Charging your electric vehicle. Cheapest ev charger

The best EV charging apps help you find the right station for any electric car

Charging an electric car can be confusing. Unlike gas cars, there are all kinds of things to take into account when finding a charging station — like how many chargers are at a station, how fast they can charge, and whether or not they offer the right charging connector for your car.

Thankfully, there are a number of dedicated EV charging apps out there, and the likes of Apple Maps and Google Maps have gotten better at helping users find charging stations near them. That’s not to mention all the network-specific apps and car-specific apps that manufacturers and charging companies have made.

The best app for your vehicle may vary, of course. Your car’s manufacturer might have an app that integrates well with your car’s built-in software. Or, you might have a favorite charging network, and as such prefer to stick to their chargers.

Here’s a rundown of the best EV charging apps and why they’re so great.


Perhaps one of the most useful tools in your EV charging app arsenal is ChargeHub. That’s because ChargeHub, like PlugShare below, isn’t affiliated with one particular EV charging network. Instead, it aggregates all charging networks, allowing you to search through all the different charging stations in your area, regardless of their network.

The app goes beyond simply showing you a big map of charging stations though. It also lets you filter stations based on things like plug type, charging speed, charging network, and more. That means that you can see only stations that support your car’s fastest charging speeds, for example.

The app also allows you to plan routes, meaning that you can figure out ahead of time where you’re going to stop to charge. That can come in handy for long road trips — though I did encounter some bugs when filtering stations specifically during the route planning. You can also add your own car, and the app will then automatically filter out stations that won’t work with your car model.

Generally, I found the design of the app to be pretty great too — and better than many of the other apps on this list. It’s modern and colorful, and relatively easy to navigate.

Download for: iOS | Android


PlugShare is similar to ChargeHub in that it’s not tied to a particular charging network, instead aggregating charging networks and allowing you to find the best station for your needs.

So what’s the difference between it and ChargeHub? Well, the interface isn’t quite as up-to-date and there are more ads, but I’ve also encountered fewer bugs than on ChargeHub. You’ll have to decide what’s better for your needs, but considering the fact that they’re both free, I recommend trying both for a while.

The rest of the basics of the apps are very similar. You can see all the charging stations near you, plan trips, and add your car model for more specific results. You can also check in to a station and add notes about things like whether or not the station is operating properly — something that all EV owners know can come in handy.

Download for: iOS | Android

Electrify America

Electrify America has one of the best charging networks in the country, especially if you want DC fast charging as often as possible. Thankfully, Electrify America has an app of its own.

Now, even if you use another app you may end up also using the Electrify America app. That’s because of the fact that the app is the best way to pay at Electrify America charging stations, and to monitor charging progress without needing to be right next to the station itself. An, you can use it to manage your Electrify Home charger, if you have one.

The Electrify America app doesn’t necessarily have the same features as some of the other apps on this list. Notably, the app doesn’t offer things like route planning, so you won’t necessarily use it to plan your trips. But, it does work with CarPlay and Android Auto, which means that you can search for and navigate to charging stations using your phone.

Download for: iOS | Android


ChargePoint is similar to the Electrify America app in that it’s an app built for use with a specific charging network. The home screen shows all nearby ChargePoint stations. Unlike some of the other apps, you’ll see how many chargers are being used without having to tap on each location, which is a nice touch. Like others, you can filter based on charging speed and availability. You can even show chargers from other networks, though it doesn’t seem as though the ChargePoint app supports all charging networks, so it’s not the most useful feature. ChargePoint has a partnership with some other networks, like EVGo, allowing you to see chargers from those networks in the ChargePoint app.

Generally, the ChargePoint app is useful for those who use the ChargePoint network a lot, but perhaps not as useful for others.

Download for: iOS | Android


Last but not least of the network-specific EV charging apps is EVgo, which offers many of the same features as other network-specific apps. From the EVgo app, you can see nearby charging stations, and like ChargePoint, you can see which stations have available chargers at a glance. Lke the others, you can add your car and filter based on plug type, charging speed, and more. EVgo and ChargePoint also have a partnership — so you can see ChargePoint and other stations in the EVGo app, allowing you to avoid having to bounce between different apps all the time.

One of the more interesting features of EVgo is the fact that it offers rewards points for those who use EVgo chargers, and you can use those points to charge your car for free.

Download for: iOS | Android

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Charging your electric vehicle

Tips and resources about charging electric vehicles (EVs) at home or on the road from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). Vehicle charging 101, public charging, charging at homes with or without garages and driveways, charging at an apartment, condo, or multiunit dwelling.

