Electric vehicles (EVs) have become increasingly popular in recent years, with a growing number of models hitting the market and more charging stations being installed across the country. This trend has been fueled in part by the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides tax credits of up to $7,500 for the purchase of an EV. If you’re thinking of making the switch to an electric vehicle, there are a few things you should know about the charging process and the costs involved.
First, it’s important to understand the different types of EVs available. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) run solely on electricity and are recharged from external power sources.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) have a battery-powered electric motor that can be recharged from an external power source, but also have a smaller internal combustion engine that can recharge the battery in certain driving conditions.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) run on a combination of an internal combustion engine and a battery pack that cannot be charged from an external source.
Finally, Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) convert hydrogen into electricity to power an electric motor, but are not recharged from an external source.
Charging speed depends on the battery size, the type of EV, and how close the battery is to empty. There are three charging speeds: Level 1, Level 2, and Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC).
Level 1 is typically seen in residential 120-volt outlets, while Level 2 is commonly used for home, workplace, or public charging. DCFC is the fastest charging speed and is normally seen at stations along highway corridors. A DCFC charger can charge an EV battery up to 80% in 20 minutes to an hour, but slows down as the battery gets closer to full to prevent damage.
Level 1 equipment can fully charge BEVs from empty in about 40-50 hours and PHEVs in about 5-6 hours. Level 2 equipment takes about 4-10 hours to fully charge BEVs and 1-2 hours to fully charge PHEVs from empty.
The cost of charging an EV varies depending on the fuel efficiency, which is measured in kilowatt-hours per 100 miles. For example, charging a 200-mile range 54-kWh battery with electricity costing 10.7 cents per kWh 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. In California, public charging costs about 30 cents per kWh for Level 2 and 40 cents per kWh for DCFC. For a Nissan LEAF with a 150-mile range and 40-kWh battery, the cost to fully charge is $12 with Level 2 charging and $16 with DCFC charging.
While the cost of charging an EV is generally lower than the cost of fueling a gas-powered vehicle, there are other factors to consider when deciding whether to switch to an EV. The cost of the vehicle itself is often higher, although tax credits can help offset this.
EVs also have a limited range and require more planning for longer trips. However, with the growing number of charging stations available and the increasing popularity of EVs, these challenges are becoming less of an issue.
In conclusion, electric vehicles are becoming a more and more attractive option for environmentally conscious drivers, especially with the incentives provided by the Inflation Reduction Act.
When considering the switch to an EV, it’s important to understand the charging process and the costs involved, as well as the limitations of the vehicle itself. As charging infrastructure continues to improve and battery technology advances, the advantages