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How Much Does It Cost To Charge An Electric Car?

How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car? A Deep Dive Into EV Charging Costs

Hi there! If you‘re thinking about getting an electric vehicle, one of the most common questions is how much it costs to charge an EV compared to fueling up a gasoline-powered car. This is an especially important consideration given the major rise in gas prices recently.

In this in-depth guide, I‘ll walk you through everything you need to know about electric vehicle charging costs. You‘ll learn how to calculate your EV‘s electrical costs per mile, how much charging costs vary, and how EV charging stacks up against gas vehicles. You‘ll also discover some of the other operating cost differences between electric and gasoline-powered cars.

Let‘s dive in and uncover the real costs of powering an EV!

How Do You Charge an Electric Vehicle?

Before looking at charging costs, it helps to understand the different ways EVs can be charged:

Level 1 Charging: This uses a standard 120V household outlet and the portable charger that comes with the EV. It provides 2-5 miles of range per hour of charging. This is the slowest charging method but requires no additional equipment.

Level 2 Charging: A Level 2 EVSE (charging station) is installed at home or in public and charges 7-30 miles per hour. It requires 220-240V power like a dryer outlet. This is the most common public and residential charging solution.

DC Fast Charging: DC fast chargers use 480V power to charge an EV battery to 80% in 15-45 minutes. However, fast charging too often can degrade battery life. This enables long distance travel but costs more than Level 1/2 charging.

Understanding these options will help you choose the best charging solutions based on your driving needs and budget. Now let‘s look at how much each method costs.

What Factors Determine the Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

Several key variables affect your EV charging costs:

Battery Size: The larger the battery capacity, the more energy (kWh) required to charge it. Longer range EVs generally have larger batteries.

For example, the compact Kia Niro EV has a 64 kWh battery while the Tesla Model S Long Range exceeds 100 kWh.

Electricity Rate: Your home electric rate or public charging station rate determines the cost per kWh. U.S. residential rates range from about 12¢ to over 30¢ per kWh.

Charging Speed: Level 1 charging uses fewer kWh over a longer time while fast DC charging consumes more kWh quicker.

Charging Location: Home charging provides the lowest per-kWh cost. Public Level 2 chargers costs 2-4x more. DC fast charging costs even more per kWh.

Accounting for these factors, let‘s compare charging costs.

Charging Cost Comparison: Level 1, Level 2 and DC Fast Charging

Based on U.S. Department of Energy data, here is how much it costs to fully charge different EVs using various charging methods:

Level 1 Charging

  • 2022 Nissan Leaf (40 kWh battery): $4.80 charged at 12¢/kWh overnight
  • 2022 Ford Mustang Mach E (75 kWh battery): $9.00 charged at 12¢/kWh overnight

Level 2 Charging

  • 2022 Polestar 2 (75 kWh battery): $18.00 charged at 24¢/kWh public station
  • 2022 Porsche Taycan (93 kWh battery): $22.32 charged at 24¢/kWh at home

DC Fast Charging

  • 2022 Audi E-Tron (95 kWh battery): $48.00 charged at 50¢/kWh for 45 min session
  • 2022 Lucid Air (120 kWh battery): $60.00 charged at 50¢/kWh for 30 min session

As you can see, Level 1 and Level 2 charging offer the lowest per-kWh costs, while DC fast charging can cost up to 4-5x more per kWh.

Over 75% of EV owners charge at home for $0.12 – $0.25 per kWh on average, providing the most affordable charging solution.

What Does It Cost Per Mile to Charge an Electric Car?

To directly compare EVs, it helps to look at the charging cost per mile. This takes into account differences in battery sizes and electrical efficiency.

One way to calculate the per mile EV charging cost is:

(Battery kWh capacity / EV range) X electricity rate

Let‘s compare two popular EVs:

2022 Hyundai Kona Electric

  • Battery: 64 kWh
  • Range: 258 miles
  • Electricity Rate: $0.15/kWh

(64 kWh / 258 miles) x $0.15 per kWh = $0.038 per mile

2022 Tesla Model 3 Long Range

  • Battery: 82 kWh
  • Range: 358 miles
  • Electricity Rate: $0.15/kWh

(82 kWh / 358 miles) x $0.15 per kWh = $0.035 per mile

Despite having a larger battery, the Tesla Model 3‘s superior efficiency makes its per mile charging costs slightly lower than the Kona EV‘s.

