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How Much Does It Cost To Charge An Electric Car?

tommoloughney's picture

There are many reasons for considering making an electric car the next car you buy or lease. Besides the many environmental benefits, the promise of energy security, the silky-smooth driving experience with instant torque available without delay and low maintenance, one of the best characteristics of electric vehicles is how little they cost to operate.

383 Nissan LEAF charging

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just as with gasoline cars, some are more efficient than others, but the average EV needs about 30 kWh of electricity to power the vehicle for 100 miles. For example, the EPA rating for the Nissan LEAF is exactly 30 kWh per 100 miles. A Tesla Model S 60 is rated at a combined 35 kWh per 100 miles and uses a little more energy since it’s heavier and more powerful than a LEAF, while the Chevy Spark EV has a combined consumption rating of 28 kWh per 100 miles. The consumption for all electric vehicles can be viewed at the US Department of Energy’s website: www.fueleconomy.gov

According to Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the sales-weighted average fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States in 2013 was 24.8 mpg. The average cost for a gallon of regular gasoline in the US over the past three years was $3.53/gallon. By using 15,000 miles as the average amount of miles a person will drive in a year, the annual cost of gasoline for the average car will be $2,135 per year, using the average cost of gasoline from 2011 through 2013.

388 Tesla Model S charging

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electricity rates vary much more than gasoline across the country, but the cost is much more stable. Unlike with gasoline, there aren’t huge spikes in electricity rates if a refinery has a problem, and neither does the price skyrocket when there is political instability in one of the large oil producing countries as we have seen lately, since all of the electricity we use in America is domestically produced. The average cost of electricity in the US is 12 cents per kWh. Therefore the average person driving an average EV 15,000 miles per year pay about $540.00 per year to charge it. As mentioned, the cost of electricity can vary greatly depending on where you live, but in order to equal the price of the average gasoline car’s fuel costs, the price of electricity would have to be four times the national average, and cost 48 cents per kWh. Nowhere in the continental US does electricity cost even close to that much. So the average person would save roughly $1,600 per year in fuel alone, and that's if gasoline prices remain around $3.53 per gallon. Gasoline prices do frequently spike up and down, but in the long run it always goes up. Electricity costs do eventually increase also, but not nearly at the pace of gasoline. Plus with fewer moving parts, EVs cost much less to maintain. If you combine the fuel savings with the reduced maintenence costs, it's clear to see an EV will cost you much less in the long run, even if it costs a little more up front.

 

385 100 Watt light bulbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another great thing about electric cars is that you can easily reduce your electric bill by $40 to $50 per month just by being more efficient, and therefore completely eliminate your transportation fuel cost! You really can't use less gasoline unless you drive less or buy a more efficient car, but you can reduce your electricity usage at home and still drive as much as you always have. Simple measures like a programmable thermostat and the use of compact florescent or LED light bulbs can make a big difference. In fact, five 100 watt light bulbs left on continuously for a year use nearly the same amount
of energy as it takes to power an electric car 15,000 miles! Here's how: Five 100 watt light bulbs use 500 watt. In 24 hours they use 12,000 watt-hours or 12kWh. In 365 days they use 4,380kWh. A typical EV that uses 30 kWh for every 100 miles will use 4,500 kWh to drive 15,000 miles. Simply by turning unnecessary lighting off at your home, you can drastically reduce or completely eliminate your annual transportation fuel cost. Try doing that with a gasser!

Comments

Norma Whelan's picture

The ONLY reason I got a Leaf

The ONLY reason I got a Leaf was to be able to utilize the carpool lanes for my commute and the 2 bridge tolls I pay every day, are cut in half. This is in the SF Bay Area. What I have found out about electric vehicle ownership is this: There are very few "free" opportunities to charge. Many charging stations are in disrepair with no help in sight and/or already taken when needed. Range anxiety is really, "Finding a place to charge anxiety". The cost savings are minimal, especially since the cost of gasoline has dropped, for now. The 2 year, free to charge card I received from Nissan, as an incentive, was/is not useful at many stations and in fact, is no longer accepted by the Blink Network at all, after one year of having it. The "Free" Level II charging unit, promised by Nissan at the time of purchase, NEVER materialized. It's been a year and a half since I purchased the car. Some charging stations, because of their fees, actually cost over 10.00 for a charge that gives me 82 miles of driving. Not much savings there. Anyway, I wouldn't buy an electric vehicle again, until the infrastructure supports it in a better way.
Anonymous's picture

