Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular due to their cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits. However, many people are unsure of the cost of charging an electric car compared to refueling a gas-powered car. To answer this question, we enlisted the help of John Voelcker, a longtime journalist and analyst in the automotive industry who specializes in electric vehicles. The mathematics involved is quite simple.
To get a more accurate estimate, it's helpful to have a recent electricity bill as a reference. You'll want to calculate how much you pay for electricity in a given month. According to Energy Information Management, the average for the U. S.
is almost 16 cents per kWh. Let's apply this rate to a typical electric car. This example doesn't take into account any discounts offered by your utility company. Again, this is just an estimate, as fuel prices and mileage vary. However, considering that few cars and SUVs come close to offering a combined average of 30 mpg, our rather conservative calculation of numbers in this scenario makes it clear that recharging will cost less than refueling a car.
The financial gap is reduced with a more fuel-efficient vehicle, but it remains. 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. For the most part, electricity consumption and costs are lower late at night. That's good news for anyone considering an electric vehicle, according to Voelcker. Where you live directly affects your electricity bill. People who live in Maine pay about 24 cents per kWh of energy use, more than double what kWh cost in states like Wyoming or Nebraska. When talking about public level 2 charging and level 3 fast charging systems, it is more difficult to reduce prices compared to standard domestic costs.
That's because charging networks vary in price, not to mention availability across the country. Many states, local municipalities, and utility companies offer rebates and incentives for electric car owners to install household chargers. Voelcker explains that the difference sounds more complex than it is. It's as if the same fuel pump could dispense regular and diesel gasoline from different hoses. As for the price, a 240-volt recharge (level) could cost you anywhere from zero dollars to a fixed hourly rate. Charging networks often offer membership programs to minimize the cost of recharging.
This is especially useful if you can't charge your vehicle regularly at home. Unlike a typical 240-volt level 2 home charger system, you'll find level 3 chargers in commercial environments because installing them at home is prohibitive for an individual. Voelcker points out that home recharging is the best option for anyone considering an electric car. However, it's just as important to know where to find advantages for electric vehicles close to home. For example, a bustling car park in the center of a crowded city could lure owners of electric vehicles with the promise of charging them for free. However, the resulting fee for parking there could easily exceed what you would have paid to fill even the thirstiest gas-powered car or truck. Even so, drivers will discover that the charger network is growing with lots of free options, including in malls, hotels, grocery stores and more.
No, Tesla Supercharger stations are not free to use. You'll have to pay a fee to use them, even if you have a Tesla. Charging your electric car is cheaper than filling a traditional vehicle with gas. The most economical way to charge an electric car is to do it at home. Public charging companies charge a premium to cover things such as infrastructure costs and, of course, to make a profit.
Apart from the charger that probably comes with your car (or a faster one if you feel like it), you don't have those costs. Basically, these figures take into account the car's load from 0 to 100%, so in most cases, you'll only spend a few dollars at a time charging, for example, 60 to 80%. Charging your car at a public charging station is a completely different game. Public charging companies have invested a lot of money in their fast charging technology, not to mention the costs of installing the stations, paying employees, etc. The result? You'll pay much more at charging stations. Charging stations can charge at different speeds. So-called Level 1 chargers are most useful at night, as they take up to 24 hours to fully charge a car.
Level 2 chargers typically offer just under 30 miles of charge per hour. Level 3 chargers, or fast DC chargers, can often fully charge a car in less than an hour. The best and most consistent way to charge your electric car on a daily basis is at home, using public chargers for road trips and quick recharging. But there are a few ways to save money on public charging too.