From fighting climate change to finding the most budget-friendly choice, there are many reasons why people might want electric vehicles (EVs) instead of gas-powered versions. While there is a lot of hype around EVs being the best financial choice, it’s easy to wonder if an electric vehicle is really a better bang for your buck. When it comes to everyday purchases like gas, does the cost to charge an EV even compare?
Charging an electric vehicle is cheaper than paying for gas, saving up to $0.04 per mile (1.6 km). Charging an EV is between $5,000 and $12,000 cheaper than fueling with gas over a 15-year lifespan, based upon vehicle size, type, and location.
Are you brand new to the electric vehicle world? In this article, I go over the following:
- The pros of choosing an electric vehicle over gas.
- A cost comparison of charging an EV vs. fueling with gas.
- How to charge with different charge types.
- Where you can find EV chargers.
Choosing an EV doesn’t need to be complicated, so let me guide you through the savings by ditching your gas vehicle.
- The Pros of Choosing Electric Vehicles Over Gas Vehicles
- Understanding Electric Vehicle Charge Types
- Cost Comparison for Common Electric Vehicle Models
- How To Charge Your Electric Vehicle
- Where To Charge Your Electric Vehicle
- Vehicle Dealership
The Pros of Choosing Electric Vehicles Over Gas Vehicles
While there are pros and cons for every major decision, the positive reasons to switch to an EV outweigh the negative ones.
Gas vs. Electricity Costs
If you have ever taken a road trip from coast to coast, you might have noticed the significant difference in gas prices varying from state to state.
For instance, gas prices in California are higher than in other states. Compared to the East Coast, the West Coast was nearly 70 cents more per gallon (4.5L) in 2020. Gas is also a constant variable in any location, with prices sometimes fluctuating a few times per day.
While electricity costs are higher in California, Hawaii, and the Northeastern states, electricity premiums are lower during “off-peak” periods of the day.
By the way, I wrote an article called 11 Essential Tesla Road Trip Tips You Should Know. Take a look when you’re done here!
While the exact hour of peak or off-peak pricing will vary based on the electricity provider, overnight hours are always considered off-peak. This means that an EV owner who charges their car at home overnight can save anywhere from 25-35% compared to charging in the daytime.
Overall, having better “control” over electricity costs is a massive win for EV owners.
Knowing that you can charge your car overnight for the same relative cost is undoubtedly better than playing the daily gas price game. With varying gas prices state-to-state, you can easily travel across borders, knowing the cost to charge won’t be as drastic.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that fueling a huge, powerful truck is more expensive than a tiny compact car. The gas tank size alone will vary, and the power required to run the car will also play a factor.
While electric vehicles don’t have a gas tank, the size and type of vehicle may require longer charging times to charge it up completely.
Just like when deciding on a gasoline-powered vehicle, you need to figure out the usual purpose of your new EV and factor in the costs associated with it. A compact mini EV may work if you are a local commuter without children and will only take 3-4 hours to charge.
If you have a large family and need a vehicle that will haul things, some electric trucks that have yet to hit the market will take 14+ hours to charge fully.
Again, the ability to charge a larger vehicle compared to fueling it with gas is another win. Leaving a larger car to charge overnight will be cheaper than filling up a gas tank.
I will cover that part in the cost comparison chart below.
Anyway, on a similar note, I also wrote a somewhat related article about Tesla Affordability and All You Need To Know. Find out if you can afford a Tesla. Let me know what you think about it!
Federal Government EV Purchase Incentive
The purchase price of an electric vehicle is usually 10% to 30% more than its gas-powered counterpart, which may hinder some from even considering an EV. The savings on an electric vehicle come along later, making it the more budget-friendly choice over a gas car.
Luckily, the federal government incentivizes those who purchase an electric vehicle as a part of green initiatives. This federal tax credit varies based upon vehicle type but can help those stuck on the fence about taking the plunge into electric vehicles.
As an added bonus to this article, I’ve created this easy-to-use charging calculator. Simply input your model, charging wattage, and charging percentage, and you will get the estimated time it will take to charge a Tesla in terms of hours. You can play around with numbers a bit just to see how charging time changes:
Tesla Charging Calculator (Time):
Estimated Time It Takes To Charge Your Tesla
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Lifetime Maintenance Costs
Electric vehicles have fewer moving parts and therefore require less maintenance. Regular maintenance like oil changes and transmission fluid is not required, bringing approximate savings up to $200 a year.
Thanks to regenerative braking, there is significantly less wear on brake pads, and therefore the need to replace them is less frequent. Overall, the estimated cost to maintain an electric vehicle is 30-50% less than a regular gas vehicle.
This YouTube video goes over the lifetime cost comparison of an EV vs. a gasoline vehicle:
Climate change has been a focal point for years and has recently become an urgent matter.
While swapping plastics for glass and purchasing used clothing can help reduce one’s carbon footprint, reducing pollution is a glaring factor in both climate change and the population’s health.
Electric vehicles eliminate the use of gas and therefore have no exhaust. The elimination of exhaust then impacts the amount of greenhouse gas and pollution. From the extraction of fossil fuels to the delivery to gas stations, gasoline production is highly taxing on the environment.
Electric vehicles do not contribute to the gasoline industry.
