If you feel like electric vehicle ads have been dominating the scene, you’re not alone. In the Super Bowl alone, we saw productions like General Motors’ star-studded “Why not an EV?”, Ram’s electric pickup truck reveal and Jeep’s “Electric Boogie.”
These commercials mirror a growing national trend as the Inflation Reduction Act incentivizes the purchasing and manufacturing of electric vehicles. As of Jan. 1, many Americans qualify for a tax credit of up to $7,500 for buying an electric vehicle.
Are you looking to go electric? Here’s what to know about the charging process.
How long does it take to charge an electric car?
Charging speed depends on battery size, electric vehicle type and how close the battery is to empty.
First, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the types of electric vehicles:
- Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs): Vehicles that run solely on electricity and are propelled by battery-powered electric motors. They are recharged from external power sources.
- Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs): Battery-powered vehicles that can be recharged from an external power source but also have a smaller internal combustion engine that can recharge the battery. They drive moderate distances only using the battery but can run on gasoline in certain driving conditions or if electricity is not available.
- Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs): Vehicles that run on a combination of an internal combustion engine and a battery pack that cannot be charged from an external source.
- Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs): Vehicles that convert hydrogen into electricity to power an electric motor. They are not recharged from an external source, instead using a compressed hydrogen gas stored in a tank on the vehicle.
BEVs and PHEVs are the two types of electric vehicles that can be charged from an external source either in your home, workplace or a public charging station.
There are three charging speeds for electric vehicles:
- Level 1: Typically seen in residential 120-volt outlets
- Level 2: Commonly used for home, workplace or public charging
- Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC): The fastest charging speed, normally seen at stations along highway corridors
DCFC can charge an electric vehicle battery up to 80% in 20 minutes to an hour. DCFC chargers slow as the battery gets closer to full to prevent damage, so it’s recommended that drivers continue their trip once the battery hits 80%.
Level 1 equipment can fully charge BEVs from empty in about 40-50 hours, and PHEVs in about 5-6 hours.
It takes about 4-10 hours for BEVs to fully charge from empty with Level 2 equipment, and 1-2 hours for PHEVs.
How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
An electric vehicle’s fuel efficiency can be measured in kilowatt-hours per 100 miles.
For example, if electricity costs 10.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, charging a 200-mile range 54-kWh battery would cost about $6. Charging a vehicle that consumes 27 kWh to travel 100 miles would cost three cents a mile.
The national average cost of electricity is 10 cents per kWh and 11.7 cents per kWh for residential use. Idaho National Laboratory’s Advanced Vehicle Testing compares the energy cost per mile for electric-powered and gasoline-fueled vehicles.
For example, at 10 cents per kWh, an electric vehicle with an efficiency of 3 miles per kWh would cost about 3.3 cents per mile. The gasoline equivalent cost for this electricity cost would be just under $2.60 per gallon.
Prices vary by location as well. Public charging in California costs about 30 cents per kWh for Level 2 and 40 cents per kWh for DCFC. Here’s an example of the cost breakdown using a Nissan LEAF with a 150-mile range and 40-kWh battery:
- Level 2, empty to full charge: $12
- DCFC, empty to full charge: $16
Many cars also offer complimentary charging for the first few years of ownership or provide credits to use for free charging.
Just curious?:We’re here to help answer life’s everyday questions
You can check the full estimated cost using the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Cost Calculator.
Extracted in full from: Electric car charging: Your guide to speed, cost and types of chargers (usatoday.com)