One million battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have been sold so far in the United States. Experts predict EVs will comprise 9% of all car sales by the end of 2023. Without a doubt, 2023 has been one of the best years for BEV adoption.
However, these big figures do not entirely foretell continuous rapid adoption in the coming months and years.
Pricing remains the most significant deterrent to the EV revolution that market analysts have been projecting for years, and charging constraints come a close second. And skepticism about the dependability of public charging stations leaves EV owners with only another viable option: charging at home.
If you have a BEV charging setup in your driveway or are considering one, you must account for your household’s increased electricity consumption. How much more would you have to pay if you charge your electric vehicle regularly? Let’s find out.
Charging An Electric Vehicle: How Much Electricity Does It Consume?
Let’s consider the national averages for simplicity.
A standard BEV consumes 0.32kWh of electricity for every mile it travels. The latest average cost of electricity (as of September 2023) is 16.29 cents per kWh. So, you can expect to pay roughly 5 to 6 cents for each mile.
If your monthly travel matches the national average of 1200 miles, you will add around $60 to $72 to your utility bill each month.
Given energy shortage and unpredictable rate increases all over the country, that much of an increase in your utility bill may make you apprehensive. But consider how much you pay for gas: at 15 cents per mile, traveling the same distance costs $180 in terms of fuel.
This makes BEVs nearly three times cheaper than a traditional fuel car.
Of course, your BEV expenses will vary depending on many elements.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Charging an Electric Vehicle at Home
Installing a residential charging setup for your electric vehicle requires a lot of research, number-crunching, and practical considerations. Of course, budget is a critical element that will determine if the choice is viable.
Here’s how different factors can affect your overall EV charging expenditures:
Simply plugging your electric vehicle into a power source and waiting for it to charge is the simplest, albeit the most inefficient method. Level 1 chargers (120V) provided by manufacturers can take more than 50 hours to get your car battery up to 80%.
Without a dedicated setup, you cannot expect to add more than four miles to your car’s capacity per hour of charging. And the longer it takes to charge fully, the more you pay. You may very well exceed the $60 to $72 monthly average increase in your electric bills.
Plus, there’s no guarantee that charging your vehicle will not overload your home’s circuit. It’s slow, dangerous, and not a viable solution for daily use.
Installing an EV charging station will cost around $1,000 to $2,500 and should yield better returns in the long term. Go for a Level 2 (208V to 240V) charger for your residential setup—it costs up to $5 per hour of charging. You can expect a 100% car battery in 10 to 12 hours.
Level 3 (480 V) chargers are the most effort-efficient but cost $10 to $30 per hour of charging. These are often found in public charging stations.
Tesla makes Level 3 Superchargers worth considering for your home.
The statewide cost of electricity varies greatly. For example, in Hawaii where electricity costs 41.74 cents per kWh, you will pay significantly more than $60 to charge your vehicle each month.
There are also rate increases specific to utility providers in certain states. PG&E rates in California increased by 38% from 2021 to 2023.
So, where you live directly affects how much money you will spend on charging an EV at home.
Time of the Day
For grid-tied users on Time-of-Use rate plans, when you charge your electric car also matters. Electricity costs are highest during peak hours, which vary by season, supply, and demand.
If you’re charging your electric car on a summer weekday between 1 PM and 7 PM, you’re likely to spend more than doing so at night.
Charge your electric car during non-peak hours to keep utility bills under control. Evenings or late nights are ideal—electricity consumption is at its lowest, and you have a lot of time before you need to use the car.
Multiple automobile manufacturers have launched electric vehicles, and their make, capacity, and performance vary widely.
A Tesla Y—one of the top-selling EVs in the country—consumes 0.16kWh of electricity per kilometer. Going by the earlier calculations, charging one at home may increase your electricity bill by a small margin. But a Hyundai Ioniq5 that consumes 0.18kWh of electricity per kilometer will be a bit more expensive to charge.
Also, consider one-time miscellaneous expenses that will not contribute to your regular electricity consumption, but you will still have to spend on them. Upgrading your meter box and revamping your parking spaces will contribute significantly to the cost of charging your vehicle at home.
So yes, your electricity bill will increase if you plan to charge your EV at home. But it’s still a fantastic deal compared to what you will spend on purchasing gas for your traditional car.
How to Manage Your Electricity Consumption When Charging Your Electric Vehicle
You can also go that extra mile to ensure you’re not paying too much to charge your electric vehicle at home.
Here’s what you can do to achieve that:
Supplement Your Electric Vehicle Charger with Solar
Anyone keen on an electric vehicle and its sustainable features likely also has a solar array at home. You can charge your EV with the surplus if you have a solar plus storage unit for residential use. In doing so, you offset your electricity usage by dividing the load between your electricity grid and solar charger.
Sure, it can take six to eight hours to fully charge your electric car with solar. Despite this, solar charging is far more carbon-neutral and effort-efficient compared to Level 1 chargers.
Plan Your Routes
Optimization is the key to reducing consumption and leading a more mindful lifestyle. If you use your EV to drive to work, pick up your kids from school, run errands, or go on trips, always plan your route.
Efficient route planning prevents unnecessary delays, minimizes wasted resources, and generally results in a more fulfilling journey. And when you optimize your expected miles every day, you have better control over how much charging your electric car needs.
Practice Eco-driving Techniques
Driving at a steady speed conserves the charge in electric vehicles. Keep your windows closed to avoid added drag. Minimize instances of sudden acceleration or deceleration to prevent draining your battery.
To sum it up, charging your electric car at home is the most affordable and efficient choice, even if it will add to your current electricity bill. Instead of depending on public charging stations or paying a truckload for gasoline, switch to electric cars. It’s your safest and greenest bet for personal travel.