As the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road continues to rise, understanding the cost of charging them has become increasingly important. For a first-time electric vehicle (EV) buyer, the anticipated savings can be a major influence on your shift toward renewable energy and away from a traditional gas-powered vehicle. Factors associated with EV cost savings primarily stem from EV charging statistically costing less than internal-combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by an average of $800 to $1000 annually, with additional saving in maintenance costs and a slower depreciation.
In this article, we will explore the different types of charging available and how they can meet your driving needs, as well as the various costs associated with each option.
Home charging is typically the least expensive option, with Level 2 charging being the preferred method due to faster charging capabilities and added convenience. Public chargers may seem like a convenient option, but availability and expense can be unpredictable, and frequent use of DC fast charging can deteriorate EV battery performance and durability. The cost of charging at home is generally simple to compute, but pricing at public chargers can be extremely variable, with no standard rate established for this type of service across states or even cities.
We’ll also discuss the benefits of utilizing a smart panel or smart charger to schedule or optimize charging times to provide even more cost savings and improve battery health over time. Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much it costs to charge an EV, but this article will assist you in determining a custom charging solution that meets all your electrification needs.
It’s essential to understand the types of charging that are available and how they meet your driving needs when you begin to assess what your charging costs may be now and in the future.
Typically, the least expensive option is to charge your vehicle overnight at home, using a Level 1 or Level 2 charger. Typically, Level 2 charging is preferable due to faster charging capabilities and the added convenience it provides. While electricity rates vary from region to region, charging an EV is typically a less expensive option than paying for gas.
Public chargers may seem like a convenient option, due to the rapid rates of charging offered by DCFC chargers and the opportunity to charge while shopping, running errands, or during work, but availability is limited with approximately 3,000,000 EVs on the road and an estimated 130,000 public chargers nationwide. Additionally, expense are unpredictable and the added cost of the often-required fees or subscriptions can drive up the price. In addition, frequent DC fast charging of 3 or more times monthly will lead to the deterioration of EV battery performance and durability.
The cost of charging at home is generally simple to compute. To assess the amount you can expect to pay on average to charge an EV at your residence, simply take a look at your electric bills.
Start by dividing the total amount paid per month by the number of kilowatt hours (kWh) used. Then simply divide the number of kWh used by the total bill to determine the price you pay per kWh. On average, the U.S. household pays $0.16 per kWh.
Most EVs are able to go 3 to 4 miles for each kWh charged or 0.15 to 0.20 kWh per kilometer of range. Consequently, to calculate the number of kWh you can expect to need to power your EV, take the total number of miles you drive monthly and divide it by the number of miles per kWh your EV drives gets.
For example, the VW ID4 would be the total number of miles driven monthly divided by 3.4, as this is the amount of miles charged for each kWh on average. Multiply this value by the rate per kWh you pay, and you’ll be able to predict the amount you can expect to pay when charging at home.
Utilizing an EV as your everyday transportation is typically a much more budget and environmentally friendly option than driving a traditional gas car and equates to paying approximately a dollar per gallon.
Given that many utilities offer time-of-use plans, you may also find that rates per kWh are lower if you charge your vehicle overnight, making at-home charging an even more attractive option. You can realize additional cost savings and increase your EV battery health and battery longevity by utilizing a smart panel or smart charger to schedule or optimize charging times.
If you’re out longer than expected, you may encounter the need to use a public charger, which leads to another question — how much does it cost to charge an EV while I’m on the go?
When utilizing the convenience of a public charger, you will typically find Level 2 or Level 3 charging available. The price incurred will be extremely variable, with no standard rate established for this type of service across states or even cities. The owner of each charging network is able to set the price based on the level of charging and also add fees to those rates. Hence, the cost of charging at one location may be wildly different than at another.
While fast charging can be desirable for immediate needs, it is uncommon to find a Level 3 charger at a residence due to a variety of factors, including the type of electricity required, direct current instead of alternating current, the long-term impact on the EV battery capacity, and the higher price associated with that method.
Level 3 chargers are more commonly found in commercial settings, where fast charging is seen as an occasional convenience rather than a daily occurrence. Given that you’ll encounter unpredictable rates and lower the life of your EV battery overall by relying on Level 3 public charging, you may find yourself asking not just about today’s costs but projected ones as well — how much does it cost to charge EV batteries over many years and the resulting cost of replacing your vehicle’s battery as a result of battery degradation?
The answer is simple — it may be time to consider installing a charging solution at home, where you can adopt a much more user-friendly and cost-effective Level 2 EV charging approach that is convenient for everyday use.
So just how much does it cost to charge an EV? There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but by evaluating your needs and habits, you can better understand what EV charging expenses will look like for you.
Your location, driving habits, electricity rates, and even your EV’s exposure to extreme weather will all play a part. What is easy to assess, however, is that you’ll achieve your best rates and your most extended EV battery life by using a Level 2 charger at your residence. Safe and efficient charger installations are important for ensuring you aren’t slowing down your charger speeds and getting the most out of your EV charging experience at home.
Find a qualified partner in your area today by contacting Qmerit. Our highly experienced network will work with you to determine and design a custom home EV charging solution to meet all your electrification needs.
Trusted by top auto brands and EV charging companies and as a White House recognized electrification and EV charging solutions installer with over 269,000 charger installations across North America, Qmerit has the experience to save you money and time by getting your EV charger installation right the first time, satisfaction guaranteed.