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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?

Public electric vehicle charging stations sometimes charge a fee
A Volkswagen electric vehicle charging station in Berlin | Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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 11.10 cents/kWh as of June 2023. The cost to charge an electric car remains less expensive than the price of gas, which is around $3.50 per gallon. Charging an EV is roughly $12 to $16, depending on the various factors listed above. Peaking charging times are more expensive, and states like Hawaii, Alaska, and California have much higher rates.

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 $4.00 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 found at popular retail locations. 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 Supercharger stations, but the costs vary widely based on location. With any of these, your mileage may vary. It is always a good idea to check charging stations before heading out on a road trip. Many public chargers are being updated and improved at this time.

Are public electric car charging stations free?


Where Can You Charge an Electric Vehicle for Free?

There are many places you can charge an EV while on the road. According to CNET, there were 17,500 charging stations in 2019. As of March 2023, there are around 130,000 public charging stations around the country. The White House has pledged trillions of dollars from the infrastructure bill that will add 500,000 more public chargers by 2030.

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 EV. With the purchase of the new ID.4, you get complimentary Level 2 fast charging at participating stations.

Come 2024, there will be many charging stations around the country. Hopefully, the cost to charge an electric vehicle goes down when there are more places to charge around the country.