There are many options for charging electric vehicles today, from at home or at work to along the highway during a road trip. While it’s often convenient to charge at home, there are over 350 public charging plugs in Portland. and more on the way.

Electric vehicle charging 101

There are three main types of chargers that you will encounter: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 (also called DC Fast Charging):

  • Level 1 charging uses a standard 120V outlet that you are likely to find in your garage. This is the slowest type of charging and will add an average of 5 miles per hour of charge. Also called “trickle charging,” this type of charging is not offered commercially and is typically only used at home.
  • Level 2 charging requires a 240V outlet. These chargers can be installed in your home with a basic electrical upgrade and are very commonly used for public chargers. Level 2 chargers add 20 to 60 miles per hour of charge.
  • Level 3 chargers, or DC Fast Chargers, are only used in commercial settings. These chargers are most often found along highways since they provide 60 to 100 miles per 20 minutes of charge. For example, the West Coast Electric Highway project is working to install DC Fast Chargers every 25 to 50 miles from the British Columbia to the Mexico border.

If you’re able to charge at home, that is likely the easiest and most affordable option. If not, the City is working to expand public charging opportunities, with a FOCUS on providing more convenient, safe and affordable chargers near multi-unit dwellings and commercial centers. Many workplaces also offer EV chargers in company parking lots or garages, so don’t forget to check with your employer when considering your charging options.

Public charging in Portland

Portland has worked with private sector partners to provide convenient, accessible charging for drivers since 2011 when Electric Avenue opened in downtown Portland, one of the nation’s first fast charging pods in the public right-of-way. The City has continued working to expand opportunities to charge since then, most recently with a new policy that is being developed to permit the installation of EV chargers in the public right-of-way in areas across the city.

There are several maps you can use to find available public charging stations and sort by network, connector type, power supply, price, and other filters. A few that are useful to be familiar with include the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, Plugshare, and ChargePoint.

How to use public chargers

How to charge your electric vehicle:

Locate charger of the correct plug type and speed

Make sure you can access the network

Park in the appropriate spot next to the charger

Follow instructions to plug the charger into your vehicle

Start the charge and relax!

Keep an eye on your charging app so you can move your car once the charge is complete

There are many vendors that manage public charging stations. The requirements for use vary by vendor, and while you might not need to be a paid member to use a vendor’s station, you do often need to have their mobile app downloaded. Often, becoming a member and using the vendor’s mobile app to facilitate charging offers a slight discount when you use that station. You should prepare to join at least one network but if you intend to rely heavily on public charging, you may want to consider registering with multiple vendors. Many vendors are making agreements to allow their users to “roam” freely by charging for no additional cost at another vendor’s station, so check your network’s roaming partners before registering elsewhere. Additionally, if you are planning a road trip, you might want to consider joining a network that focuses heavily on fast chargers along highway systems in the area where you will be traveling. The membership details for the most common EV charging vendors in Portland are below. The City of Portland does not endorse any of the vendors on this list. This list is solely for informational purposes, not for promotion: Chargepoint, Blink, Sema Charge, Tesla, Volta, OP Connect, EV Connect, Electrify America, Greenlots, and EVgo.

Home charging with a garage or driveway

The most common place to charge an EV is at home, and it’s often the least expensive.

If you live in a home with a garage or driveway you can charge your EV using a standard wall outlet, also known as Level 1 charging. This is a good option if you typically charge your EV overnight. You can also install a Level 2 charger for your personal use, which will charge your EV in a few hours. Level 2 chargers use 240 volts of electricity, which is similar to a standard electric dryer or oven and sometimes requires a simple electrical upgrade to your home. Before going forward with the electrical upgrade required for a Level 2 charger, you must apply for an electrical permit from the Bureau of Development Services.

Don’t forget to check for incentives or rebates – as of January 2023, Portland General Electric and Pacific Power customers are eligible for a rebate of up to 1,000 for installing an EV charger in their home. Additionally, the Inflation Reduction Act extended the federal tax credit on charging equipment through 2032, which covers up to 30% of sales price up to 1,000.

Home charging without a garage or driveway

To support residents who want to transition to an EV but do not have a garage or driveway, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has amended the Encroachment Manual to allow residents to run a Level 1 (110 volt) charging cord from their house and across the sidewalk to charge their EV at the curb, provided that their residence meets the specifications listed below in the cord cover allowance section.

Individual residents and businesses are prohibited from installing EV chargers in the public right-of-way. Given a variety of concerns. including health, life, and safety issues, liability concerns, state utility requirements, and more. this means Portlanders are prohibited from installing a Level 2 or DC fast charger curbside in front of their home or business. There are no exceptions to this and no process for appeals. Additionally, no public parking spaces are allowed to be reserved by private citizens for the purpose of EV charging, including for the cord cover allowance.

