Electric vehicle (EV) owners have multiple options for charging their vehicles.
From plugging your car in at home to using a direct current (DC) fast charger at a library, the cost of charging differs. Factors such as charger level (L1, L2, L3), time of use rates and vehicle use can affect the price.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published a study analyzing the levelized costs of charging (LCOC) EV’s in the United States. Their model emphasizes residential charging, as most EV owners charge their personal vehicles at home.
Drive Electric Colorado also presents a state-specific example.
Currently in Colorado, the average price of electricity for residential use is approximately $0.13 kWh. If electricity costs $0.13 per kWh and the vehicle consumes 33 kWh to travel 100 miles, the cost per mile is about $0.04.
Charging an EV with a 200-mile range (assuming a fully depleted 66 kWh battery) will cost about $9 to reach a full charge. Considering $3.44 per gallon (average gasoline price in Colorado), a 2020 light-duty internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle averaging 25.7 MPG would cost $26.77 to fill up a 200-mile range tank.
You save significantly more money on fuel costs for an EV than an ICE vehicle!
Charging costs can vary depending on different charging behaviors and equipment costs.
Suppose you solely charge your EV using a public DC fast charger. In that case, you will likely pay more per kWh and any additional demand charges than if you used a Level 1 or Level 2 charger.
In addition, there are several pricing structures that EV consumers may encounter when charging their vehicle in public. Common pricing structures can price by kWh, by session, by the length of time or through a subscription. Session and time-based structures are common in states where non-utilities are prohibited from selling electricity. While imposing a fee for using charging infrastructure is becoming more common, more than 50% of public chargers are free to use.
Despite the differing price structures, it is almost always less expensive to charge an EV than to refuel a similar-sized ICE vehicle.
To compare fueling costs between individual vehicle models of ICE and EVs, explore the Alternative Fuel Data Center (AFDC) Vehicle Cost Calculator. To learn more about EV charging, visit Drive Electric Colorado’s All About Charging page.