How much does it cost to charge an electric car? Edmonds

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?  Edmonds

One of the biggest reasons to buy an electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is the cost advantage of electricity versus gasoline. No matter where you live, electricity will be less expensive to use than petrol. But calculating these costs requires learning some new terms and rethinking the concept of a “full tank”. In this article we’ll discuss the factors that determine the cost of charging an electric car, and we’ll also give tips on how to save money in the long run.

KWh is the new MPG

For starters, you’ll need to think in terms of kilowatt-hours per hundred miles (kWh), which is the EV equivalent of miles per gallon. Specifically, the energy consumption of an electric car is measured in kilowatt-hours per 100 miles (kWh/100 miles). That’s the EPA number you’ll see on the electric car’s window sticker and owner’s manual.

To find your cost of charging at home, multiply your vehicle’s kWh/100 mile figure by the electricity rate—the cost per kWh—for the time of day you’ll charge most often (about in later). The output would be cost per 100 miles.

Another way to calculate the cost of fully charging your electric car is to start with the total kilowatt-hours (amount of electricity) it takes to recharge the electric car’s battery and multiply that cost by That’s what you pay per kWh for electricity. For example, if your electric vehicle battery is rated at 50 kWh, and the cost of electricity in your home is $0.23 per kWh, it would cost $11.50 to recharge a fully depleted battery.

Charging location and method

So now that we’ve established the basic formulas for determining how much it costs to charge an electric car, where and how quickly you charge can have a big impact on the overall cost. let’s take a closer look.

Home Charging (Level 1 or 2)

In most cases, EV charging at home will be less expensive, whether you use a 120-volt (Level 1) or 240-volt (Level 2) setup. This is because home electricity rates are lower than those for third-party chargers, where the company operating the machines needs to make a profit.

The price per kWh at home varies by location and utility company. As of this writing, the cost of electricity ranges from $0.13 per kWh in Phoenix to $0.45 per kWh in Hawaii. Take, for example, the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV, which has a 65-kWh battery. Assuming you’re in Los Angeles, with an average electricity cost of $0.21 per kWh and a fully depleted battery, it would cost about $13.65 to fully charge the battery.

Public Charger (Level 3)

The cost of a public Level 2 charger will vary greatly depending on your location, the company operating the charger, and the station’s pricing structure – per minute or per kWh. It’s hard to nail down an average cost for these stations because of these variables and the fact that most companies don’t advertise their pricing until you’re at an actual EV charging station.

Electrify America, a leading EV charge station provider that lists some of its prices, currently charges $0.43 per kWh in several states such as Arizona, California, Florida, New York, Oregon and more. For time-based stations, Electrify America charges $0.03 per minute.

In other states like Georgia, Massachusetts, and Texas, Electrify America sets the price of an EV charging station based on its speed and the maximum power level your vehicle can accept. For stations up to 90 kW, it costs $0.16 per minute. For faster stations that can push up to 350 kW, it costs $0.32 per minute.

For example, if you have a base-model Hyundai Ioniq 5 with a 58-kWh battery, it will cost $24.94 for a full charge at a $0.43-per-kWh rate. But on a per-minute cost, that same Ioniq 5, which takes about six hours to fully charge, would run up a tab of about $58 using the station for $0.16 per minute. If the price seems high, keep in mind that these locations are not your main source of charge. Instead, they’re there for you to lock up your car for a few hours while you go to work or eat.

If you’re going to be a heavy user of Level 2 public charging stations that charge by the minute, pay attention to the speed of the onboard charger for the EV you’re considering. A car with a slower onboard charger will cost more to fill up than one with a faster speed. The difference can be huge: A base 2017 Nissan Leaf with the then-standard 3.3-kW onboard charger takes twice as long to charge as a 2018 or later Nissan Leaf with a 6.6-kW onboard charger. Thankfully, many EVs now come with 6.6-kW or 7.2-kW chargers as standard.

DC Fast Chargers (Level 3)

You’ll find these stations near business parks and shopping centers. As the name suggests, these fast-charging stations can sometimes be pricey because they cost significantly more to set up and require more power to operate. In these cases, what you’re paying extra for is the time you save. After 30 or 40 minutes, most EVs will have enough charge to drive another hundred miles.

Electrify America often charges the same fees for Level 2 charging as for Level 3. The differentiating factor is the speed of the charging station. DC fast-charging stations with speeds greater than 90 kWh per minute are where pricing penetrates higher in places subject to states.

Let’s assume that same Ioniq 5 referenced above ran for 30 minutes at the 150 kW electrification US station. At $0.32 per minute, this would cost approximately $9.60. This may seem less expensive at first glance, but keep in mind that you’re not going to be on a charger for that long.

