As the world becomes more conscious of the impact of carbon emissions on the environment, Electric Vehicles (or EVs) have become increasingly popular. Public administrators and policymakers all over the world have formulated policies aimed at accelerating the transition from fossil-fuel-reliant vehicles to more eco-friendly electric vehicles.
For most drivers, however, purchasing an EV is not just about the transition to cleaner energy but also about economics. It is more affordable to power an EV than an internal combustion engine (ICE). With the rising costs of fuel and the availability of government incentives, electric cars have become more economical and convenient than ever before.
But what is the actual cost of charging an electric vehicle? Well, the answer isn’t as clear-cut as one would expect.
What Determines the Cost of Charging an Electric Vehicle?
There is no simple one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how much charging an EV costs. A whole host of factors can affect the cost, like your vehicle’s model, type of charger, electricity rates in your state, energy provider, weather conditions and time of the day. Let’s take a brief look at each of these variables.
Electricity Rates and Providers
In the US, utilities tend to cost more in some states than others. According to data from the US Energy Information Administration, people in the state of Louisiana enjoy the lowest electricity rates (US$0.09 per kilowatt-hour). while those in Hawaii have the highest ($0.30 per kilowatt-hour). The national average is approximately $0.14. Note that each local energy provider independently determines its own rates which can also vary.
Irrespective of what you are charged per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity, keeping your electric vehicle in motion during the cold winter months will cost you more. This is according to a study by the AAA, which concludes that extremely cold weather has an inverse relationship with optimal battery performance, including limiting the battery’s ability to accept a charge.
The AAA study found that as the mercury drops to 20°F with the heater turned on, around 41% of the operating range of an average electric vehicle is lost. Turning the heat in the cabin on will further add to your costs compared with the cost of operating the EV at a temperature of 75°F. Hot weather also negatively impacts the range of an electric vehicle, especially if the air conditioner is working.
Time of Day
During the day, electricity rates tend to be higher than during nighttime because the demand for grid electricity is at its lowest at night (though this can vary by electricity provider). So if you want to save on charging costs, try to charge your electric vehicle more frequently at night. The cheapest time range to charge an electric vehicle is from 11pm to 7am.
VinFast’s app allows you to choose when you want to charge your EV. You can set your vehicle to charge automatically during off-peak times only, so you pay less for electricity.
Type of Charger
Level 1 chargers (AC:120V) are characterized by low power output, which makes them the slowest of all charger types in the market. It can take between eight and fifty hours to achieve a full charge with a level 1 charger, depending on the model.
In contrast, level 2 (AC:240V) charging will power up your drained battery in around four hours while level 3 DC fast charging ranks as the fastest and can take as few as thirty minutes to get a full charge.
There are several EV charging networks out there with varying business and pricing models. Here are three major networks:
- Electrify America. The Electrify America network charges members in California on its Basic Plan a per-minute fee of $0.99 for 350 kilowatts power capacity; $0.69 for 125 kilowatts, and $0.25 for 75 kilowatts, each with a session fee of $1.00. The Pass+ plan attracts slightly higher fees. VinFast’s Plug & Charge enabled VF 8 and VF 9 models will allow owners to utilize the feature on Electrify America’s network of ultra-fast charging stations across the U.S. Delivering a convenient and seamless charging experience, Plug & Charge is an innovative technology that allows drivers of capable vehicles to pay for a charging session by simply plugging in their EV once billing information is set up on the VinFast app.
- EVgo. EVgo’s more than 850 fast charging locations serve all fast-charge capable EVs on the market today, including VinFast eSUVs. In the Los Angeles area, EVgo charges non-members $0.27 per minute and members $0.23 per minute. Signing up for the EVgo network costs $7.99 per month, which includes thirty-four minutes of fast charging. Level 2 charging costs $1.50 per hour.
- Tesla. In the Tesla network, cost varies according to location and other variables. However, the average cost is $0.28 per kWh or $0.13 per minute under 60 kWh and $0.26 per minute over 60 kWh. Tesla offers free unlimited Supercharger access to purchasers of its Model S and Model X electric vehicles.
How to Calculate the Cost of Charging an Electric Vehicle
The efficiency of an electric car can be measured in kilowatt-hours per 100 miles. In order to calculate the cost per mile, the electricity cost (in USD/kWh) and the efficiency of the vehicle (the amount of electricity consumed per 100 miles) must be determined. For example, if electricity costs 10.7 cents per kWh and the electric car takes 27 kWh to cover 100 miles, then the cost per mile is around $0.03.
The Cost of Charging at Home
The cost of charging a home electric vehicle will depend on the factors mentioned above. Portable chargers are included with every VinFast eSUVs and offer maximum flexibility when charging at home or on the go. With its included adapters, you can plug into a standard 120V wall receptacle for slower charging (Level 1) or you can install a 240V oven/range receptacle for faster charging (Level 2). Level 1 charging may save on the cost of installing a dedicated charger but it can take several hours to achieve a full charge. Alternatively, you may choose to install a home charger, which offers the fastest charging speeds for your VinFast vehicle (up to 48A). Learn more about your options here.
Note—if your local energy provider bills according to demand at different times of the day, then nighttime charging can be cost-saving since demand is usually lesser much later at night.
The Cost of Charging in Public
The most common type of public charging is Level 2 charging. They can be found in large cities and college towns in public parking garages, retail parking lots and other locations likely to attract EVs..
While you’ll have to pay a fee for some Level 2 charging stations, some can be used free of charge. Payment can be on a pay-as-you-go basis via a credit card or through an account with a charging network.
Charging pricing varies according to state. While the pricing model in some states is based on kWh of electricity consumed, other states permit providers to bill users on a per-minute basis only.
While DC fast charging is the quickest form of charging, it is far less common than Level 2 charging.
There is no fixed fee for charging an EV. Rather, the cost depends on a number of variables such as the electricity rates in your state, energy provider, time of day, type of charger, charging network, model of the electric vehicle, and weather conditions. Using an electric vehicle not only ensures cleaner energy but is more economical than driving a fossil-fuel car.
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