The cost of operating and charging an electric car

The cost of operating and charging an electric car

While they are cheaper to operate than their conventionally powered counterparts, some electric vehicles will save owners more money bypassing fuel pumps than others. The most economical in this respect can cost owners an average of $500 a year to drive 15,000 miles, based on their estimated power consumption under ideal conditions, while it can be twice that with less efficient models.

As with any type of vehicle, the larger and heavier the vehicle, the more power it needs to keep moving, and you’ve probably noticed that many electric vehicles today, especially battery-powered pickup trucks that go on the road, are fairly big trips. What weighs down huge battery packs.

This is made worse by the fact that electric vehicles are less efficient at operating at highway speeds than they are around town, and consume battery power faster in extreme temperatures; This can be anywhere from 25 to 40 percent less mileage when charging in cold weather with the heater running. Likewise, an electric truck or SUV will pass the kilowatts at a faster rate when towing a boat or trailer. The charge-status gauge reading drops rapidly when drivers push the accelerator pedal to the floor to exploit the electric vehicle’s instant torque for rocket-like launches.

Here is a list of the 10 most efficient electric vehicles with their “MPGe” equivalent ratings and annual cost to drive 15,000 miles in combined city and highway use, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, based on electricity with a national average of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour for an electric unit.

  1. Tesla Model 3: 132 MPGe (Annual fuel cost $500)
  2. Lucid Air: 131 miles per gallon ($500)
  3. Tesla Model Y: 129 MP ($500)
  4. Hyundai Kona: 120 mpg ($550)
  5. Chevrolet Bolt EV: 120 mpg ($550)
  6. Tesla Model S: 120 mpg ($550)
  7. Toyota bZ4X: 119 mpg ($550)
  8. Kia EV6: 117 mpg ($550)
  9. Chevrolet Bolt EUV: 115 mpg ($550)
  10. Hyundai Ionic 5: 114 mpg ($600)

And these are the “energy-intensive kilowatts,” based on their EPA ratings, noting applicable embellishments:

  1. Audi e-tron S: 63 MPGe (annual fuel cost $1,000)
  2. Audi e-tron S Sportback: 65 mpg ($1,000)
  3. Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum: 66 MP ($1,000)
  4. Rivian R15: 69 mpg ($950)
  5. Porsche Taycan Turbo S: 70 mpg ($950)
  6. Rivian R1T: 70 MP ($950)
  7. BMW iX M60: 77 MP ($ 850)
  8. BMW i4 M50 Gran Coupe: 80 MPGe (850)
  9. Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance: 82 mpg ($800)
  10. Volvo XC40 Recharged: 85MP ($750)

Regardless of which electric vehicle a particular driver chooses, the cost of charging at home is much lower than charging at public charging stations, which remain few and far between compared to gas stations. It can be charged via standard 110V wall outlets, known in the business as level 1 charging, but it can take up to 30 hours to fully recharge an extended range model using this method.

The best way to go is to spend several hundred dollars to install a dedicated 240V line in the garage along with so-called level 2 charging equipment. It’s not cheap, but the additional upfront costs will pay off in terms of much faster charging times. Level 2 charging adds about 20, 30 or more miles per hour, although charging times can last longer when the temperature gets cold. Most EVs can be replenished overnight via Tier 2 equipment, which may get a discount for drawing power off the grid at off-peak hours, depending on the provider. Some states offer programs to help make installing a home charging station more affordable, and Chevrolet is currently selecting the tab for those buying a new Bolt EV or Bolt EUV.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency Fueleconomy.com website, it will cost the owner $3.84 to drive a 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV 100 miles at the above average electric prices. By comparison, going the same 100 miles in a small gas-powered Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV that gets 28 mpg would cost about $13.40 on average fuel costs.

Note that the numbers cited are national averages for electricity and gasoline, both of which vary – often significantly – from state to state. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website allows users to customize estimates with local charges per kWh as stated on the electric bill. According to the site Choose Energy.comHawaiians pay the highest electricity cost in the nation at $0.45 per kilowatt-hour, followed by California ($0.29), Connecticut ($0.25), Maine ($0.24), and Alaska ($0.24). Energy is cheaper in Idaho ($0.11), Montana ($0.12) and North Carolina ($0.12).

The American Council on Energy-Saving Economics (ACEEE) maintains a Interactive Spreadsheet Calculator It can help electric vehicle shoppers and owners calculate operating costs in their states and compare them to models that run on equivalent conventional power. Unfortunately, ACEEE’s calculator does not take into account the reduced rates that might apply to off-peak charging or seasonal changes in the electrical grid, but they are comparable.

On the other hand, general shipping is a more expensive option, and is often less reliable. Public EV stations support either Level 2 charging mentioned above or Level 3 charging, also called DC fast charging. You’ll even find some stations that offer both types. They are typically installed in retail parking lots, public parking lots, and new car dealers in or near major cities, as well as at many national parks and locations near busy interstate highways. Electric vehicle owners can locate charging stations anywhere in the United States via many websites and smartphone apps.

The level 2 mentioned above is still the most common type of pubic charging, and given the rate of charge, it’s best to “charge” the EV battery while shopping, eating, or running errands (especially since some retail locations limit parking to just two hours).

A faster alternative is to use a level 3 station, also called DC fast charging. Level 3 charging can bring a given EV battery up to 80 percent of its capacity in about 30-45 minutes, depending on the model and charge level. A few electric rides, such as the Porsche Taycan, can take advantage of faster charging times, but only via a relatively few specially equipped stations. Electric vehicle owners planning a road trip will want to plan an itinerary based on access to DC fast charging stations, and most importantly, hopefully, be available and in working order when needed.

Again, costs for using public charging vary from state and charging network to state, the latter including ChargePoint, EVgo, Electrify America, and Tesla’s Supercharger network. Some Level 2 chargers remain free to use, depending on location and network, but all Level 3 units require payment, usually by credit card per transaction or upfront. Some states allow networks to charge customers based on kilowatt-hours of electricity used, while others require providers to charge it on a per-minute basis.

For example, Electrify America costs $0.43 per kWh in most states that allow DC fast charging in this format ($0.31 plus a $4.00 monthly fee for “Pass+” members). In cases that dictate shipping costs over time, a call can cost up to $0.32 per minute. According to EPA figures, an average EV uses 34.7 kWh to traverse 100 miles, which translates to $15 at the above rate per kWh, versus under $4.00 with home charging. Assuming it takes about four gallons of gas to drive the same distance, that would cost an internal combustion car owner nearly as much gasoline at the current national average of $3.70 per gallon for regular grade.

Of course, energy consumption is only a part of an electric vehicle’s total ownership costs. We compared upfront purchase prices in a previous post, and will look at how the current crop of electric vehicle prices in terms of insurance, maintenance, repair and depreciation, as well as operating ranges, over future premiums.

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