Electric vehicle charging, mostly done at home, is one of the main benefits of switching to electric drive as it’s convenient (no need to go to a fuel station, just plug-in at home), and usually significantly cheaper than refueling (to drive a similar distance in a conventional counterpart).
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL)’s data provide us with the answer about the national average EV charging cost in the U.S.
The simple answer is $0.15/kWh (€0.12/kWh), although it varies significantly from $0.08/kWh to $0.27/kWh, depending on multiple factors (including electricity price, type of charging points and use case).
The numbers apply to the typical scenario, set according to empirical data:
- 81% of charging is done at home (AC)
- 14% of charging is done at the workplace or public charging points (AC)
- 5% of charging is done at public fast chargers (DC)
Of course, the more you rely on home charging (especially at night when electricity prices are lowest), the lower the cost should be.
“Previous studies assumed a singular value for the cost to charge an electric vehicle (EV), but this new work provides an unprecedented state-level assessment of the cost of EV charging that considers when, where, and how a vehicle is charged, and considers thousands of electricity retail tariffs and real-world charging equipment and installation costs. The cost of charging is compared against the price of gasoline to estimate total fuel cost savings over a vehicle’s lifetime.”
“In calculating costs, the researchers also considered the nature of the charging stations. For a slow charge, a motorist can use a traditional outlet at home without any special equipment. Upgrading to a higher-powered residential charger costs about $1,800, including installation. But charging at home can be done at night when electricity prices are currently at their lowest, which is considered the best-case scenario from a cost perspective.
Exclusively charging at DCFC stations increases the national LCOC to 18 cents per kWh, while the price falls to 11 cents per kWh for motorists who only charged their EV using a dedicated household outlet. The cost can be further reduced to 8 cents by charging during off-peak periods.”
Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, “News Release: Research Determines Financial Benefit from Driving Electric Vehicles,” June 22, 2020.
Over the vehicle lifetime (assuming 15 years), electricity cost should be from $3,000 to $10,500 lower than fuel cost, which may match or exceed the initial higher upfront cost of an electric car.
In some specific cases, the difference might be up to $14,500, but in others – interestingly – close to zero.
“In addition to this variation, considering state-by-state differences can push savings to $14,500 (in Washington state) or, in the case of four states (Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Tennessee), fail to provide any savings when compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle under certain scenarios. The researchers examined vehicles of the same class and size and driven the same number of miles a year.”