How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

Curious about the actual cost of charging an electric car? You’re not alone. Understanding the financial implications of switching to an electric vehicle (EV) is crucial. The average EV costs about $0.05 per mile, but several factors influence the cost of charging an EV. 

Below, we break them down and give you an idea of how much you’ll pay each time you charge your car.  We also answer some of the most common questions about cost-efficient charging.

How to Calculate the Cost to Charge an Electric Car

The two primary factors involved in the calculation of cost to charge an electric vehicle are:

  1. The amount of electricity required to charge the EV battery
  2. The price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity

Start by identifying your EV’s battery capacity, typically measured in kWh. It should be easy to find in your manufacturer’s guide. Next, find your local electricity rate, considering things like time of year and time of day. Then, multiply the battery capacity by the electricity rate to estimate the cost. 

What Is the Cost to Charge an EV in kWh?

The average EV can get about 3-4 miles per kilowatt-hour. Using this figure, you can divide the total miles driven each month by three to get an average monthly kWh used. Then, multiply that number by your area’s cost per kWh to understand how much you’re paying monthly to keep your vehicle up enough for the miles you drive.

The national average electricity rate in the U.S. is approximately 16.88 cents per kWh. If we use this as our cost per kWh and drive 500 miles per month, we know we’re spending about $84 to charge our car.

Your costs will be very different if you recharge using a renewable energy source, such as portable power stations that store energy produced by solar panels. The EcoFlow DELTA Series Portable Power Stations, such as the EcoFlow DELTA Pro, are perfect ways to keep your EV charging cost at $0 after the initial equipment purchase. They can also be taken on the go to avoid higher EV station costs.

What Is the Cost To Charge an EV vs. Gas Fill-Up?

Although you may need to charge your EV more frequently than you’d need to fill up on gas, each EV charge is typically cheaper than a gas tank. On average, charging an EV costs about half as much as refueling a gasoline-powered vehicle.

For example, if you drive 1,000 miles per month:

  • Gasoline Car: At $3.00 per gallon and 25 miles per gallon, it would cost about $120.
  • Electric Car: At $0.13 per kWh and 4 miles per kWh, it would cost about $32.50.

In this example, charging an EV is nearly one-third the cost of fueling with gas when driving the same miles. Slowly but surely, these savings add up, making EVs more affordable for drivers than gas-powered cars. 

How Much Does It Cost To Charge Your EV at Home?

Arguably, the most impactful factor in how much it costs to charge your EV at home is the cost of electricity in your state. For example, people in states with higher electricity rates, such as Massachusetts and New York, can pay more than double what people in lower-cost states like Wyoming pay.

Your location may benefit you if your area has EV charger tax credits available, saving you even more in total chagrin costs.

Here’s an overview of how much residential electricity costs for an average EV battery.

StateAvg. Residential Electricity Cost (Cents/kWh)Cost To Charge Average Battery
Dist. of Columbia16.83$12.29
New Hampshire25.07$18.30
New Jersey17.9$13.07
New Mexico13.76$10.04
New York23.44$17.11
North Carolina13.07$9.54
North Dakota9.88$7.21
Rhode Island31.22$22.79
South Carolina13.54$9.88
South Dakota11.18$8.16
West Virginia13.64$9.96

Charging your EV at home is convenient and more affordable than relying on fast but expensive public charging stations. Several factors influence the cost, including your electricity source, EV battery size, type of charger used, charging speed, and the time of day you charge.

Your Electricity Source

Your electricity source significantly impacts the cost of charging your EV. If you’re using grid electricity, your rate depends on regional tariffs. Public EV charging stations will always be the most expensive electricity source, so use these sparingly. 

However, if you have an EcoFlow Solar Generator, such as the EcoFlow DELTA Pro + 400W Solar Panels or the robust and expandable EcoFlow DELTA Pro Ultra, you could charge your EV for free during sunny periods. Other similar options include a solar carport.

EV Battery Size

The size of your EV’s battery determines how much electricity is required for a full charge. Larger batteries, like those in Tesla Model S, need more kWh and thus more grid energy or solar panels, while smaller batteries in cars like the Nissan Leaf require less. Know your battery size to estimate your charging costs accurately.

Type of Charger Used

Level 1 chargers plug into standard outlets and are slow but inexpensive. Level 2 chargers, which require unique 240V installations, offer faster charging at a higher initial cost but can save money in the long run by reducing the time needed to charge. 

Level 3 chargers are what you’d typically find at an EV charging station somewhere like a gas station. These chargers are highly efficient but can cause battery degradation due to their high charging speeds, so it’s best only to use these on longer road trips when necessary.

Charging Speed

While you might think that longer charges equal more energy used and higher costs, the opposite is true. Faster charging usually costs more, especially at public stations, because it uses more power to reach a full charge in less time. Speedier Level 2 chargers at home may slightly increase your electricity bill but offer greater convenience. 

When You Charge

Time-of-use (TOU) rates, or time-variable pricing, can also impact your charging costs. Utility companies often charge higher rates at times when more people demand energy. Charging your EV during off-peak hours, typically late at night, can save you money. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does It Actually Cost to Fully Charge an Electric Car?

The total cost of charging an electric car depends on your car’s battery size and electricity rates. It can range widely from $7 to $32. The smaller your EV battery is and the lower the kWh cost in your area, the less you’ll pay for each charge.

How Much Does It Cost To Charge an Electric Vehicle at a Power Station?

Charging at public power stations usually costs more than home charging because their fast speeds require more power. Prices range from $0.30 to $0.60 per kWh, depending on the charging network and location. Some stations offer subscription plans for frequent users, reducing overall costs.

Is Charging an Electric Car Cheaper Than Gas?

Yes, charging an electric car is generally cheaper than refueling a vehicle that runs on gas. The average savings can be around 50-75%, but remember that savings vary based on local electricity and fuel prices, driving habits, and the vehicle’s efficiency.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the cost of electric car charging helps eco-conscious consumers and car enthusiasts budget for ongoing, expected expenses and make informed decisions. By considering local electricity rates, charging methods, and EV battery size, you can optimize your charging habits and save money.

Ready to take your EV experience to the next level? Explore solar solutions like EcoFlow Solar Generators to recharge your EV for free after the initial purchase.

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.


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