, appliances and HVAC systems combined.
How long does it take to charge an electric car at a charging station?
The amount of time that it takes to charge an EV will vary tremendously because the timing is based on the type of charger, the battery, the vehicle’s age and the percentage of the charge that remains when you start charging the battery. On average, charging times can take about 30 minutes to 24 hours. With level three chargers, that average time is reduced to about one hour.
How far can you drive with an electric car?
The average mileage per charge for modern full-electric BEVs is 250 miles. However, more recent versions from top manufacturers, like Tesla and Mercedes, can travel upwards of 600 miles on a single charge.
How long can an electric car sit without charging?
The amount of time an EV battery can sit unused varies based on whether the vehicle is partially or fully electric as well as the battery’s output. Many manufacturers note that their batteries can remain unused for a solid amount of time if the charge is between 40% and 60%.
However, some manufacturers recommend that customers not let the battery go unused for more than two to three weeks on a full or near-empty charge. This is a good rule of thumb.
Electric vehicle charging costs vary
If you have an electric vehicle, the cost to charge the battery will vary substantially, seeing as the cost is dependent on the vehicle, the charger and the time of day. If you drive an average of 14,200 miles per year like most Americans, this will put your monthly charging costs around approximately $59 at 15 cents per kWh, which is a lot cheaper than the cost of a gas vehicle.
How much are electric cars?
According to estimates from Kelley Blue Book, the average cost of a new electric car is $66,000 and higher.
Is it cheaper to charge an electric car at night?
Generally speaking, it is cheaper to recharge your battery at night. However, you shouldn’t recharge the battery every night. Only charge your battery when your vehicle starts running on low battery, as charging the battery too frequently can reduce the battery’s lifespan.
Can I plug my electric car into a regular outlet?
Today, every mass-produced electric car comes with a charging unit that you can plug into all regular 110-volt outlets. Therefore, you can charge your electric car using ordinary household outlets. However, charging your EV with a 110-volt outlet is likely going to be less efficient than charging it via a manufacturer-designed charging unit.