If you’re planning on purchasing an electric vehicle, then it’s especially important for you to understand the costs involved in charging your vehicle. It’s cheaper to use electricity than gas, but that’s also dependent on the costs of electricity in your region. Some public stations may also charge a premium. Read on to learn more – we spell it all out for you.
How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?
It’s often shopped around that an electric car costs less to recharge than a comparable internal combustion engine would require in fuel costs. But, electric cars offer many benefits beyond just the economics: They offer better driving with instant torque, low maintenance, and fewer components than non-electrical engines.
More Efficiency Offers Greater Electricity Savings – The More Efficient, The Better
The efficiency of your electric vehicle ultimately determines what your vehicle will cost to recharge. More efficient vehicles will have lower electrical costs than less efficient vehicles.
As an example, the Nissan Leaf has an EPA rating of 30 kWh / 100 miles. The Tesla Model S, on the other hand, achieves 32 kWh / 100 miles, making it more efficient. With greater efficiency, the Tesla Model S will cost less to charge than the Nissan Leaf on a mile-by-mile basis.
The Average Price of Gasoline Versus Electricity
The average cost of a gallon of gasoline at the gas station in the United States is around $2.45. That means the average driver will spend about $1,400 per year on just refueling costs alone. And you’ll want to keep in mind that these fuel costs assume that gas prices will remain constant in the long run.
Gas prices will likely go up over time. This means that electric vehicles can not only future-proof your commute, but also save you a tremendous amount of money in the long run by avoiding the premium that oil and gas companies force you to pay to drive to work and for leisure.
One of the reasons why electricity offers a better deal than gas – on the order of 12 cents per kWh vs $2.45 per gallon for an internal combustion engine powered vehicle – is that the Untied States produces all of the electricity that it uses domestically. Because we as a country don’t have to pay to import electricity from other nations, consumers save money at the plug.
What You’ll Save by Investing in an Electric Vehicle Versus a Gasoline Vehicle
The average electric vehicle driver in the United States will pay around $540 per year to charge their vehicle. Compare that to the $1,400 you would have otherwise spent on fuel charges and you can see why EVs offer a great opportunity to drivers who not only want to protect the natural environment but also save money.
However, that’s not to say that electricity prices don’t also increase like gasoline prices – they just don’t typically increase at the same rate of inflation that gas prices do. Electricity pricing is also remarkably less volatile in most cases than gasoline pricing, so you’ll be better able to estimate your monthly budget necessary to properly charge your vehicle.
Additional Savings for Electric Vehicle Drivers
Another factor to consider: EVs have fewer components than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles. With fewer components to maintain, drivers will spend less on maintenance and repairs in the long run. Of course, this also depends on other factors like accidents, safety, and the price of equipment.
Finally, if you want to save even more money on your transportation costs, you can use less electricity at home. By making use of energy-saving appliances and turning off the lights when you’re not in a room, you can use those savings to fund your transportation. Ultimately, an electric vehicle gives you back control of your electricity costs by allowing you to save money on your own terms.
Electric Car Charging Stations Cost
Let’s take a look at public AC chargers first. In other words, the cost of public stations will usually cause drivers to incur additional costs since a business or individual will cause you to pay a premium in addition to the costs of the electricity itself.
Since single-port charging station technology usually costs several thousand dollars ($6,000 on the high end), you can expect that public stations cost even more since they typically have user interfaces based on LCD screens, payment technologies, communication links, and more.
With heavy-duty stations come higher operating costs. These operating costs must produce a profit in the long run for the operator, which is why you’re going to pay more in the long run.
If you plan to charge your vehicle at a supercharger station (as Tesla likes to call them) or at a non-Tesla level 3 station, then you’re going to pay even more for the convenience that these facilities provide.
Finally, if you end up purchasing goods and services for an electric charging station, then you’re going to have to pay for those services. Maybe you decide to purchase a cup of coffee or a sandwich while you wait.
Cost to Install Electric Car Charging Stations
Charging station installation costs vary depending on the exact level of charging capacity you need and whether you need to hire an electrician or other contractor to get the job done. What follows is a list of electric charging station types and the exact installation costs you’ll incur by opting for those options.
Keep in mind that these prices will also depend on the customization options you go with for your chosen unit. If you decide to purchase a fancy system with LCD displays, various gizmos and gadgets, and all the other technologies that folks love these days, then you’re going to pay more.
The Costs of Level 1 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
A Level 1 Charger is free! In most cases, that is. Since a level 1 charger merely makes use of the existing wiring and plug in your home, you won’t have to install any additional hardware to achieve this capability.
However, if you lack a dedicated circuit and the standard outlet, then you might have to do some basic work. Since this is rarely the case, you can assume that charging with a basic 120-volt cable will not cause you to pay a single penny extra in charging hardware costs.
You should go with this option if you want the barebones, budget approach to recharging your electric vehicle. If you need more speed, then you’ll want to look at the Level 2 charging station offerings available on the market today.
What You Can Expect to Pay for a Level 2 Charging Station
A Level 2 Charging Station makes use of a 240-volt connector to give your charging speed a boost. As opposed to 120-volt connectors, these 240V cables offer double the “bandwidth” – it’s like doubling the number of lanes on a highway.
You will have to pay the costs necessary for buying the actual unit, installing it in your home, and taking care of any electrical work that results from these modifications.
The average Level 2 Charger should run you around $700 on the market today. These are basic designs that are supposed to be robust and durable and may not offer all the bells and whistles of their higher-priced, commercial-focused products.
If you plan to purchase a pedestal kit to make it easier for the car to access the charging station, you’ll have to spend around $700. However, these tend to be more of a commercial improvement instead of a personal choice. The same rule applies to charging stations with Wi-Fi technology and higher amp service. If you want to support a 100-amp wall connector, on a 200-amp electrical service, you’ll need to make some electrical upgrades that can cost upwards of $200.
The Price of Level 3 Charging Stations
Last, but certainly not least, are the level 3 charging stations. A level 3 charging station such as the Tesla Supercharger or CHAdeMO technology typically lives in the realm of commercial business opportunities. In other words, the average EV driver isn’t going to install a level 3 charger in his or her own home.
As such, the pricing for these fast charging station reflects the end customer – businesses. You can expect to pay up to $2,000 for the charging station hardware itself plus many thousands of dollars for parts and labor.
While Level 3 stations are pricey, the main benefit is massive speed – many of these stations can charge your battery up to 80% in 30 minutes or less.