Hybrids & Electrics

How Many Kilowatt Hours Does an Electric Car Use?

This is a question many future electric vehicle owners ask, but is it easy to answer? Not necessarily. Using national averages, we can presume how much it might cost you to charge your new electric car. Read up on kilo-watt hours and how to calculate your EV energy cost below.

What exactly is a kilowatt-hour?

A meter shows how many kilowatt-hours a residential building is using
An electricity meter shows the kilowatt-hours consumed, but how many will your electric vehicle use? | Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty Images

According to Ovo Energy, kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a measure of how much energy you are using. Kilowatt-hours aren’t just for electric vehicles.

You will see kWh on your energy bills to show how much energy your electronics are using. In addition, it can help you lower your bills if you notice one appliance is using too much energy.

In general, you should be able to calculate how much energy you will use and how much it will cost to charge your car.

Kilowatt-hours for your electric vehicle

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On average, an electric vehicle uses around 30 kWh to travel 100 miles. According to Edmunds, you can calculate your car’s kilowatt-hour usage easily.

Concerning charging your EV: if your car requires 40 kWh to recharge fully and the going rate is $0.18/kWh, you will be charged $7.20 for a full charge. If your electric vehicle requires 30 kWh, and the going rate is $0.20, you will be charged $6.

The cost of energy is very stable but also varies widely based on location. Edmunds notes that the residential average ranges from $0.9 in Louisiana to $0.28 in Hawaii. The average is right around $0.13. In California, where energy is usually a bit more expensive, it is right around $0.20.

You can check the going rate for your area using the U.S. Energy Information Administration list. This shows the prices throughout the U.S. for the past two years for residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation industries.

Calculate your EV electricity cost

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There are many tools out there to help figure out the cost of charging your electric car. The U.S. Department of Energy has a handy vehicle cost calculator tool.

For example, if you input a 2020 Volkswagen e-Golf automatic EV, the fuel economy is 28/32 kWh/100 miles. If you drive 40 miles a day, five days a week, 49 weeks a year, with 45% of those on the highway, you get your distances.

Your annual driving distance is 13,396 (6,109 city/7,287 highway). If you add an extra 3,596 miles per year and live in Florida, your annual electricity use is 4,049 kWh. Your annual electricity cost is $469, with a cost of $0.20 per mile.

For New York, your annual use is the same (4,049 kWh), but your electricity cost goes up to $743 with a cost of $0.22 per mile. Try calculating the cost with your EV and state to see the results. You can also do this ahead of time if you are considering buying a new car.