How Does EV Charging Cost Compare to Gasoline Vehicles?

Calculating electric mile costs also allows direct comparison to fueling a gas-powered vehicle.

The U.S. EPA uses $0.15 per kWh and $3.50 per gallon of gas for apples-to-apples comparison across vehicle types.

Let‘s compare the per mile costs of several popular 2022 models:

Electric Vehicles

  • Nissan Leaf: $0.04 per mile
  • Polestar 2: $0.05 per mile
  • Tesla Model Y: $0.04 per mile

Gasoline Vehicles

  • Toyota RAV4: $0.11 per mile
  • Honda Civic: $0.09 per mile
  • Ford F-150: $0.17 per mile

As shown, EVs offer 2-4x lower per mile fueling costs compared to similar gasoline models.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the average EV fueling cost per mile is one-third to one-half lower than gas-powered vehicles.

Over 15,000 annual miles of driving, you could save ~$500-1000 per year fueling an EV!

Estimated Charging Costs for 5 Top-Selling EVs

To give you a better idea of real-world charging costs, here are cost estimates for 5 popular electric models based on 15,000 miles of annual driving:

2022 Tesla Model 3 Long Range (358 mile range)

  • 15,000 miles / 358 miles per charge = 42 charges per year
  • 42 charges x 82 kWh battery x $0.15 per kWh = $526/year

2022 Nissan Leaf (149 mile range)

  • 15,000 miles / 149 miles per charge = 101 charges per year
  • 101 charges x 40 kWh battery x $0.15 per kWh = $606/year

2022 Ford Mustang Mach E (270 mile range)

  • 15,000 miles / 270 miles per charge = 56 charges per year
  • 56 charges x 75 kWh battery x $0.15 per kWh = $630/year

2022 Polestar 2 (270 mile range)

  • 15,000 miles / 270 miles per charge = 56 charges per year
  • 56 charges x 75 kWh battery x $0.15 per kWh = $630/year

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 (303 mile range)

  • 15,000 miles / 303 miles per charge = 50 charges per year
  • 50 charges x 77.4 kWh battery x $0.15 per kWh = $581/year

Based on these estimates, the average yearly home charging cost for these popular EVs is around $595.

For comparison, a 30 mpg gas car with $3.50 per gallon fuel over 15,000 miles costs $1,750 a year – nearly 3x more!

Factors That Increase EV Charging Costs

While electricity is generally cheaper than gas, there are some factors that can increase your EV charging costs:

  • High electricity rates – Areas like California sometimes exceed $0.30/kWh, raising charging costs

  • Extreme temperatures – Heating or cooling the battery uses extra energy

  • Frequent fast charging – DC fast charging costs 4-8x more per kWh than Level 1/2

  • Long commutes – Adding more daily mileage requires more frequent charging

  • Older EV batteries – Battery range and efficiency degrades over time

Understanding these factors can help you minimize charging costs. Taking advantage of lower nighttime rates, slower Level 2 charging, and charging more often to avoid fast charging can all help reduce your EV electricity usage costs.

Federal EV Tax Credit and Other Savings

It‘s also worth noting that the U.S. federal government offers a tax credit of up to $7,500 when purchasing a new EV to help offset higher upfront vehicle costs. Many states also offer EV rebates up to $2,000 or more.

Additional savings come from no gas taxes, reduced maintenance, insurance discounts, utility rebates, HOV lane access, and more. Local and state incentives can reduce lifetime EV ownership costs by $5,000 or more!

Key Takeaways on EV Charging Costs

Wrapping up this deep dive on electric car charging costs, here are some key takeaways:

  • Charging an EV at home costs roughly one-third to one-half less than fueling a gasoline vehicle

  • The typical cost to fully charge an EV battery is $4 – $22, depending on battery size and electricity rates

  • Level 1 and Level 2 charging offer the lowest per-kWh costs, while fast charging costs significantly more

  • An EV‘s cost per mile ranges from $0.03 to $0.05 on average – far less than gas vehicles

  • Estimated yearly charging costs for top EVs is around $600 for 15,000 miles

  • Local and federal incentives can reduce lifetime EV ownership costs by thousands

So in summary – yes, powering an electric vehicle costs considerably less than a gas-powered car in most cases! I hope this detailed EV charging cost analysis helps you decide if going electric could be the right choice to save money based on your driving needs.

Let me know if you have any other EV questions! I‘m happy to chat more about the transition to these new innovative vehicles.