PBOT is currently developing policy to support public EV charging in commercial areas across Portland by permitted EV charging companies and local utilities, which would better support residents who are unable to charge at home. While that policy is being developed, PBOT is not issuing permits to install EV chargers in the public right-of-way.

Both public charging and workplace charging are valuable options for residents without garages or driveways at home. You can view all public charging stations in the area on this map and contact your workplace to see if there is charging availability there.

Cord cover allowance

In response to the many residents who have inquired about charging their electric vehicle curbside in front of their home, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has amended the Encroachment Manual to allow curbside charging with a cord cover in specific circumstances. Both renters and property owners are now allowed to run a Level 1 charging cord from their house and across the sidewalk area adjacent to their residence to charge their electric vehicle at the curb, provided that they use an ADA compliant cord cover. Parking spaces in front of residences may not be reserved for charging, and use of signage or other means to reserve the parking space in front of property is strictly prohibited and may be subject to penalties and fines pursuant to PBOT’s administrative rules. Cord covers must be used if there is a sidewalk or other hardscape walkable surface, such as concrete, pavement, or stone pavers, present in the area between your property line and the curb. Curbside charging with a cord cover is allowed by right if residents meet all the requirements below, meaning that no permit is required. Full details of the policy can be found in the Encroachment Manual.

Home charging in an apartment, condo, or other multiunit dwelling

If you live in an apartment building or other multiunit dwelling, the City of Portland is working to make EV charging accessible for you, too.

Building managers, owners, and homeowner’s associations can add EV charging to existing parking at multi-unit dwellings. If you’re not sure where to start, local nonprofit Forth Mobility helped assemble a roadmap to help guide the retrofit process of adding EV chargers in multi-unit dwellings.

The City is always looking ahead to find new ways to make transportation electrification easier, especially for Portlanders who cannot charge at home. One way this is happening is through the EV Ready Code Project, led by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. This project, currently under development, is crafting policy to ensure that new multi-unit dwelling and mixed-use developments with more than five units that include onsite parking will be built “EV Ready.” This means that electrical conduit will be installed in the parking area during construction to make the eventual installation of EV chargers cheaper and faster.

Charging your e-bike

E-bikes are becoming increasingly common on Portland’s streets and are a great electric mobility option that support the City’s climate and mode shift goals.

New models of e-bikes continue to enter the market, and their battery capacity ranges from 20 miles to 120 miles on a single charge. E-bikes can charge using a normal 120-volt outlet, so most people are able to charge their e-bike at home. However, recognizing that not all Portlanders can charge their e-bikes at home, PBOT included a requirement that 5% of bike parking must be near an outlet in a 2019 bike parking code update project.

There are also public charging opportunities for e-bikes across the state. The Oregon Department of Transportation upgraded all forty-seven charging stations along the West Coast Electric Highway in fall/winter 2022 to include a 120-volt outlet to provide free e-bike charging. The West Coast Electric Highway includes Interstate 5, Highway 101, and other major driving routes in Oregon and charging stations are available every 25 to 50 miles along the network.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: I live in an apartment building and want to buy an EV. What are my options for charging?

Answer: Some apartment buildings that have onsite parking, either in a parking lot or a garage, have installed EV chargers for their tenants. Reach out to your property manager or landlord to see what options are available in your situation.

If you’re unable to charge at home, there are still many opportunities to charge at public stations in Portland. Think about the places you drive regularly and look up public charging stations on this map from Plugshare. Many grocery stores, like Fred Meyer and New Seasons, have fast charging stations in their parking lot which will allow you to charge up while doing your weekly grocery shopping.

Finally, you can reach out to your employer and see if there are existing EV chargers are your workplace or, if not, you can advocate for their installation.

Question: I live in a single-family home without a garage or driveway. How do I charge my EV?

Answer: The Portland Bureau of Transportation recently updated a policy to allow for charging curbside in front of your house if you meet certain conditions. The cord cover allowance in the Encroachment Manual allows for individuals that live in a single-family residential zone and on a local service traffic street with a running grade of 10% or less to run a Level 1 (110 – 120 volt) extension cord from their property across the sidewalk to their car parked at the curb, provided that an ADA compliant cord cover is used.

You can find out if you live in a single-family residential zone using this map.

You can find examples of ADA compliant cord covers under the section titled “Home Charging Without a Garage or Driveway” on this webpage.

Please note that this allowance only allows Level 1 charging cords, not Level 2 or higher charging cords, to be run across the sidewalk. It also does not allow for residents to reserve parking spaces specifically for their personal charging use. If you would like to consult the full rule, the full text of cord cover allowance can be found in Section C.22 of the Encroachment Manual.

