How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Vehicle?

Posted by Amy Guinan

Apr 30, 2015 8:00:00 AM


Different Factors Affect EV Charging Price

Inching closer to that first electric vehicle purchase?  As batteries get stronger, the price to purchase an electric vehicle (EV) continues to drop, and gas prices inevitaby rise -- what could be better than a clean, efficient, and dependable electric vehicle?

And after that initial purchase, what does it cost to charge the car?

There are two main considerations on charging price:

  • The cost of electricity in your city.

  • The way you drive your EV will affect how many miles you get per charge.

Calculating the Cost

To figure out the cost of fueling an EV, start with the electric car's energy consumption rate, which is expressed as kWh per 100 miles (kWh/100m). This figure is listed on the EPA's EV fuel economy label and the government's Web site. The next figure is your home electricity rate, assuming that home is your primary charging site. Multiply the kWh/100m figure by the electric rate to get the cost per 100 miles.

For instance, the 2013 Leaf's kWh/100m figure is 29. If electricity is 12 cents per kWh — the national average — it would cost $3.48 to go 100 miles.

On average, electric car drivers can expect to pay $2 to $4 to fully charge an all-electric car and travel about 100 miles.

The average cost of electricity in the US is 12 cents per kWh. Therefore driving an average EV 15,000 miles per year will amount to about $540.00 per year to charge.

EV’s Save Money

As mentioned, the cost of electricity can vary greatly depending on where you live.  However, in order to equal the average price of fuel for a gas-powered car, the price of electricity would have to be four times the national average (roughly 48 cents per kWh.) Nowhere in the continental US does electricity cost even close to that much.

Additionally, with fewer moving parts, EVs cost much less to maintain. If you combine the fuel savings with the reduced maintenance costs, it's clear to see an EV will cost you much less in the long run, even if it costs a little more up front.

Cheapest Electricity During Off Peak Hours

If you buy an EV, the cost of a “fill-up” will largely depend on when and where you recharge it, not to mention the rates your utility company charges. Rather than worry about mpg, cost-conscious EV buyers should focus on how to get car-charging kWh at the lowest rates.

The cost of electricity is based on the rates set by utility companies, time of use and level of use. The more electricity you use, the more you pay for it. And consumers generally pay more per kWh for electricity that's used at peak hours. If EV buyers do some planning, they can find themselves paying rates lower than the national average of 12 cents per kWh if they charge at off peak hours (such as during the middle of the night).

Ideas to Save $ on Charging

The main take away is that even with electricity prices in constant flux, EV drivers can still expect significant savings over fuel-powered cars. In order to bump up these savings EV drivers can be savvy and consider charging options such as:

Save Money, Save Energy

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