If you live in the United States or other countries with widespread electricity availability and a significant population of EVs, then you already have access to electric car charging. For most people, it is not easy to estimate the cost of charging their EV each year because they may use it only intermittently.
However, we can provide some guidance based on studies from Consumer Reports and a California-based non-profit organization. Keep in mind that none of these are exact estimates for individual drivers but rather estimates for different scenarios.
I. What is the Cost to Charge an EV in kWh?
Electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) can cost anywhere from $400-$6,500, depending on the car and installation.
Although public stations can cost anywhere from $0.30-0.60 per kWh, charging at home costs about half that amount, or $0.15-$0.30 per kWh, depending on the supplier and state taxes.
For example, if you live in New York State, you pay 30% more than the average home energy rate of 13.7 cents per kWh because of New York City’s high tax rate of 16.8 cents per kWh. If you charge your car at home overnight, you can save even more by selecting off-peak times when lower rates are offered (in response to lower demand).
II. How does the Cost of Charging Compare to Refueling?
An electric car uses about a fraction of the fuel it takes to recharge itself, so it is cheaper to fill up at home than on the road. The average American would save $115 if he refilled his tank from his tap rather than the pump at a gas station.
According to the American Automobile Association, the average cost of gasoline today is $4.593 per gallon, and Americans filled up their gas tanks an average of 816 times a year.
It would cost $1,465.52 per year to fuel a standard car at that rate. But charging at home at night (the least expensive way to charge) costs only $390 annually—less than one-quarter the cost of fueling your car with gasoline.
For an electric car, the average cost to charge at home would be $0.84/kWh (assuming 40 miles of electric driving per day, which is realistic for most EV drivers) and the average cost to charge at a public charging station is $0.30–$0.60/kWh, meaning that it costs less than half to charge your EV at home.
III. Cost to Charge an EV at Home
The answer depends on the charging system and energy rates in your area. Home charging costs are always lower than public charging.
Most of us charge our cars at home through a standard 120-volt outlet, called a Level 1 charger. Level 1 charging is the most common and least expensive way to charge an EV, or about $0.30 to $0.60 per kWh, depending on how much power your home generator can deliver and where you live.
But to speed up that process, some owners attach three-phase or 240-volt Level 2 chargers, which cost from $400 to $6,500 before installation, plus electricity rates for your area. If you buy an adapted 240-volt system for your car, you can speed up charging substantially.
The average cost of charging a car at home varies according to the time of day, but it is roughly equal to your area’s average residential electricity cost.
For example, New York residents pay about 50 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), so for a full charge on an EV that uses 20 kWh, you would pay about 10 cents per hour. In Los Angeles, which has one of the highest rates for residential electricity in the nation, that same charge would cost about $1.70.
IV. Cost to Charge an EV at Work
According to a study sponsored by the AFDC Energy, the cost of charging an electric car at work can vary between public charging stations and Level 2 charging. On average, it costs $0.51 to charge an EV at a public charger, while it costs $3.30 to charge the same car at a workplace’s Level 2 charger.
At that price of electricity, the total cost of charging would only be about $4 more than if you used your car’s local electricity rate, but it takes twice as long for EVs to reach full battery on a workplace charging station.
V. Cost to Charge an EV at Public Charge Points
The average price for charging at a public charge point is approximately $0.30/kWh in the U.S., with rates ranging from $0.04 to $1.50/kWh depending on the state, time of day, and season(we are estimating the current cost in each city).
These prices are steeper than those seen at home due to utility markup and infrastructure costs between home and public charging stations.
VI. Cost to Charge an EV at Rapid Chargers
The cost of charging at a rapid charging station depends on your car’s battery size, the cost of electricity in your area, and whether you’re paying per minute or kilowatt-hour. In general, though, a full charge will cost you $10.7 per kWh.
In a full day of charging, the average electric car would charge 2.6 times (2,600 milliamp-hours) at home vs. only 9% of that ($0.182) at public charging stations, resulting in a net savings of $11,271.72 over its entire life.
VII. The Faster the Charging, the Higher the Rate
The higher the charging rate, the more expensive it is. A 6.6-kW charging station can charge a new BMW i3 in about four hours, while a 50-kW station can charge 80% in half an hour.
You can expect to pay $0.05 per minute to charge a Level 1 EV at an EV charging station and $0.10 to $1.00 per minute to charge a Level 2 EV at a public Level 2 charging station ($3 per hour).
But if you need more than 30 minutes of charging at home, you may want to upgrade from Level 1 (120 volts) to Level 2 (240 volts), which allows you much faster charging – usually about 10 hours for the average electric vehicle. However, this will also increase your cost per kWh, so it’s worth it only if you can use the higher rate consistently.
VIII. FAQs on Electric Car Charging Costs
1. How Much does it Cost to Charge an Electric Car at a Charging Station?
The cost of charging an EV at a public charging station is $0.30 to $0.60 per kWh, depending on the state where the station is located and whether the electricity is priced based on peak or off-peak rates. For example, a 2018 study found that in 2016, charging costs for California drivers ranged from $0.30 to $1.00 per kWh, while drivers in Texas paid between $0.06 and 0.65 per kWh.
2. Is it Cheaper to Charge an Electric Car at Home?
The short answer is yes. Charging at home is cheaper than public charging for only an hour or two at a time. Public charging stations are convenient, but the amount of electricity you can buy for a certain price is limited. If you want to go longer distances on more frequent trips, you’ll probably save money by installing a Level 2 charging station at home.
3. What is the Cheapest Time to Charge an Electric Car?
For an EV charging system that can charge at home and 80% of the battery capacity, the lowest cost period is from 5:00 am to 12:00 pm on an off-peak rate.
EV charging costs depend on many factors, including the state you live in, the electricity price there, how much you drive, and how often you charge your EV. If you charge your EV at home, then the only cost you’ll pay is your electricity bill, which can vary widely depending on how often you drive.