EVgo, another provider of fast-charging stations, uses per kWh pricing that varies depending on the time of day. In California, prices range from $0.32 per kWh from midnight to 8 a.m. to $0.66 per kWh during peak hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. a full charge.

Tesla Superchargers

The Tesla Supercharger network is a series of charging stations designed specifically for Tesla vehicles, although the company plans to broaden access to other vehicle makes. Superchargers vary in speed but most are considered Level 3 or DC fast chargers.

According to Tesla’s website, owners are billed per kWh when possible; Otherwise, they are billed per minute. Each station has its own pricing, and Tesla owners can see the price of the nearest Supercharger on their navigation screen. The price may also vary depending on peak and off-peak hours. According to Electrek, a ballpark figure for the cost of a supercharger in California is around $0.50 per kWh. The Tesla Model 3 Long Range with an 82-kWh battery will cost about $41 when fully charged.

For Supercharger stations that bill per minute, Tesla sets its pricing with a four-tier system based on charging speed:

  • Tier 1: Charging at 60 kW or less, lowest cost per minute
  • Tier 2: Above 60 kW but charging at or below 100 kW, 2nd lowest cost per minute
  • Tier 3: Above 100 kW but charging at 180 kW or less, second highest cost per minute
  • Tier 4: Charging above 180 kW, highest value per minute

Note that unlike typical pricing, Tesla’s website only provides the above hierarchy.

Time-of-use electricity rates could save or cost you more money

Utility companies typically have two types of rate plans. The usage level plans are essentially “pay as you go.” The cost of electricity increases with your consumption. A kilowatt at the end of the month is likely to cost more than a kilowatt used at the beginning of the month.

With time-of-use plans, you pay a fixed rate based on the time, day, and even season you’re using the electricity. The hours from 4 pm to 9 pm are generally considered “peak hours” and cost the most. Off-peak hours, usually early morning or late at night, are the least expensive. Some utility companies also have midpeak slots.

PG&E is one of the largest utility companies in the US that offers time-of-use plans to its customers. During the summer months, off-peak electricity costs as low as $0.34 per kWh and increase to $0.41 per kWh during peak hours. If you charged your Chevrolet Bolt EV during off-peak hours, it would cost around $22 for a full charge. Compare this to $26.65 during peak hours.

Some utility companies give you a set baseline allocation of electricity. This will result in the lowest rates, but if you go over your allotment, prices go up. With PG&E, off-peak electricity increases to $0.49 per kWh for peak hours for customers who have exceeded their allocation cost of $0.42 per kWh. That puts the Bolt EV’s figures above $27 and $32, respectively.

How to keep your EV charging costs down

Here are some helpful tips on how to reduce your costs when you’re charging your electric car.

Take advantage of free charging

Some automakers, such as Volkswagen, Toyota, and Ford, will give you a certain amount of free charging for purchasing your electric vehicle. Free charging is measured in either time or kWh and often applies to chargers from a designated brand such as Electrify America.

Free chargers are also available at places such as museums, dealerships, utility companies, and some businesses that offer charging as a visiting perk. Some may require you to download an app, while others may use other means to verify that you are in fact a customer.

Become a member of charging station companies in your area

Most major charging station companies will offer significant discounts of around 25% to 35% to EV owners for creating an account, downloading their app, and using their stations. The higher discount is likely to come with a monthly subscription fee, but it could still provide value for those who use public stations frequently. Another benefit of being a member is the ability to reserve a charging station so that no one else is using the station when you arrive. Reservations can cost a few dollars, but they are often waived in higher-membership tiers. Finally, these apps speed up the trip to the charge station because your payment information is already in the system and you can plug in and connect to the app on your phone.

Switch to a time-of-use rate plan

As we discussed earlier, plugging in your EV after 9 pm instead of returning home from work is likely to save you money. Some electric vehicles can be set to start charging at a set time, meaning you can plug it in now and charging won’t start until later. Charging in the morning is even better, as long as you unplug before peak hours.

Don’t Overstay Your Welcome at Public Chargers

Resist the temptation to charge your electric vehicle to 100% whenever you’re at a public charging station. If it’s a fast charger, you may only need about 20 minutes to give you enough charge for the day. Then, you can top off at home where it is less expensive. Even if it’s a slow station, you want to aim for 20% to 80% charge, as this will take less time and therefore cost less. The amount of time it takes to charge an electric car from 80% to 100% may be the same amount of time it takes to charge from 20% to 80%. Incidentally, regularly charging your battery to 100% is not a good idea.

Edmonds says

While there are more factors to consider when determining the cost of charging an electric car than a gasoline-powered car, it is well worth the learning curve because the cost is ultimately lower. For those who can do most of their charging at home, the savings are even greater.

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