What does it actually cost to charge (and own) an EV?

There are many variables when it comes to what it costs to charge an electric vehicle. They include utility rates, the time of day when utilities offer lower off-peak rates, the level of charger used and even the car and the battery itself.

But the short answer is considerably less than a tank of gas.

“For an entry-level electric vehicle that maybe has a 60-kilowatt-hour battery, if you’re charging at home, it could be $8 or $9 if you’re charging overnight. If you go to a public fast charger, $15 or $20 or maybe $25. It just depends on the vehicle and the size of your battery,” said Mike Moran at Reston, Virginia-based Electrify America.

When charging at a public, direct current ultrafast charger, EV drivers pay for speed and convenience. Charging at home is cheaper, but takes longer.

Charging at home with a Level One system, using a standard residential 110-volt line, an overnight charge adds about 4 miles of range per hour, Moran said. A Level Two charging system, which can be installed at home using a 240-volt line, adds about 30 miles of range per hour of charging.

For direct current fast chargers, those found at public charging stations, a driver can charge at 150 kilowatts or 350 kilowatts. At 150 kilowatts, about 10 miles of range per minute is gained. At 350 kilowatts, it is up to 20 miles of range per minute.

Electrify America, which recently received an investment from German industrial giant Siemens AG to accelerate its nationwide EV charging station networks, also sells residential charging units.

There are some upfront costs to setting up a EV charging at home.

“You would want to make sure you have an electrician who can help you with the installation. It can start at $400 or $500 on up to $1,000 or more. You may have an older home that you have to have more work to be done to make sure you don’t blow the fuses in every other part of your house,” Moran said.

EVs, including fully battery-electric and plug-in hybrids, accounted for just 4.8% of vehicles in the U.S. at the end of 2021, but made up 10.9% of new vehicle sales.

Auto manufacturers continue to add new EV models, and they now come in all price ranges and body styles.

A Nissan Leaf or Chevy Bolt can cost $25,000 to $30,000. A Volkswagen ID4 starts at around $35,000. The Ford Mustang Mach E SUV is around $40,000. And buyers can spend well over $100,000 on EVs such as the Tesla Model S Plaid, Lucid Air Dream edition or Porsche Taycan Turbo S.

Electrify America is aiming to more than double its nationwide charging network to 1,800 stations and more than 10,000 ultrafast chargers in the U.S. and Canada by 2026.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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