Before we can talk about the cost of charging an electric car we need to get a little bit of terminology out of the way.
The main one is KW/H or kilowatt hour. A Kilowatt hour is a unit of electrical energy which you’re probably already familiar with because that’s the unit you’re going to see on your electric bill every month. It’s how much you’re going to pay for that certain amount of power you use every month to power your TV, refrigerator and even to charge your car.
A kilowatt hour is the electricity consumed at the rate of 1000 W for 1 hour. For example, running a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours or a 10 watt light bulb for 100 hours. Whether you’re using it quickly or slowly, you are using the same amount of energy.
Electric car battery capacities are also rated in the hours, on the low end it might be something like 16 kilowatt hours for a small EV. A luxury electric car could have 100 KW batteries or more.
Lets start here. The US average electricity cost per kilowatt-hour of costs about 13.19 cents. maybe little bit less or a little bit more depending on where you in live.
I’ll use the Tesla Model 3 here in this example. On average, it requires 300 Watt/hours to go one mile. Or about 3.3 Miles per KW/H
The latest Model 3 has an 82 Kilowatt battery back. To charge it from zero ( Which isn’t likely ) your cost to charge it would be $10.82 That gives you a rough range of 263 miles.
One of those 16 KW puddle jumpers would be just over $2.00! and about 60 miles of range.
How does an EV compare to gas?
So lets compare that to the price of Gas and see how it compares to miles per gallon.
The average passenger car gets about 25 miles per gallon. Obviously that can vary widely.
If we can go 25 miles on one gallon of gasoline, we can compare that to the same distance on the in an electric. Which is about 7.5 KW/H X /13 cents gives us just under $1.00 or similar to about $1.00 per gallon.
Quite a bit less than a gallon of gas. Almost 3 times less than the national average.
Using our Model 3 example above. We know would cost $10.82 to drive 263 Miles. Against the average car at 25 Miles per Gallon, means we would need 10.52 Gallons at $2.88 ( the average cost in the US at the time of writing.) Which makes a tank of gas $30.30 to travel the same distance.
Another thing about charging at home is that you can take advantage of time of use if your utility company offers it. Charging off peak for example can be down to .07 cents per KW/H, so you can time your car to charge over night instead of immediately when you get home and charge at the lower rate.
That comes close to about $.50 a gallon Dropping the Model 3 example down to less than $6.00 per charge.
Here is a chart of some of the popular options
|Cost to charge an EV from empty|
|Tesla||Battery Size||Cost to charge|
|Model 3||82||$ 10.82|
|Model Y||82||$ 10.82|
|Model S||100||$ 13.20|
|Nissan||Battery Size||Cost to charge|
|Chevy||Battery Size||Cost to charge|
|Ford||Battery Size||Cost to charge|
|Mach E||68||$ 8.98|
|Hyundai||Battery Size||Cost to charge|
Alternate way to charge
The other thing to consider is that you can create your own electricity, installing solar panels where you can either send that power back into the grid, or store it to use later when you are ready to charge your car.
It’s possible to create enough electricity so it wouldn’t cost you a cent to drive your car. You can’t beat free, but it takes some time before you can offset the cost of the panels, but if you like to think long term, it’s a completely viable option. I hope this sheds some light on the costs of charging your car at home. I’ve heard many times, from my own wife even, that they are afraid of their electricity costs going through the roof. Not only is it a small increase, the money saved on gasoline is quite large.
See my other post here, for an example of how I justified the cost of my car. The fuel cost savings were a major part of that decision.