How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

(updated August 8th, 2023)

It costs approximately $11 to charge an electric car with a 65-kWh battery at home using a Level 2 charger, assuming electricity costs $0.17 per kWh (the U.S. national average).

In general, it costs less per month to charge an electric vehicle than to fill up a gas-powered car. But calculating these costs requires learning a few new terms and rethinking the concept of a "full tank."

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How do you calculate the cost to charge an electric car?

The way to calculate the cost to charge an electric car is to start from the total kilowatt-hours (amount of electricity) it takes to recharge the electric car's battery and multiply that by the price you pay per kWh for electricity. For example, if the battery's usable capacity is 50 kWh, and the price of electricity in your home is $0.23 per kWh, it will cost $11.50 to recharge the battery when it's fully depleted.

Notably, when you look at an electric car's window sticker, you'll see an estimate for kilowatt-hours consumed per hundred miles (kWh/100 miles), which is the EV equivalent of miles per gallon. You can calculate the cost to charge an electric car from this estimate, too. Simply multiply the vehicle's consumption estimate (kWh/100 miles) by your cost per kWh for electricity — the output will be the cost per 100 miles. For example, suppose you're considering a 2023 Tesla Model 3 RWD, which is EPA-rated at 25 kWh/100 miles. If you pay $0.23 per kWh, the estimated cost per 100 miles for that Tesla is $5.75.

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Where can you charge an electric car?

Here are different places you can charge an electric vehicle and how much it costs at each location:

How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home?

As of this writing, the cost of residential electricity ranges from $0.10 per kWh in Idaho to $0.43 per kWh in Hawaii. In most cases, EV charging will be less expensive at home, since electricity rates are lower than those at third-party chargers.

The price per kWh at home varies by location and the utility company. Let's take the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV as an example, which has a usable battery capacity of 65 kWh. Assuming you're in Los Angeles, with an average electricity cost of $0.27 per kWh and a completely depleted battery, it would cost $17.55 to charge the battery back to full. Here are a couple more examples.

Vehicle Battery capacity Electricity cost (Los Angeles) Cost to charge (empty to full)
Chevy Bolt EV 65 kWh $0.27 $17.55
Hyundai Ioniq 5 77.4 kWh (long range) $0.27 $20.90
GMC Hummer EV 212 kWh $0.27 $57.24

How much does it cost to charge at a Level 2 public charging station?

The cost of charging an electric car using a public Level 2 charging station varies based on the cost per kWh at that specific location and the premium charged by the company that operates the station. Electrify America, a major EV charging provider that does list some of its prices, currently charges $0.48 per kWh in a number of states such as Arizona, California, Florida, New York, Oregon and more. In certain other states, you'll pay per minute instead. Electrify America charges $0.03/minute in these states for Level 2 charging.

In other states, such as Georgia, Massachusetts and Texas, Electrify America determines its pricing by the speed of the EV charging station and the maximum power level your vehicle can accept. For stations operating at up to 90 kW, it costs $0.19 per minute. For DC Fast stations that can push to 350 kW, it costs $0.37 per minute.

For example, if you owned a Hyundai Ioniq 5 with the long-range 77.4-kWh battery, it would cost $33.28 for a full charge at the $0.48/kWh rate. The per-minute pricing turns out to be a better deal, as the same Ioniq 5, which takes about nine hours to charge fully, would run up a tab of $16.20 at $0.03/minute.

How much does it cost to charge at a DC fast charging station?

In a typical EV, a recharging stop at a DC fast charging station will cost roughly $20 to $40. Electrify America actually charges the same $0.48/kWh for DC fast charging as for Level 2 charging, while per-minute states continue to be a better deal in most scenarios. That's true despite the higher cost per minute for DC fast charging, since you're getting so much more electricity per minute. An Electrify America DC fast charger costs $0.19/minute for vehicles with maximum charging rates up to 90 kW, and $0.37/minute for vehicles with maximum charging rates between 90kW and 350 kW.

In the following table, the Bolt EV's modest maximum charging rate means the owner pays at the $0.19/minute level, while the other two are at the $0.37/minute level. To calculate the cost in per-minute states, we assume the vehicle spends one hour at the charging station, which may not result in a full charge. The cost in per-kWh states represents a full charge at the $0.48/kWh rate.

