How Much Does It Cost To Charge An Electric Car?

So you‘re interested in joining the EV revolution. New electric models with impressive range and features have certainly captured your attention. However, the upfront costs coupled with unknowns around charging expenses likely raise some questions. Will I really save money owning an EV? How much will it cost to charge compared to gas fill-ups? What about long-term maintenance and repairs?

Valid concerns for anyone doing their due diligence before such a significant purchase. But here‘s the truth – when you compare lifetime ownership costs, electric vehicles are actually far more affordable than their gas-powered counterparts.

Electric Vehicle Charging Costs Demystified

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll provide detailed charging cost breakdowns for today‘s top EVs along with projected maintenance savings over 5 to 10 years of ownership. My goal is to equip you with hard data to determine if an EV makes sound financial sense for your household.

Right off the bat, let‘s compare what the average US household spends annually fueling an internal combustion engine (ICE) car versus keeping an electric EV charged:

Annual Fuel CostICE CarElectric Car
Gallons/kWh Per Year624 gal4,322 kWh
Average Cost$3.50/gallon$0.15/kWh
Total Annual Fuel Cost$2,184$648

Table – Annual fuel costs for gasoline car vs electric car based on average miles driven and fuel prices. Electricity is over 3x cheaper per mile.

Based on this quick table, we see electricity prices offer 3-4x cost savings per mile compared to gas fuel economy. As battery ranges continue improving, EVs provide even greater potential savings over 100,000+ lifetime miles.

Now let‘s explore the factors that shape charging costs for EVs…

Key Factors That Impact Charging Costs

Similar to your monthly home energy bill, the price you pay to charge your electric car depends on:

Electricity Rate – Measured in cents/kWh. Varies widely by location. National average is around 15 cents/kWh [[1]].

Battery Size – Ranges from 50 kWh to over 100 kWh. More range generally requires a larger, more expensive battery.

Charging Equipment – Home (Level 1/Level 2 charger) is most affordable. Public DC fast charging costs 2-4x times more.

To determine the charging cost for a specific EV, you simply multiply the battery size by your local electricity rate. For example:

Tesla Model 3 (82 kWh battery) x 12 cents/kWh = $9.84 to full charge

Now let‘s see electricity costs for EVs across five states with different rates:

StateElectricity RateCharging a 60 kWh EV
New York20¢/kWh$12.00

Table showing sample EV charging costs across five states based on varying electricity rates. Costs range from $4.80 to $17.40 for 60 kWh battery.

This gives you an idea of the potential variation geographically. Hawaii will pay nearly 4x more than Louisiana to charge up the same EV.

Now that we‘ve broken down the basic math, let‘s compare charging and maintenance costs over the lifespan of some top electric vehicles…

Lifetime Cost Breakdown of Popular EVs

Determining savings requires looking beyond a single charge to model total costs over 5 to 10 years of ownership. Let‘s analyze two popular models – the Tesla Model 3 and the Ford Mustang Mach-E:

Tesla Model 3

  • Battery Size: 82 kWh
  • Electricity Rate: 15 cents/kWh (US average)
  • Lifetime Charging Cost: $14,820 (82 kWh x $0.15 per kWh x 365 charges)
  • Lifetime Maintenance Cost: $4,000
  • Total Cost Over 5 Years: $18,820

Ford Mustang Mach-E

  • Battery Size: 88 kWh
  • Electricity Rate: 20 cents/kWh (California average)
  • Lifetime Charging Cost: $32,020 (88 kWh x $0.20 per kWh x 365 charges)
  • Lifetime Maintenance Cost: $1,500
  • Total Cost Over 5 Years: $33,520

First, we see the Model 3 would save an average driver roughly $15,000 over 5 years compared to the Mustang Mach-E thanks to lower electricity rates. However, both EVs offer dramatically lower lifetime maintenance bills compared to gas-powered equivalents, saving $3,000-$4,000 respectively.

Extending out projections to 10 years shows even more staggering savings given reduced charging and maintenance costs. When evaluating EV options, understanding these long-term cost differences in fuel and repairs is essential.

Federal Tax Credits and Incentives

For further savings at the time of purchase, most electric vehicles are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Combined with state and local incentives, total purchase rebates commonly reach $10,000 or more. Factoring these in further tips cost advantages in favor of EVs for much lower effective starting prices.

Should You Buy or Lease?

Given battery technology improvements that increase range and efficiency over time, low-cost leasing programs have become popular options for driving electric without commitment to future ownership. Both purchase and lease routes can make solid financial sense with lifetime savings in mind.

Exploring all federal, state, and manufacturer incentives alongside projected charging costs for your driving needs will determine the optimal path forward. Many providers even offer EV rate plans to lower charging costs specifically for electric vehicle owners.

The key is understanding your individual factors – miles driven, electricity rates, vehicle preferences, etc. Armed with projections for your situation, you can make the decision best aligned to your budget.

As you consider joining the EV ranks, it‘s wise to study both upfront and long-term costs compared to traditional gas vehicles. Use the principles outlined here to make accurate projections tailored to your situation. I‘m happy to walk through any questions as you weigh your options – feel free to ask below!


  1. U.S. Energy Information Administration

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