Understanding Electric Vehicle Charge Types
You may stumble across EV car dealer websites referencing “level one, two, or three” charging. The type of charge available to your EV can make all the difference in charging time, and ultimately the overall cost of charging your vehicle.
Here are these levels of charging:
- Level One: Level one charging is what you will find in every household, with a delivery of 120 volts. This charge type is the slowest but the most widely-available version as it requires no installation. Level one charging is more common in compact/mini cars that can be left overnight to charge, but the cost and time will be steep for larger vehicles.
- Level Two: Level two charging delivers up to 240 volts and nearly quadruples the mile charge per hour. This charge type is the most commonly installed in homes and public places. Many EV dealers will offer a discount level 2 installation with purchase, but any electrician should be able to install as well.
- Level Three: For super-sonic charging, level three (known as DC) charging is available at a hefty cost. DC charging offers up to 400 volts and is the chosen charge for Tesla brand vehicles. The charging difference is unparalleled, with a full charge happening in minutes instead of hours.
Cost Comparison for Common Electric Vehicle Models
So, factoring in vehicle size, type, and location, is charging an EV still cheaper than gas? I compiled some common EV types, their average charge time, and the approximate cost below.
|Electric Vehicle||Avg. Full Recharge Time*||Avg. Cost to Charge**||Avg. Gas Cost per Tank***|
|Mini Cooper EV||4-5 hours||$4.16 for a 32.6 kWh battery||$38|
|Chevy Bolt EV||8-9.5 hours||$8.43 for a 65 kWh battery||$48|
|Kia Niro EV||8-9 hours||$8.32 for a 64 kWh battery||$46|
|Ford Mustang Mach-E||10-12 hours||$11.44 for a 88 kWh battery||$57|
* Based on level 2 charging
** Based on average electricity cost of 0.135/kWh
*** Based on the same model (if available) or similar vehicle type, and at a median gas price of $3.112 per gallon (4.5L)
On average, a vehicle owner will save $0.04 per mile (1.6 km) using electricity over gasoline.
Per year, you are looking at an average of $600 to $800 worth of savings on fuel alone. With most electric vehicle dealers hinting at an EV lifespan of 15 years, that totals up to $12,000 remaining in your pocket instead of funding the gas industry.
How To Charge Your Electric Vehicle
After learning about level one, two, and three charging, the thought of electric vehicles may be confusing to some.
Don’t worry, as the process is simple once you understand your car and charger.
Most EVs come with a standard level one portable charger so you can easily charge at home with no set-up. Simply plug the charger into an outlet in your garage, and you are good to go. If you plan on traveling while having a level one charger, make sure your on-the-go charging stations offer 120-volt (or standard) charging spots.
Most public charging stations offer level two or three charging.
If you are looking for a quicker charge, you will need to install a level two charger outlet at home. Level two charging is the most common choice for public charging stations and requires a level two portable unit.
When purchasing an EV, you can likely opt for level two charging to be installed right away. Easily plug in the charger and enjoy a quicker charge.
If you stumble upon a level three charger, be sure to check with your owner’s manual or with your dealership to verify if your EV can use DC charging. At this time, Teslas and a select few other retailers offer level three charging.
Where To Charge Your Electric Vehicle
Many potential EV owners fear the thought of being stranded in the middle of nowhere with no charging station in sight. Luckily, electric vehicles are increasing in popularity, and charging stations are coming up everywhere.
Earlier, I went over the financial benefits of charging your EV at home. As long as you have an electric outlet, you can conveniently charge your EV at any time of day. Level one charging will take up the most time, but level two charging is available for installation in most houses, like the ChargePoint Home Flex Electric Vehicle (EV) Charger on Amazon.com.
This charger charges up to 9 times faster than a typical wall outlet.
Charge your vehicle overnight to reap the benefits of off-peak electricity prices and watch the savings roll.
Across the US, dealerships that offer electric vehicles are starting to include charging stations for client use.
Although this is a fairly new endeavor, having the ability to charge at a local dealer will provide peace of mind for those traveling. Contact your vehicle dealership to see if they offer charging stations at their locations.
Popular along major routes, many gas station locations now offer electric vehicle charging stations.
A quick Google search will show you what gas stations offer this service, so you can easily plan your route. Most of the gas station charging stations come at a charge, so keep that in mind when planning.
Hotels and Shopping Centers
The demand for electric vehicles within cities is more prominent, and so is the demand for charging station locations. For this reason, you will find that most city-centered hotels and shopping centers offer charging stations.
The cost of the charge will vary, but finding these locations is incredibly easy.
Places of Work
With many green initiatives in place for larger businesses, you will find more EV charging stations right in business parking lots.
For the daily commuter looking to venture out after work, having the ability to charge for a few hours while working is a great incentive. The best part? Most of these companies offer these charging stations as a perk, and there is no cost to their employees to use them.
Inquire About EV Charging Stations
Do you live in a state that seems to lack charging station locations? Luckily, implementing more EV charging stations is a part of “going green” initiatives for most governmental bodies. Check out your state website and put in an inquiry or request to be a part of the change.
Using electricity instead of gas is the more cost-effective choice.
Charging an EV is both easy and convenient. Outside of the home, charging stations can be found at:
- Gas stations
- Places of work
Prospective owners will reap the benefits of choosing electricity over gas, for both the environment and the budget.
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