Hybrids & Electrics

How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Vehicle at a Charging Station?

Charging your electric vehicle is a crucial part of owning one. Depending on where you live, you might have access to many public charging stations. But what are the costs associated with public charging?

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 does kWh mean for electric cars?

Public electric vehicle charging stations sometimes charge a fee
A Volkswagen electric vehicle charging station 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 vehicles 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 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.

Are public electric car charging stations free?

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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 when it comes to 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?

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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 or locations 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).