Is Charging an EV Free ?

If you ever wondered whether you need to pay to charge your electric vehicle, the answer may depend on the particulars of your utility company’s charging policy.

Many drivers love their electric vehicles for their ability to run on clean energy. However, some drivers point out that the reason for their affection is a different one: They don’t have to pay for gasoline with fully electric vehicles since they don’t use that fuel.

The environmental benefits of going green do not necessarily mean getting behind the wheel of a free ride.

When you charge an electric car, the cost of a fill-up will depend on time of use rates offered by your utility company. To understand the total cost associated with charging an electric vehicle, you should include the amortized cost of purchasing and installing a home charging station. If you’re considering  solar energy to power a car, the cost of a home solar system should also be factored in.

Determining a plug-in vehicle’s daily juice habit isn’t difficult once you understand all the individual cost points.

​​The New MPG: Kilowatt-Hours Per 100 Miles

In choosing a gasoline-powered car, you consider the miles per gallon it gets. Gas-electric hybrid vehicle mpg ratings are not the measure of efficiency for plug-in cars. Instead, it’s kilowatt-hours per 100 miles (kWh/100 miles).

To figure out your cost of charging at home, multiply your vehicle’s kWh/100 miles figure by the electric rate for the time of day you’ll most often be charging. This will tell you the cost per 100 miles.

You can also figure out the total number of kilowatt-hours needed to recharge the EV’s battery. A fully depleted EV battery, which requires 40 kWh (kilowatt-hours) of electricity to fully recharge, costs $8 to fill up at 20 cents per kWh. (California) 

The cost of electricity varies considerably within the U.S., but it is much more stable than the cost of gas. Because of differences in state tax policies, the residential average per kilowatt-hour ranges from 9.3 cents in Louisiana to 28.9 cents in Hawaii. The national average cost per kilowatt hour is 13.3 cents, only 2 cents more than it was a decade ago. In California—which leads the nation in electric car sales—the residential average costs 20.1 cents per kilowatt hour.

What about public charging stations? You can sometimes still use a public charging station for free (and some EV companies provide for free charging at specific stations). But most stations now charge either as you go or by subscription based on the kWh you use. According to the State of California, the typical cost is around 30 cents per kWh at level 2 chargers and 40 cents for DC fast charging.. Bluedot makes this process easier by engaging EV drivers with charging stations and nearby stores at the same time. Get 10% cash back points just by signing up for free here!  

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