How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

Learn how much it costs to charge an electric car from an expert's perspective! Find out what factors affect electricity rates & how much you can save.

How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

As for the price, a 240-volt recharge (level) could cost you anywhere from zero dollars to a fixed hourly rate. Before you start, know that some car manufacturers offer free charging, but most drivers have to pay. The difference between your expenses and owning a gas-powered vehicle depends on your driving habits and other factors, but here we'll cover the basics. Charging on the road is a little more confusing.

Brands sometimes charge different amounts and offer different speeds, some of which may cost more than others. In addition, some charge per minute, while others offer charges per session or per kWh. Depending on the season, you may need to download an application for billing and tracking charges, while others allow you to charge just by swiping your credit card. Public recharge prices vary tremendously, especially from state to state.

Local electricity rates play an important role, but the owner of the charger is also involved in setting the prices. If the charger is in a location, such as a shopping mall or business parking lot, inactivity fees may also appear, which are intended to dissuade people from leaving their cars plugged in when they're not nearby. You can view the price of any particular charger from the provider's application or website through its charging map. The range of electric vehicles is affected by many of the same factors that affect fuel economy in gas-powered vehicles. The driver's habits behind the wheel are the most critical factors in determining autonomy.

If the owner of the electric vehicle drives aggressively with a leaded foot, the vehicle will not achieve the best efficiency. As you are sure to know, the same is true for a vehicle with traditional fuel. Driving smoothly and calmly is the best way to extend your range. Reach is also linked to efficiency. If an electric vehicle is huge and not very aerodynamic, its range will be affected and the owner will pay more to collect it.

The GMC Hummer EV, for example, returns around 47 MPGe, while the Chevrolet Bolt reaches 120 MPGe. The EPA considers that a gallon of gasoline is equivalent to 33.7 kWh and bases its estimates on that calculation. The temperature also affects the range to a large extent. Passengers need heating and climate controls when it's cold, which can drain the battery faster. Charging can also slow down while the battery's thermal management works to precondition the cells.

At the same time, reactions inside the battery slow down when it's cold, which can affect range by up to 40% in extreme cases. Electricity rates are subject to many factors, such as the region where you live, the time of year, and even the time of day when peak hour charges apply. Level 2 charging equipment can be installed for drivers with less regular schedules, longer trips, or electric vehicles with large batteries that need more than one night (or the typical waiting time) to fully charge. However, generally speaking, you'll have lower running costs with an electric car that you charge at home than with a vehicle that runs on gasoline or diesel. One way to think about charging costs at home is to divide the miles traveled by three, since most conventional electric cars tend to average around three miles per kWh. While the cost of road trips in electric vehicles is comparable to that of conventional cars, the total cost of ownership of an electric vehicle is much lower. The city of San Jose, California was one of the first to issue requirements to install vehicle charging systems in single-family and duplex homes and explains the process of obtaining permits and planning the location of a household charging unit.

Most electric vehicle (EV) drivers including fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) charge their vehicles overnight at home with Level 1 or Level 2 AC charging equipment. If you're planning to take a road trip with your electric vehicles (EVs), you'll want to prepare for the cost of charging. Your electrical contractor must understand and use the appropriate NEC for a safe and code-compliant installation. For recharging electric vehicles, the stability and planning benefits of domestic electricity rates offer an attractive alternative compared to traditional types of transport. If possible consult the vehicle manufacturer's guide for information on the required charging equipment and learn its specifications before purchasing it or electrical services. To compare fuel costs between individual models of conventional and electric vehicles see Vehicle Cost Calculator. Electric vehicle owners can install Level 2 (240 V) charging equipment in their homes to charge them more quickly or opt for Level 1 cable supplied with their vehicle as shown here. To calculate cost per mile of an electric vehicle you must know cost of electricity (in dollars per kWh) and efficiency of vehicle (how much electricity is used to travel 100 miles).

Many states local municipalities and utility companies offer rebates and incentives for electric car owners to install household chargers.