Vehicle Battery capacity Maximum DC fast charging rate DC fast cost to charge fully (per-kWh states) DC fast cost to charge for one hour (per-minute states)
Chevy Bolt EV 65 kWh 55 kW $31.20 $11.40
Hyundai Ioniq 5 77.4 kWh 220 kW $37.15 $22.20
GMC Hummer EV 212 kWh 300 kW (est.) $101.76 $22.20

EVgo, another provider of fast-charging stations, uses per-kWh pricing that varies depending on the time of day. In California, prices range from $0.36 per kWh from midnight to 8 a.m. to $0.63 per kWh during the peak hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. If you showed up with the Ioniq 5 at an EVgo station during peak times, it could cost about $49 for a full charge.

How much does it cost to charge at a Tesla Supercharger station?

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 look up the price of the nearest Supercharger on their navigation screen. The pricing can also vary based on peak and off-peak hours. In California, the Supercharger price is approximately $0.50 per kWh, according to Electrek. In a Tesla Model 3 Long Range with an 82-kWh battery, it would cost about $41 for a full charge.

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

  • Tier 1: Charging at or below 60 kW, lowest price per minute
  • Tier 2: Charging above 60 kW but at or below 100 kW, second-lowest price per minute
  • Tier 3: Charging above 100 kW but at or below 180 kW, second-highest price per minute
  • Tier 4: Charging above 180 kW, highest price per minute

Note that Tesla's website provides only the hierarchy above, as opposed to specific pricing.

How much does it cost to charge popular electric vehicles?

Here is a list of how much it costs to charge popular electric cars at home using a Level 1 or Level 2 charger in Los Angeles, California, assuming a cost per kWh of $0.27.

Vehicle Battery capacity Cost to charge at home (Los Angeles)
2024 Audi Q8 e-tron 106 kWh $28.62
2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV 65 kWh $17.55
2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E Extended Range 91 kWh $24.57
2023 GMC Hummer EV 212 kWh $57.24
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Long Range 77.4 kWh $20.90
2023 Kia Niro EV 64.8 kWh $14.90
2023 Nissan Leaf Plus 59 kWh $17.50
2023 Polestar 2 75 kWh $20.25
2023 Tesla Model 3 Long Range 75 kWh $20.25
2023 Tesla Model Y Long Range 75 kWh $20.25
2023 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro 77 kWh $20.79

What are the different rate plans for electricy consumption?

There are two types of rate plans that utility companies typically have: level-of-use and time-of-use. With level-of-use plans, which is essentially "pay as you go", the electricity cost rises with your consumption. A kilowatt at month's end is likely to cost more than one used at the beginning of the month.

With time-of-use plans, you pay a certain rate based on the time, day and even season you're using electricity. The hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. are typically considered "peak hours" and cost the most. Off-peak hours, usually the early mornings or late nights, are the least expensive. Some utility companies also have midpeak slots.

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

Some utility companies give you a designated baseline allotment of power. This will result in the lowest rates, but if you go over your allotment, the prices go up. With PG&E, off-peak power for customers who have gone over their allotment costs $0.42 per kWh, rising up to $0.49 per kWh for peak hours. This changes the figures for the Bolt EV above to $27 and $32, respectively.

How do you keep your EV charging costs low?

Here are tips to keeping your EV charging costs low:

Become a member of charging station companies

You can save up to 35% by downloading a charging station company's app, creating an account, and using their station. The higher discounts will likely come with a monthly membership fee, but this can still provide value for those who often use the public stations. Another benefit to being a member is the ability to reserve a charge station so that no one else is using the station when you arrive. These apps speed up the visit to the charge station because your payment information is already in the system and you can just plug in and connect with the app on your phone.

Switch to a time-of-use rate plan

You're likely to save money by plugging in your EV after 9 p.m., rather than as soon as you get home from work. Some electric vehicles can be set to begin charging at a designated time, which means you can plug it in now and the charging won't start until later. Even charging in the morning is preferable as long as you unplug before peak hours.

Limit public charging

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 plenty of charge for the day. Then, you can top off at home where it is less expensive.

Where can you charge electric cars for free?

You can charge your electric vehicle for free at places such as museums, dealerships, utility companies and certain businesses that offer the charging as a perk of visiting. Some automakers, such as Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford, will give you a certain amount of free charging as a perk of buying their electric vehicles. The free charging is measured either in time or kWh and often applies to charging stations from a designated provider like Electrify America.

Edmunds says

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

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