Electric is not cheaper

First lets consider the reason for buying a Ecar; the assumption that your Ecar will save you money, have you done the math based on the cost of living where you live IE electric bills and gas prices ETC. Or are you only buying a Ecar because you hate the greedy rich oil companies and how it's destroying the planet ETC. ETC. well first... global warming doesn't exist the way you think it does and second your why do you hate oil companies? because you been told by the liberal media that oil companies are evil, corrupt, polluting and all that jazz? if so, then your reasons for buying a Ecar may be based on completely irrational logic and you need to actually challenge what you've been told about big oil and gasoline vehicles. This involves doing your own research without allowing any bias to control what you think when you hear arguments that support big oil. I strongly suggest questioning everything you have been told by the liberal media and activists who tell you that oil is bad, you literally need to question everything you have been told about big oil. Because you have likely only heard arguments from people who hate big oil.
Anonymous's picture

I actually own one

You are misinformed. I leased my car for 0 at signing and 38 payments over 39 months of 178.99 for 15,000 miles on average per year. That is about $6800. I then minus the $2500 California rebate and that put me to $4300 which takes me down to $113 a month. I used to spend about $150 in gas, and since I only charge my new car at free public stations, -$150 puts me at -$37 a month. I don't need oil changes or smog checks, so thats another -$20 a month to bring me down to -$57 a month. So, I will drive this car for 39 months for free, and be $2,223 richer to boot. Forget politics. I'm all about numbers, and they don't lie.
Anonymous's picture

Free Public Stations

So you are a leech. You Take $2500 from the public tax coffers and charge at Free (who pays for these) public stations
weenie666's picture

your an idiot

leech? this person probably works a job just like me & pays taxes. stop being a bitch just cuz this person was smart & did something good for the environment.
WHC999's picture

But...

That sounds like a great deal! If you live in California. I don't.
Anonymous's picture

Oh, and if I did charge at home

If I did charge at home, based on PGE EV time of use rate it would cost me about $27 a month, so that would take my net gain down to $30 a month times 38 months, and I would still have drove the car for free and gained $1,140 doing it.
Anonymous's picture

Mr. Anonymous, what you've

Mr. Anonymous, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
Anonymous's picture

happy gilmour,

happy gilmour, yeeaaaaahhhhhh!
ecar 's picture

about e car

so you say anonymous has no basis in his/her comment and idiotic.what is your basis of your rebuttal? you gave a zero insane rebuttal
Anonymous's picture

no info

You provided exactly zero information in your rambling.
Anonymous's picture

Not worth the money

The other issue is the battery life and disposal cost to get ride of them. Cost, convenance and size raise safety concerns. Ill stick with my beast. I stand a better shot of walking away from sn accident then those tin cans.
Anonymous's picture

Lion batt life

The one glaring problem many seem to conveniently ignore in is lion battery life cycle charging loss..Lion batteries loose capacity with each recharge and have definitive life cycle...accelerated charging even though the battery can safely handle it shortens the cycle recharge ratings and hence capacity...even the best treated within 2 years are looking at 60% in automotive rated use and efficiency drops off faster as you continue further..none of estimates ever seem to factor this well known loss
Dawg's picture

Long Term Battery Life

It's actually not nearly as bad as you imagine. Due to the battery management systems, these batteries can actually perform quite well over many years: http://www.teslarati.com/plug-in-america-tesla-battery-study/
Anonymous's picture

What you don't ever hear!

