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How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  September 29, 2023
White electric car charging at a charging station in a parking lot.

Electric vehicles (EVs) have gained significant popularity in recent years due to their environmental benefits and potential cost savings.

A common question people have when considering EVs is how much it costs to charge them. However, the answer to this depends on a few factors. Here’s what you should know.


How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Vehicle?

The short answer is it depends on the cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in your area, the efficiency of your electric car, the size of your battery pack, and the type of charge you use.

  1. Type of Charger
  2. Charging an electric car is fundamentally different from refueling a traditional gasoline vehicle. Instead of visiting a gas station and filling up a tank, EV owners have the convenience of charging their vehicles at home or utilizing public charging stations.

    There are three main types of chargers:

    • Level 1 Chargers – These chargers use a standard 120-volt household outlet and typically deliver around 1.5 kilowatts (kW) of power. While Level 1 chargers are the slowest option, they’re convenient for overnight charging at home. 
    • Level 2 Chargers – Level 2 chargers require a 208-240-volt connection and deliver between 7 and 19 kW of power. These chargers are commonly installed in homes, workplaces, and public charging stations and offer faster charging times than Level 1 chargers. 
    • DC Fast Chargers – DC fast chargers, also known as Level 3 chargers, offer the fastest charging speeds. They use direct current (DC) to deliver power up to 350 kW. DC fast chargers are primarily found at public charging stations and are ideal for long-distance travel.

  3. Electricity Rates
  4. The cost of charging your electric vehicle depends on where you live and who supplies your electricity. Electricity rates are measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). To figure out how much it’ll cost to charge your car, you’ll need to know your utility company’s kWh rate.

    Some companies offer special rates for charging electric vehicles, such as time-of-use (TOU) plans. These rates are often lower at night when there’s less demand for electricity.


  5. Vehicle Efficiency
  6. How efficient your car is also affects how much it costs to charge. Electric vehicles use different amounts of energy, measured in watt-hours per mile (Wh/mi) or miles per kilowatt-hour (mi/kWh). The lower the Wh/mi or the higher the mi/kWh, the more efficient the car is.

    More efficient vehicles need less energy to travel the same distance, so they cost less to charge. Things that affect a car’s efficiency include how aerodynamic it is, how much it weighs, and how much traction its tires have.


How to Calculate the Cost of Charging

To calculate the cost of charging your car, you need to know the price of electricity per kWh, how efficient your car is, and how long it takes to charge.

  1. Find your electricity rate, which can be found on your utility bill. 
  2. Calculate your car’s energy consumption. This is how much energy your car uses by mile. You can find this in the owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website. It’s measured in watt-hours per mile (Wh/mi) or miles per kilowatt-hour (mi/kWh)
  3. Estimate the distance you’ll travel. 
  4. Multiply the energy consumption per mile by the distance you’ll travel. 
  5. Multiply the total energy required by the electricity rate.

It’s important to note that these calculations provide an estimate and may vary based on real-world driving conditions and charging losses. For example, if you drive in cold weather or hilly terrain, your car will use more energy. Plus, some energy is lost during the charging process.


Example Scenarios


Scenario 1: Level 2 Home Charging

Let’s assume you own an electric car with an efficiency of 4 mi/kWh, and your utility company charges $0.15 per kWh. If you plan on traveling 100 miles, here’s how you would calculate the charging cost.

  • Total energy required: 100 miles / 4mi/kWh = 25 kWh
  • Cost of charging: 25 kWh * $0.15/kWh = $3.75

In this scenario, it would cost you $3.75 to charge your car at home using a Level 2 charger. 


Scenario 2: DC Fast Charging

You’re on a road trip and need to charge your vehicle at a DC fast charger that costs $0.30 per kWh. If your car gets 3 miles per kWh and you need to drive 200 miles, the calculations would look something like this:

  • Total energy required: 200 miles / 3 mi/kWh = 66.67 kWh
  • Cost of charging: 66.67 kWh * $0.30/kWh = $20.00

The Lemon Law and Electric Vehicles

Yes, California’s lemon law covers EVs, too!

Lemon laws exist to protect consumers who purchase defective vehicles, including electric cars. Talk to a lemon law attorney if your electric vehicle has recurring problems, like power loss or electrical failures.


Contact Our California Lemon Law Firm Today!

Have you encountered persistent issues with your car? Contact Norman Taylor & Associates today!

Lemon laws safeguard consumers by providing refunds or a replacement vehicle when their vehicle requires repeated repairs for the same problem. Our California lemon law firm has the expertise to protect your rights, giving you peace of mind as you navigate the world of electric vehicles.

Call 818-244-3905 to schedule a FREE consultation.

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