How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

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The average price to charge an electric car is one of the main advantages of Electric Vehicles (EVs) over Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) ones. While the cost to fully charge an electric car varies on the cost of electricity per state and the type of charging station used, EVs are a cheaper option in almost every case. If you want to learn what is the average cost to recharge an electric car and more information on the subject, this article is for you. Here you will learn the price difference of EVs, how to calculate the cost of charging an electric car to help your finances, comparison against ICE vehicles, and more.

How Much Does It Cost To Charge An Electric Car?

Before learning what is the average cost to charge an electric vehicle, you should understand that several factors affect this cost. EVs require electric power to charge, so it is important to consider the cost of electricity by state and the capacity of the battery, this will help you determine how much energy your EV will require and the cost to supply that energy. Considering an average cost of electricity at 10.7 cent per kWh and a battery of 54 kWh that would last for a 200-mile range, charging EV batteries from zero would cost around $6. This means that the average price per mile driven is $0.03. Since the average American drives around 14,263 miles per year (around 1,888 miles per month) the cost of charging an electric car on a monthly basis would be around $57 and the annual cost would be nearly $428.

What Is The Cost To Charge An EV In kWh?

If you want to charge an EV with a solar Photovoltaic (PV) system or estimate charging costs with the actual electricity price in your state, you might be wondering what is the cost of charging an electric vehicle in kWh. To make this calculation, you need the efficiency of the EV. The average EV features an efficiency of 77%, but the best way to calculate electric car charging cost in kWh is using EPA efficiency. This standard varies between EVs from 250 watt-hours per mile (Wh/mi) for the most efficient ones up to 535 Wh/mi for the less efficient ones. For instance, the Tesla Model 3 features an efficiency of 255 Wh/mi up to 267 Wh/mi. This means that driving 14,263 miles per year would require yearly energy of 3,647.06 kWh (255 Wh/mi) up to 3,808.22 kWh (267 Wh/mi). Daily, your EV would consume between 10 kWh up to 10.43 kWh.

How to Calculate an Electric Vehicle’s Charge Costs?

Up to this point, you already know how much will it cost to charge an electric car, right? Well, not quite. there is an additional cost that is not regularly commented on and that you should know about.

The Hidden Costs of Charging an Electric Vehicle Nobody Is Talking About

When figuring out what does it cost to recharge an electric vehicle at a public charging station, you should beware of the hidden costs. Some charging stations charge you by the power consumed, but others charge by the hour, these ones may incur higher expenses during winter in extreme cold weather. Charging an EV at below freezing temperatures regularly takes two up to three times the regular time. If you frequently charge in a public charging station that features hourly tariffs, you might end up paying up to three times the cost. This is why EV charging at home in a controlled temperature environment is a much safer strategy. Keep in mind however that another hidden cost is associated with the installation costs of a level 2 EV charging station that could go anywhere from $400 up to $6,500.

How Can You Save On EV Charging Costs?

Just like there are additional costs to be considered when calculating how much is the electric car charging cost, there are also ways to save money. In this section, we give you some tips and hidden secrets that will help you save on EV charging costs:
  • Apply for Tax Incentives: The U.S. government is invested in increasing EV usage, which is why it is subsiding citizens with up to $1,000 in incentives for installing EV chargers, and up to $7,500 for the acquisition of new EVs.
  • Charge up to 90% in public stations: Some public charging stations charge by the hour. Considering that the last 10% of your EV charges at a much lower speed, you can save on charging costs by disconnecting your vehicle once it reaches the 90% charge.
  • Beware of the Temperature: EVs should be charged in temperature-regulated places. Charging at below 32ºF temperatures will reduce charging speed, possibly making you spend unnecessary money on energy while charging above 113ºF reduces the lifespan of the battery.
  • Consider a solar PV installation: Solar PV systems can produce cheap and clean energy. This will reduce your carbon footprint, reduce the cost of electricity at your home, and therefore allow you to charge EVs at a lower cost.

Average Yearly and Monthly Cost to Charge an Electric Car

The average citizen in the U.S. drives around 11,443 miles. If we consider the average price for electricity at $0.149/kWh (Q4 2022) and the average EV efficiency of 0.346 kWh/mile, the cost to charge an EV would be around $589.93 for those 11.443 miles. Divided by the 12 months of the year, you would pay around $49.16 per month to drive your electric vehicle.