Most people buy a hybrid to save on gas and to feel good about themselves on their carbon footprint. Depending on which Hybrid you buy in comparison to the same gas model, you would have to own it for over a decade (based on 15k miles a year @ 2.50 a gallon,(this fluctuates)) before your actual savings in gas kicked in to offset the difference in price you paid. Even if you got a tax credit from the government(entitlement) it may only drop it to 5 years, which ironically is how long people usually keep a car before getting a new one. As far as the cost to charge the batteries, unless you live in a self sustaining solar/wind/water powered house where do you think that electricity comes from? Yep, those big bad co2 producing plants you are trying to avoid by not putting their products in your tank, well, you use them to charge your battery. By the way, here is a website to a partial list of products we use that derive from fossil fuels. http://www.ranken-energy.com/products%20from%20petroleum.htm. So just to make my point, you aren't changing a thing but as long as you feel good about yourself that's all that counts right?
Anonymous's picture

Cost to own a Hybrid Car

You are not taking into consideration that buying a used Hybrid with very low mileage is not much difference in cost to a gasoline powered vehicle these days. I own a Chevy Volt, purchased fully loaded with 40k miles on it for $16000 from Carmax. It will only need an oil change every 2 years since the gas motor doesnt run very much, the gas engine itself will last much longer than in a normal ICE car as well since it wont run as much. I am paying about $40 a month in Southern California (one of the highest electric rates in the country) to drive over a thousand miles a month. This car has already saved me tons of money over the few months I've had it and will continue to. Cost to replace batteries which are warrantied along with the entire charging system/propulsion system for 100k/8yrs is less than the cost of a transmission on a regular ICE car. Since the Volt and most electric cars hold about 30-%40 of the battery capacity unavailable for the driver to use, it is able to extend the life of the battery greatly, people are getting well over 100k miles and some over 200k miles with no noticeable difference in battery capacity.
Taswell Smootz's picture

What is driving electric car technology?

I am all for a cleaner environment and a smaller carbon footprint. Having said that, I believe that the cost of gasoline is kept artificially high to dissuade consumers from buying a larger cars. This is done by the government's prohibition of oil drilling on public lands and over regulation of the oil refinery industry. CAFE standards that require (under threat of government extortion) that cars get more and more efficient cost lives. This can easily be proven by looking at the fatality rates of large cars vs small cars. More importantly, these laws were written by people who know nothing of what it takes to engineer an automobile. These same legislators hypocritly ride around in limosines and jets at taxpayer expense. I would lastly like to reiterate the earlier point of how we generate the majority of our electricity: through burning coal. Just because the carbon monoxide Isn't belching out of your tailpipe doesn't mean it isn't spewing from a smokestake miles away.
Taswell Smootz's picture

What is driving electric car technology?

I am all for a cleaner environment and a smaller carbon footprint. Having said that, I believe that the cost of gasoline is kept artificially high to dissuade consumers from buying a larger cars. This is done by the government's prohibition of oil drilling on public lands and over regulation of the oil refinery industry. CAFE standards that require (under threat of government extortion) that cars get more and more efficient cost lives. This can easily be proven by looking at the fatality rates of large cars vs small cars. More importantly, these laws were written by people who know nothing of what it takes to engineer an automobile. These same legislators hypocritly ride around in limosines and jets at taxpayer expense. I would lastly like to reiterate the earlier point of how we generate the majority of our electricity: through burning coal. Just because the carbon monoxide Isn't belching out of your tailpipe doesn't mean it isn't spewing from a smokestake miles away.
Anonymous's picture

Owned one for 12 years

I've owned a Prius since 2004. 12 years later and 168k miles it's still going strong. When I bought it everyone made comments about the battery life. Amazing none of those people still have the same car they did in 2004. So not only saved on gas, maintenance, but also on not having to buy a new car every 3 years!!
Anonymous's picture

But...

But Prius drivers look like smug tools. You forgot to factor that in to the equation.
Anonymous's picture

No...

I don't own a Prius, but if I ever see a Prius owner looking smug, it's sure not because they are fools like you are.
Anonymous's picture

No...