Question: Can the Cord Cover allowance include L2 cords, not just L1?

Answer: Given a variety of concerns – including health, life, and safety issues, liability concerns and more – Portlanders are prohibited from using a Level 2 (220 – 240 volt) or higher voltage cord to charge curbside under the cord cover allowance. Only Level 1 cords (110 – 120 volt) extension cords can be used at this time.

Question: Can I install a 220 – 240-volt outlet with outdoor rated conduit underneath the sidewalk and into the furnishing zone to charge my vehicle curbside in front of my home?

Answer: At this time, the installation of an outlet in the public right-of-way by an individual resident is prohibited. There are several factors that contributed to this decision, including health, life, and safety issues, liability concerns, and state utility location requirements, among others. Additionally, private citizens are prohibited from installing infrastructure for their private use in the public right-of-way, which would essentially privatize a public space. This private asset in a public space also raises several difficult policy questions, including who is responsible for the asset if the owner relocates.

Question: Can I install a L2/DC fast pedestal charger curbside in front of my residence for personal use?

Answer: At this time, only utilities and charging companies that meet City requirements will be allowed to install EV chargers in the public right-of-way, not businesses, private groups, or individual residents. There are several factors that contributed to this decision, including health, life, and safety issues, liability concerns; and, state utility location requirements, among others. Additionally, private citizens are generally prohibited from installing infrastructure for their private use in the public right-of-way, which could essentially privatize a public space. Having private assets in a public space also raises several difficult policy questions, including who is responsible for the asset if the owner relocates.

Another concern is that the infrastructural requirements of siting charging stations and the multidisciplinary coordination necessary to connect to the grid and install the asset in a public space are complex and costly and present substantial barriers. While navigating this space and financing the process might be attainable for some individuals, groups, or businesses, it is not attainable for all and could exclude many Portlanders.

Question: Can I install a Level 2 or DC fast pedestal charger curbside in front of my residence or business if I allow it to be used by the public?

Answer: At this time, that is not permitted. In addition to the concerns listed in the above answer, the challenges presented by privately-owned, publicly available infrastructure in public spaces are numerous and difficult to reconcile. Many difficult policy questions are raised by a privately-owned, publicly available asset in public space: who is responsible for maintaining the charger in a state of good repair; should the City cite the owner if a charger remains out-of-service for an unreasonable amount of time; who is responsible for the asset if the owner relocates; and, who sets and collects the parking meter and charging rate. While these questions may have conceivable answers, considering the other barriers to participation in the program, PBOT has decided that limiting the permit to the charging station vendors who are best equipped to navigate and finance this process creates a practical regulatory environment to effectively manage the program.

EV Charging Station Cost

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The cost of an EV charging station can vary significantly based on the requirements and current electrical infrastructure, but averages ~1,000 all-in for a Level 2 home charger. This guide details the cost of EV chargers for home and also discusses the cost of Level 2 chargers for business and Level 3 (DC-fast charging) stations.

Many consumers tell us that it can be difficult to find electricians with specific EV charger experience. It may be worth checking out Amazon Home Services EV Charger Installation (the reviews have been excellent so far).

    Electric Car Charging Stations Cost Level 2 Charging Station Cost EV Charging Station For Business Cost Level 3 Charging Station Cost Detailed EV Charger Cost Breakdown

Electric Car Charging Stations Cost

The cost of an EV charging station can vary depending on the owner’s preferences and there are two main options for individual EV owners:

  • Use a Level 1 Charger (Free) – All EV models come with a basic chord that will plug into a 120V outlet, which is the standard outlet for homes in the U.S. Assuming you already have a 120V outlet in your garage, this option is essentially free. This set-up will only allow for charging rates of 3-5 miles per hour, so if you have a moderate commute, a faster charge is required.
  • Purchase a Level 2 Charger (~1,000) – Most EV owners elect to purchase a Level 2 EVSE, which stands for Electric Vehicle Service Equipment, for use in their home. The Level 2 chargers require a 240V outlet ( NEMA 6 which many clothes dryers use). The cost of a Level 2 charging station is typically around 1,000 all-in, which includes the equipment and installation cost. There are a range of Level 2 models ( read our detailed EV charger model review) and costs, which we discuss below.

If you are interested in electric car charging stations for your business or retail location, please refer to the section on Level 2 charging stations for business or read our detailed review of these products. There is also the option for businesses to purchase DC fast charging stations (also called Level 3), but the cost of a Level 3 EV charger is significantly more and is typically purchased through one of the EV charging network providers.