Cost of Charging an Electric Car at Home with a Residential EV Charging Station

Charging an EV at home is the cheapest option for you since it features the same $/kWh tariff as regular appliances (sometimes at an even lower tariffs if you subscribe to an EV friendly rate that your utility will probably offer). This means that considering the $.0.149/kWh tariff, charging the 98.7 kWh battery of the Ford Mustang Mach-E (another one of the most popular EVs in the U.S.) would cost an average of $14.71.

Cost of Charging Electric Car at EV Public Charging Stations

Costs for public EV charging stations are usually rated by hour of charging. Additional to this cost, you may have to pay a membership fee or a higher tariff if you are charging as a guest. If you leave the vehicle idle for too long (at least more than 10 minutes) you will have to pay a tariff per minute.

– Using a Level 2 EV Charging Station

Let us analyze the case of Electrify America level 2 EV charging stations, featuring a cost of $0.03 per minute or up to $1.80 per hour. The Ford Mustang Mach-E features an 11 kW on-board EV charger, meaning it takes around 9 hours to charge it, for a total cost of $16.2, this is without considering monthly membership fees and the idle fee of $0.40/min in case you leave the EV idle for longer than 10 minutes.

– Using a Level 3 or DC Fast Charging Station

A Level 3 DCFC station features a similar case. For instance, EVgo DCFC stations charge $0.34/kWh plus $3 to reserve a spot. Charging the 98.7 kWh battery of the Mustang Mach-E takes only 1 hour, with an overall cost of $33.55. The lowest tariff is set at $0.22/kWh with no reservation cost but requires paying a $12.99/month membership, charging at this tariff costs $21.71 to charge the battery, still more than for a home charger.

Table 3: Charging Cost for different EVs in Home vs. Public EV Charging Stations

EV Charging Costs vs. Gasoline Fueling

A great advantage of learning the EV charging cost is that you can now compare this against the cost to fill up an ICE vehicle gas tank. As a result of our previous calculations, we estimated that charging an EV costs $6 for 200 miles while a 100-mile drive costs around $3. Since the price per gallon of gas in the U.S. reached $3.67 in September 2022, a “highly efficient” ICE vehicle that drives 25 miles with a gallon of gas would cost $14.68 for a 100-mile drive. This means that it costs around 4.89 times (489%) more to drive an ICE vehicle than an EV charged at home. It is important to remark that gasoline prices are not stable and they can fluctuate like they did during the midst of 2022, when they reached $5.01 per gallon. This is around $20 for a 100 mile drive. Electricity prices, instead, can be more stable, especially if using a renewable energy source as power supply. This is one of the greatest advantages of EVs against ICE vehicles.

How Can I Estimate My EV Charging Costs?

If you are wondering what does it cost to fully charge an electric car at home, there is a simple equation you can use to estimate this. The equation considers the battery capacity of the EV and the electricity cost in your state. The equation is the following: To make a real-life example, let us consider the cost to charge a Tesla Model Y in Washington. The price per kWh in energy reached ¢15.3 and the Tesla Model Y has a 75 kWh battery installed that delivers a driving range of 315 miles. Fully charging the Tesla Model Y in Washington would cost $11.47, which is quite cheap considering that a 100 miles drive would cost $3.64.

Different Costs for Different Ways to Charge: The Faster the Charging, The Higher the Rate

Up to this point, you might be asking yourself what is the price to charge an electric car at a public charging station. These prices change, some public car charging stations allow you to charge for free, feature a monthly subscription, or have a flat rate per kWh. As a thumb rule, the faster the charging speed, the higher the rate. The flat cost to charge an electric car at a charging station may be considered from a range of $0.40/kWh up to $0.70/kWh. Charging a 54 kWh battery at these rates would cost around $21.6 – $37.8 while charging the Tesla Model Y would cost $30 – $52.5. This is why EV charging with a level 2 EV charger is always the most efficient, economic and reliable choice.

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Nick Zamanov is a head of sales and business development at Cyber Switching. He is an expert in EV infrastructure space and he is an EV enthusiast since 2012, Since then Nick strongly believed that electric vehicles would eventually replace Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars.

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