How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Vehicle (EV) With Level 3 Charging?

There’s no question. Electric vehicles are starting to really assume their places among the automotive industry and car-buying public. And with the increased availability of various EV options out there, today’s consumers need to familiarize themselves more with the EV technology, maintenance, and proper charging techniques. 

As you consider your EV options, you’ll want to immerse yourself in all the terminology and best practices for owning and maintaining an electrified ride. Today, we’ll explore the various nuances you’ll need to know about Level 3 charging, including how to identify one, how long it takes to recharge, and how much it costs to charge an EV at one.

DC Fast Charging/Level 3 Charging equipment used on a Renault Zoe electric car at Enercity
Level 3 charging equipment used on a Renault | Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

Where you’ll find Level 3 charging stations

There are three primary levels of EV charging available. Levels 1 and 2, as the U.S. Department of Transportation describes, are the slower methods, with charging capabilities of 120 volts and 240 volts, respectively.

These are the units you’ll find in some public venues and for at-home charging. Level 3, however, is considered to be the fastest and most robust method, capable of providing 400-volt to 900-volt charging, according to Forbes.

Level 3 charging stations, also known as Direct Current Fast Chargers, are currently available along major traffic corridors in charging networks rather than individual charging stations. These are the stations you’ll likely find along the highway or at major public locations.

Level 3 chargers could be installed in your home, but it’s not recommended since the costs associated with such an installation are astronomical and would require high-output electrical upgrades.

The cost of Level 3 charging explained

There’s even more to unravel with Level 3 DC charging when you start assigning costs. How much it can cost you to charge your EV at one of these super-fast stations can vary wildly, depending on the location and type of unit. Public venues will set their own rates for use, for example. And Tesla charging stations with Level 3 capabilities will vary from other brand stations. 

Electrify America shares some additional pricing info, charging $.43 per kWh or $.31 per kWh for subscribers. But no matter how you compare, Level 3 charging stations will always be more expensive to use that Level 1 or Level 2 stations. Alternative Fuels Data Center discusses how to determine costs further. If the electricity costs $.10 per kWh, re-juicing a completed 200-mile battery would cost about $6.

MyEV explains that being the fastest method of charging allows Level 3 chargers to command higher prices. Tesla, for example, charges an average of $.28 per kWh to use its Superchargers in some states.

In its example, a 25-minute charging session that added 50 miles of range to their Volkswagen eGolf, cost $7.25. This averages out to be around $3.62 for every 15 miles charged. If you were driving the gas-powered VW Golf, you’d pay $2.26 for the same miles, demonstrating a vast difference. To know how much your EV will cost, you’ll need to do some math and know your EV’s battery capacity before calculating.

How quickly you can charge your EV using a Level 3 station


What’s the Difference Between Level 3 Charging, DC Fast Charging, and Superchargers?

The Alternative Fuels Data Center breaks down the time it takes to charge an EV at a Level 3 charging station. You can add anywhere from 100 to 200+ miles of range in just 30 minutes of charging.

That’s roughly adding 20 miles of range every three minutes, which is lightning-fast when compared to the other levels of charging. A full charge can be achieved in roughly one hour, depending on who you ask.

Before buying any EV, consider all the new terms and methods you’ll have to adopt. And keep these insights in mind regarding Level 3 charging stations