I don't own a Prius, but if I ever see one looking smug, it's sure not because they are fools like you are.
Rhaman's picture

EV costs

I see the costs and benefits past the cost of gasoline for the total environmental picture has more elements. First of all, I have solar panels that produce 6,700 kilowatt hours per year. In 2014 I paid out of pocket $5.35 for electricity. The Leaf saves on oil changes, the packaging, the transport cost, etc. associated with extracting, processing and transport of oil and the product. Air filters, fuel filters, coolant, transmission oils and services, etc. Zero. Apart from wiper blades, not much goes into a landfill. I estimate that 20% of electricity the car uses comes from public charging stations. At times, I pay for parking that I would need to pay for anyway, but charging the car is free. Most other times, no parking fee, no charging fee. In the long term, no spark plugs, no fuel injector service, flushes, and other car needs, projected on an eight year cycle, even brings more environmental benefits past the pollution not emitted. Four years and 33,000 miles later, the Leaf's battery is holding full charge. The worries or concerns as to battery replacement are addressed by the warranty, no charge to the customer. Since the car is a Point A to Point A, meaning a source of power, only those living in cities with fast charging, either free or paid with a fee, can use a car for city driving without limits. My city has seven DC Fast Chargers and only one location charges a $2.00 per hour parking fee. Heaven. Nirvana. All for clean air, less landfill and a host of resources not used.
ecar 's picture

charging station

someone is paying for electricity @ the charging station. you cannot create electricity from a charging station hopefully there will be better technology sooner than later to drive cost down
Anonymous's picture

in the end, it's how much you

in the end, it's how much you paid for the car and how much it costs to maintain it, plus fuel/electricity costs. There's the thing that electric cars are more expensive and need battery replacement. So in the end you may not save anything really.
Anonymous's picture

I own one, I saved quite a bit

Chevrolet was offering a $139 a month for any leases 36 months, which adds up to $5004. if You live in California, for a 3 year lease you get a $2500 rebate, and a $3000 rebate if you live in the San Joaquin valley, adding up to $5500 in rebates. I leased during the promotion and applied for the rebate, and was essentially paid $496 to lease it for 36 months. Within 3 years, the only maintenance that will be done are a couple tire rotations, and wiper fluid replacement. Which are all free. The car has almost no maintenance. It also doesn't affect the electricity bill at all. With it charging all day when I'm home, doing all other normal activities, I'm getting about 20-21 KWH of electricity consumption per day, about $3 per day, including the car charging about 20-25 miles worth on the 120V outlet. The most expensive thing about this vehicle is the insurance. So really, since the monthly payments are taken care of by the rebates, the electricity is next to nothing even with it plugged in all day, all i'm paying for is insurance. So you may want to reevaluate your claim.
Jerry's picture

solar panel

just install 4KW solar panel from solar city. they offer 30 years $0 down financing at 4.2%. 30 years warranty for all the parts. you pay what the solar panel produce by each KW. not a fix loan payment. I pay the same amount as I pay for the electric company, but the energy is 100% clean. planing to add more solar panel when I buy a EV in the future.
dpkraft's picture

install 4 kw panel

So where does one install a panel? It would look funny towing a trailer with a panel on it just to charge a car! Also, 4.2% interest really cuts into the savings.... I'll just buy a Hybrid and drive...
Anonymous's picture

solar panel

elctricity is a fungible commodity, so it does not matter one iota if the electricity that the solar panel generates is not the same electricity that is used to charge the electric car.
Anonymous's picture

Solar panel

Install the solar panel where?
Anonymous's picture

solar panel

location of the solar panel (offset) is irrelevant. electricity is a fungible commodity
Rebecca's picture

Electric Car Use & Cost

Actually the electric vehicle use can extend the energy sources like electric or hydrogen or natural gas wind etc. so they will make you expense less and you will save some bucks from it. But yes the cost will be more so you should be prepared for that
redneckx's picture

hybrid cars

I want to know how much it would cost to charge an all electric car at your own home using just a normal current like for appliances. PLEASE REPLY
Anonymous's picture

Cost for MB B-Class

2014 Mercedes B-class. 28KWH battery, PSE&G in NJ charges approx. $0.15 per KWh. Each charge will yield 62 miles in summer and 52 miles in winter. Cost per charge is about $4.2 (28*0.15). So the cost per mile for this EV is 4.2/52 = $0.08. A Camry claims 25 city and 35 mpg highway, let's assume it gets 30 mpg on average. Regular gas in Jan 2016 is $1.8/gallon. Cost per mile for the Camry is $0.06. Mercedes required $1000 mandatory maint. each year for a lease EV. So the "cost savings" just ain't there!
Clarence's picture

Cost per mile.

