Charging your electric car is a crucial part of owning one. Depending on where you live, you might have access to many public charging stations. But what is the cost to charge an electric vehicle at a public charging station? While most of your electric vehicle charging might be done at home, you should know the various ways to charge your EV while on the road.
What is the cost to charge an electric vehicle, and what does kWh mean for electric cars?
A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a measure of energy. You are charged per kilowatt-hour to charge your electric vehicle. John Voelcker, an automotive journalist and industry analyst, commented on this to Kelly Blue Book. Voelcker notes that most electric cars get between three and four miles out of each kWh. If you divide the total miles driven each month by three, you can get the amount of kWh you would use monthly. Multiply this by the cost per kWh.
For EV home charging, the math is a bit easier to guess. If you drive 540 miles a month, you will use 180 kWh. The average price of a kWh in the U.S. is $0.12/kWh. Multiple 180 kWh by $0.12, and you get $21.60 per month. Considering the range of the vehicle is usually around 200 miles per charge, charging an electric car remains to be a good deal.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity is 10.59 cents/kWh as of July 2022. The cost to charge an electric car remains less expensive than the price of gas, which is $4.25 per gallon simultaneously.
Are public electric car charging stations free?
There are many places you can charge your EV while on the road. According to EV Charging, there were 17,500 charging stations in 2019. Compare that to 168,000 gas stations. That is 1 in 74 public charging stations to 1 in 1600 gas stations.
The cost of charging can vary depending on where you live. California tends to be the most expensive state regarding kWh, which means you will be charged more for the same amount. The prices can also vary depending on the time. The best way to get up-to-date information about pricing is from the station you are at.
To combat this, most places offer various memberships. Some companies like Nissan, Hyundai, and Volkswagen have been including two years of membership with the purchase of an electric vehicle. With the purchase of the new ID.4, you get complimentary Level 2 fast charging at participating stations.
How much do charging stations cost?
Other options include pay as you go and a monthly subscription. While many drivers don’t want to pay monthly, you can still pay as you go. My EV has all of the pricing information. Monthly rates for some stations are $4 to $7.99 a month. Electrify America offers a discount for Pass+ members. A $4 monthly fee gets you the discounted rate of $0.31/kWh. Guest and regular members will pay $.43/kWh. Electrify America charges an “idle fee” of $0.40 if your car remains plugged in for more than 10 minutes after it is fully charged.
EVgo charges $0.35 a minute for fast charging with no fee or commitment. For those who want to pay $7.99 a month, you only pay $0.31 a minute. No idle fees apply. ChargePoint is a brand found at retail locations for the most part. While some companies absorb the cost, ChargePoint will charge $10 to your card at signup if it isn’t free. This replenishes every time you get below $5.
Tesla also has Tesla-brand charging stations, but the costs vary widely based on location. With any of these, your mileage may vary (YMMV). Check out our guide on where to charge an electric vehicle for free while out and about.
This article was updated on 7/29/2022.