In recent years, electric vehicles have rapidly become the car of choice for many due to several factors including their low environmental impact, cost, and innovative technology. As more and more car manufacturers begin to develop electric cars, and highways become more equipped to support charging electric vehicles, it seems likely that electric cars will play a big role in the future of our transportation system is electric.
Electric vehicles tend to hold several advantages over traditional-gas-dependent cars. Aside from having a much lower carbon footprint, they also tend to be cheaper to operate. Although their upfront cost is still high in comparison to a lot of gas cars, one of the main reasons that individuals are interested in purchasing electric vehicles is because they can help their drivers save money in the long run. That's because, when done right, it can be cheaper to charge your car via electricity than it is to power your car via gas.
How much cheaper? How much does it cost to charge an electric car every day? Calculating the cost of your electric vehicle can be difficult for a number of reasons. On a given day, electricity rates are much more likely to vary than gas prices which makes it hard to calculate how much your car's miles per kilowatt-hours. That's why we've created a calculator and guide to help you deepen your understanding of how much it costs to own and use an electric vehicle. Check it out below!
Energy language can be confusing. Below, we break down what you need to know to use our calculator.
Watts measure the rate at which electricity moves through an appliance. When it comes to electric vehicles, the more wattage, the faster you can charge your car.
Typically, a charging station uses 3,600 and 7,200 watts to charge an electric vehicle. Most electric vehicles actually have limits to the rate of power and electricity the car can accept. The number of watts it takes to charge a vehicle is actually much lower than you might expect. For perspective, most window unit air conditioners use around 1,500 watts and an electric furnace can use as much as 10,000 - 14,000 watts. Charging stations live in the middle of the pack of your appliances when it comes to average energy consumption.
Determining how many watts it takes to charge your car is an important step for calculating the cost of charging your vehicle. Your charging station will likely have the wattage information somewhere written down. You can also look it up online. Here is an equation to help you calculate wattage (and kilowattage) in case you can't find the number.
Kilowatts = (Amps x Volts) / 1000
According to US Energy Information Administration, the average cost of electricity in the U.S. is 16 ¢/kWh. However, this number can vary depending on your electricity supplier. One of the reasons it can be so difficult to calculate the cost of charging your electric vehicle is because prices will vary throughout the day due to the ebbs and flows of energy demand. This cost of electricity also greatly varies depending on your state. Here is a list of the average electricity cost in different states.
The answer really depends on what kind of car you buy. In general, the upfront cost of purchasing or leasing a new electric car will often make electric cars a bit more expensive because there are more affordable gas-powered cars on the market than electric vehicles. This study breaks down the overall cost of buying and operating gas cars vs. electric cars.
But while the upfront cost of electric vehicles will likely be higher, it is much cheaper to power your car via electricity. On average, an electric vehicle uses around 30kwhs to travel 100 miles. If the cost of electricity is around 16 ¢/kWh, then the cost of powering your car to travel 100 miles would be under $5 dollars. In comparison, if you have a car that gets 25 miles per gallon and the cost of gas is $3.50 per gallon, then the cost of powering your car to drive 100 miles would be roughly $14 dollars, more than triple the cost.
Owning an electric vehicle will likely make your electricity bill a tad more expensive. But remember that with an electric car, you no longer have to purchase gas. So while your electricity bill may be higher, you will likely still be saving money overall.
Still, there are some tips to cut those electricity costs. Here are some of our top suggestions.
Charge your car during periods of low energy demand if you can
Look into any incentives that your state or car manufacturer may offer
Look into clean energy options
Choose Perch Energy