My Nissan Leaf gets 4.3 miles per kWh, $0.18, $0.04/mile. My Honda Civic gets 38 miles per gallon, $2.76, $0.07/mile. Your Camry would be $0.09/mile. The Mercedes B250 is EPA rated at 40 kWh/100 miles, 2.5 miles per KWh, $0.07. EPA says the B250 is $0.0524/mile, the Leaf $0.0376/mile. According to Consumer Reports, as of December 2011, the Nissan Leaf has an out-of-pocket operating cost of 3.5 cents per mile. EV sales are slacking, now, as fracking reduced the price of gas. If it goes back to $4, some of the cars in our sample set will see an impact. The Civic requires oil and other fluid changes on a regular basis. The regular maintenance on the Leaf is almost non-existent. I don't know what maintenance is required on a Mercedes B-class. The Leaf is faster, more comfortable, and quieter than the Civic. I'm a happy guy.
Clarence's picture

Cost to charge.

Actually, $0.18/kWh is the common rate in California. I charge my Leaf at night, at $0.114/KWH, $0.026/mile.
Anonymous's picture

Huh?

You're comparing a Toyota Camry and a Mercedes B-class? And using $1.80 gas prices? These aren't apples and oranges, these are grapes and pineapples. What an insane comparison.
Anonymous's picture

Huh?

You're comparing a Toyota Camry and a Mercedes B-class? And using $1.80 gas prices? These aren't apples and oranges, these are grapes and pineapples. What an insane comparison.
Anonymous's picture

Cost for MB B-Class

2014 Mercedes B-class. 28KWH battery, PSE&G in NJ charges approx. $0.15 per KWh. Each charge will yield 62 miles in summer and 52 miles in winter. Cost per charge is about $4.2 (28*0.15). So the cost per mile for this EV is 4.2/52 = $0.08. A Camry claims 25 city and 35 mpg highway, let's assume it gets 30 mpg on average. Regular gas in Jan 2016 is $1.8/gallon. Cost per mile for the Camry is $0.06. Mercedes required $1000 mandatory maint. each year for a lease EV. So the "cost savings" just ain't there!
Anonymous's picture

Volt charge cost

Live in NJ, the utility company is PS&G. The electricity is about $0.19/kwh. My volt consume 29kwh/100mile in June, or 5.5 cents/mile. The range in my traffic condition is about 43 miles per charge. I never need gas in my daily commute. On another side, the cheapest local gas is about $2.3/gal (I always find cheap source, like Costco) . With my Altima hybrid, 34mile/gal, or 6.8 cents/mile. Not save much in NJ. There is EV friendly plan, which is $0.22 during peak hours (7:00AM to 9:00PM), and $0.11 off peak. However, the management fee for the plan is $11 more than the normal plan. The saving cannot compensate the extra charge.
ZEGE  pres Barrett's picture

charger on board no fuel turbogenerator ulimited mileage

Zero Emission Global Energy, LLC is designing mini electro magnetic induction turbine generator s that produce 35KWe power for your electric cars to provide an on board no fuel unlimited mileage system. Our R&D is ramping up and should be available by January next year. Look at the Wrightspeed new electric MACK garbage truck it is using a diesel fueled turbogenerator cutting fuel by half and only charges the MACK's batteries. Still fu needed not yet ZEGE tech. Also Japan IHI Corp. briefcase turbogenerator still gas fired. ZEGE,LLC will soon raise more R&D monies from social and EV tech media clean energy backers.
Anonymous's picture

my leaf is about $2 to charge

my leaf is about $2 to charge empty to full. about 70 miles range.
Anonymous's picture

It depends on your electric

It depends on your electric rates and how far you drive, (you won't necessarily empty the battery every day). The average EV uses about 300 watts in the summer and 400 watts in the winter per mile. That means a 10 mile drive will use about 3kW to 4kW. Multiply that by how far you drive per year and your electric rate and you'll know your cost. For example at $0.12 per kW, 10 miles would cost between $0.36 and $0.48. For comparison a gas car at $3 per gallon which gets 30 mpg would cost $1 to go the same distance. The cost of electricity doesn't change if you charge at 110v or 240v this only affects how *fast* you charge (3.3kW charge will charge at ~ 10 miles of range per hour, 6.6kW at ~20 miles of range per hour). Think of your water bill, you pay for the amount of water you use, not how fast you use it.
Riley Steve's picture

