How Much Does it Cost to Charge an Electric Car?
The automotive industry is moving towards more electric models, and plugging in a vehicle means that consumers can ditch the unpredictable prices at the pump. While electric vehicles are cleaner for the environment, they’re also the most energy efficient automobiles available.
Buyers who are considering an electric vehicle might be lured by the cost savings, but while these vehicles are much more energy efficient, trading the pump for the plug still comes with a cost. How much does it cost to charge an electric car? Three factors affect the cost of fully charging a vehicle:
- Battery size
- Price of electricity
- The location of the charging station
When Gallons Become Kilowatt Hours
The standard vehicle runs on gasoline. Uncovering the cost of fueling up the vehicle is fairly simple; car owners just have to multiply the number of gallons in their tank by the cost of gas. To figure fuel efficiency, drivers divide miles by the number of gallons of gas consumed. The math is fairly basic.
Electric cars don’t use gasoline, and their efficiency isn’t measured in miles per gallon (MPG). Instead, to understand the cost of driving an electric vehicle, car owners need to factor in the car’s range and the cost of electricity.
Suppose a vehicle has a range of 300 miles with a 66 kWh battery. It will use 33 kWh of electricity to travel 150 miles. To travel 100 miles, it will use 22 kWh. For electric vehicles, energy efficiency is denoted by the kWh per 100 miles. If electricity costs $0.10 per kWh, then it would cost about $2.20 to drive 100 miles or about two cents per mile.
However, to understand how much the vehicle will cost to fully charge, the car owner needs to multiply the 66 kWh by the price of electricity in their area.
If car buyers are confused right now, here’s the full mathematical explanation. Instead of MPG, the car owner needs to understand how much driving each mile costs in electricity. Car owners do this by figuring out how many kWh of the battery is used to drive 100 miles.
If the vehicle has a 300 mile range, the driver would need to divide the full battery capacity (in this case 66 kWh) by three to find the kWh figure at a 100 mile range. That figure is then multiplied by the cost of electricity and divided by 100 for a per mile cost.
The math equation for uncovering the price of fully charging the electric vehicle is much easier. Simply multiply the battery capacity by the price of electricity.
As standard cars all have different sized gas tanks, each electric vehicle might have different sized batteries. Ranges may differ, too. However, when car owners understand how to compute their costs, the math becomes fairly simple.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Affect Driving Costs, Too
The cost of electricity differs across the country, and some electric car owners might have much better driving costs than those in states with higher electricity costs. However, some car owners might not realize that public charging stations also could bump their driving costs.
While charging a car at home costs the standard price of electricity, some charging stations could be priced higher. For example, Electrify America stations charge non-members $0.43 per kWh. If the price of electricity is $0.13 for the home and in the area, that extra bump could make a difference.
To save on electricity costs, car owners should charge their vehicle at home to ensure that it remains fully charged. However, those who drive electric vehicles with shorter ranges or those who drive longer commutes might need to plug into a public charging station.
Even when public stations are needed for an extra jolt of energy, the cost of electricity might still be lower than the price at the pump. Gasoline prices vary with supply and demand, and many drivers know that price per gallon can change daily.
Those who drive a standard vehicle might pay around $3 per gallon (or more). If the vehicle has a 10 gallon tank, the full cost of gasoline would be $30. Assuming the car offers 25 miles per gallon (which is very generous), each mile costs $0.12. If an electric car owner is charging their car at home, they may only be paying about $0.02 in electricity per mile.
Even if the electric owner charged their battery fully at the as a non member of Electrify America, they would pay $28.38 to charge a 66 kWh battery. If that car has a range of 300 miles, they would pay a little more than $0.09 per mile. If the range was only 200 miles, though, they would actually pay more for that jolt of electricity than the standard car owner paid per mile in gasoline.
While electric vehicles are more energy efficient than a standard vehicle, the cost of electricity at public stations could seriously impact the affordability of a full charge. For car owners who want to maximize their savings, they should use those public stations sparingly.
Range vs. Battery: What Should Buyers Consider
When selecting the best electric car both the range and the battery can impact the overall cost of energy use. However, batteries with higher kWh will obviously cost more to fully charge.
In addition, how far the car can drive on a full charge will impact the car’s driving cost per mile. Both of these considerations can impact the best car for a commuter. Again, though, when car owners are able to charge their car at home, they will still pay much less than they did on gasoline at the pump.
Buyers also may focus on their most affordable electric option. As these cars are becoming more mainstream, their price points may be more affordable to more consumers. However, the Nissan Leaf is currently the least expensive electric vehicle on the market with a base price of $27,400.
Buyers on a tighter budget can find less expensive models, though, by shopping pre-owned or used inventory. In areas where electric vehicles are extremely popular, the used market can offer a wide variety of options. For older electric vehicles, buyers might want to research the battery life; replacing the electric car’s battery is an expensive repair.
Use Carzing to Find the Best Electric Car Models
Car buyers can use Carzing to find all their electric options. Start the search by body type, price or make/model. Once Carzing brings up all the search results, buyers can use the toolbar to the left to select fuel type.
From there, buyers also can select other options they want in their perfect vehicle. Choose the color, equipment, drivetrain and more. Buyers also can sort their options by price, mileage or other criteria to see their best options at the top of the page.
Buyers also can get pre-qualified for financing with Carzing. Choose from the best loan options for the budget. Carzing also helps buyers understand how much money they will need for their down payment.
At the dealership, buyers can focus on taking a test drive of their favorite electric models and filling out the credit application. With Carzing, the buyer is in control of the car hunt and their financing choices, too.