Electric vehicles are the

Electric vehicles are the future of auto industry and after reading this blog I am fully satisfied and clear that in coming days people will surely opt for EV’s as these are far better than fuel cars. Electric vehicle benefits weigh more than fuel cars as it has low maintenance and protect our environment by turning the city into green city where you can see no pollution and live peacefully. Thanks for the post. Truly, it was a nice read.
Anonymous's picture

What about the gas hybrids

What about the gas hybrids use? And the coal used to make electricity
Dick's picture

Pollution of an electric car

Comparison of fossil fuel needed to supply the electrical energy necessary to drive 100 miles in an electric car that used 34KWh per 100 miles. “To express the efficiency of a generator or power plant as a percentage, divide the equivalent Btu content of a kWh of electricity (which is 3,412 Btu) by the heat rate. For example, if the heat rate is 10,500 Btu, the efficiency is 33%. If the heat rate is 7,500 Btu, the efficiency is 45%.” http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=107&t=3 The Average Operating Heat Rate for Coal in 2014 was 10428 Btu/KWh and for Petroleum was 10814Btu/KWh. http://www.eia.gov/electricity/annual/html/epa_08_01.html So the efficiency of electricity generation from coal was 10428/3412 = 32.7% and the efficiency of electrical generation. from petroleum was 10814/3412 = 31.6%. (This does not include losses due to transmission and conversion to energy stored in the car battery). The energy content of petroleum is 34.2 MJ/L which is 36.1 KWh/gal. Since the efficiency of conversion of petroleum to electricity is 31.6%, one gallon of petroleum produces only 36.1 * 31.6% = 11.4 KWh of electrical energy. To produce the 34 KWh that is necessary to drive an electric car 100 miles (http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/decoding-electric-car-mpg.html ) would require 34KWhr/11.4KWh/gal = 3 gal. Both our Prius and our VW would go 120-150 miles on 3 gal of petroleum. Moreover, the electric vehicle using 3 gal of petroleum at the power plant would generate as much pollution as a gas vehicle that gets 33 MPG. I find these calculations troubling and I hope someone can find an error! Dick Roth
Anonymous's picture

Also, the fossil fuel

Also, the fossil fuel electric plant cannot operate viably if it only produces electricity for electric cars. It has to produce much more electricity than that so it ends up still putting out the same amount of pollution. Nothing is gained.
Eric Richardson's picture

Electric car charging cost

With technology development we have various kinds of luxury and hybrid cars which consist of several kinds of new innovative and unique features. But now days we have found that people are giving more preference to hybrid luxury cars instead of normal cars. But it is quite expensive to maintain a hybrid car and especially in terms of charging the car we need to visit different charging stations; for which we spend a little amount of penny. As due to the number of electric cars increases simultaneously the percentage of electric charging stations are also increases.
Anonymous's picture

how much does it cost

how much does it cost to charge your car
Robert Plantz's picture

Lousy analysis

I'm very surprised that someone who "is a commercial property manager and restaurant owner" would assert that the savings from cutting costs in one area cannot be used in another area. If I save money by installing LED lighting in my home, I can spend that savings on gasoline for my car. He also ignores the opportunity costs of investing my capital in LED lighting. Reminds me of a neighbor who spent $20k for solar panels and now asserts that his electricity is free. No, he simply prepaid for about 10 - 15 years of electricity. After that, the cost will be greatly reduced. We each need to do our own analysis based on our particular situation. I have an all electric (including well pump) home in the San Francisco area. I always get at least into PG&E's third tier, where electricity costs $0.27/kWh. Adding an EV would always take me into tier 3 -- $0.32/kWh. Time of use metering makes things worse because the rates for my home use would go way up. And no, I will not restrict all my cooking, showers, room heating, etc., to 11PM - 7AM! So assuming I could get 3.5 miles/kWh, EV power would cost me in the order of $0.10/mile. The lifelong (137k miles) mileage of my 2005 Prius is 48.6mpg. The break-even point for me is gas costing $4.86/gal. And this does not take into account the premium cost of an EV.