Level 2 Charging Station Cost

The chart below includes the of the most popular EV chargers available as of December 2017.

ModelSnapshotSpecial FeaturesDimensionsPrice
JuiceBox Pro 40-Amp Smallest in class and great for California drivers Wi-Fi enabled with app and connection to rewards program 10 x 6 x 3 inches Check Current Price on Amazon
Siemens VC30GRYU Versicharge 30-Amp (Editor’s Pick) Best value and high quality ratings Siemens quality (UL labs), Wi-Fi options 20.5 x 18 x 15 inches Check Current Price on Amazon
ChargePoint 32-Amp Sleek and lightweight App connects to Chargepoint network, Wi-Fi enabled 18.5 x 15 x 7 inches Check Current Price on Amazon
ClipperCreek HCS-40P Sturdy U.S.-made model Best-in class 3 year warranty NA Check Current Price on Amazon

The installation cost data is from a study by the Rocky Mountain Institute, a leading cleantech institute, which broke the installation cost down into electrician labor, materials, permitting and mobilization (traveling to the installation location). The study was completed in 2014, so please note that we have adjusted the EV charger equipment cost in our estimate as have come down.

EV Charging Station For Business Cost

According to RMI, the installation for Level 2 chargers for businesses is the largest component of the cost and can be between 4,000 and 7,000. If the charger is located in a public parking garage the installation cost will be less than a curbside installation as the charger can be wall mounted and wiring is easier. A curbside charger is typically free-standing and trenching or directional boring for wiring increases the installation cost.

Level 3 Charging Station Cost

A Level 3 or DC fast charging station are typically installed through one of the EV charging station networks and can cost more than 50,000 to install. The main contributors to the increased cost are both the equipment and installation. The installation can require a 480V transformer and the electrician labor hours can be greater than 40 hours.

Detailed EV Charger Cost Breakdown

The chart below details the costs for Level 2 home chargers, Level 2 chargers for business and Level 3 chargers.

charging, your, electric, vehicle, charger

As noted by RMI, installation rates for home EV chargers can fluctuate based on the electrician labor time at 50-80 an hour depending on the location. A new breaker can also increase the price by 500-1,000.

Commercial installations have a wider variance based on the current electrical infrastructure and the extent of trenching/boring required.

How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

Kurt Woock started writing for NerdWallet in 2021. Prior to joining NerdWallet, Kurt was a writer and educator for Colorado PERA, a retirement system for public employees. Before that he was a legislative editor for the Colorado General Assembly. Kurt has a B.A. in music from Valparaiso University and an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He lives in Detroit.

Chris Hutchison helped build NerdWallet’s content operation and has worked across banking, investing and taxes. He now leads a team exploring new markets. Before joining NerdWallet, he was an editor and programmer at ESPN and a copy editor at the San Jose Mercury News.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here’s how we make money.

The cost to charge an electric vehicle varies by quite a bit. How much? Adding 100 miles of range to an EV can cost between 2.50 and 35.

That wide range is due to factors including:

What you drive. Just like gas cars, some EVs are more efficient than others, which means they’ll need more or less power to travel the same distance.

What company you charge with. Public charging stations have different pricing structures. Some offer lower for a monthly fee.

When you charge. Energy fluctuate. Those estimates of 2.50 to 35 use state-level averages from November 2022. And if your utility company uses dynamic pricing, your rates are determined by the time of day you charge.

How to think about charging costs after a lifetime of using gas

If you drive a gas-powered car, you’re familiar with how many miles per gallon a car gets and the cost of a gallon of gas. The concepts behind EVs are similar, but the terms are different.

Size of the battery = size of the gas tank

The power stored in a battery is measured in kilowatt-hours, or kWh. The power needed to travel a given distance varies by vehicle, similar to how the gas mileage for a small hatchback is usually better than in a heavy pickup truck.

The total charge stored in a vehicle’s battery depends on the car. The Tesla Model S battery has a capacity of 95 kWh, while the Nissan Leaf’s is a much smaller 39 kWh. Going from empty to 100% will cost more on a higher-capacity battery, but you’ll also fill up less frequently.

Energy efficiency and energy costs

The measurement that really matters to your wallet is an electric vehicle‘s efficiency, not its battery capacity or its maximum range. Comparing how much different vehicles cost to travel the same distance is a better indication of expected fueling costs than the size of a tank or the cost to charge any one battery to full.

A Tesla Model 3 traveling 100 miles will use 25kWh, and a larger Rivian will require about 50 kWh. A small SUV with a gas engine, like a Ford Escape or Toyota RAV4, will use roughly 3.7 gallons of gas to travel those 100 miles, while a gas-engine pickup truck like a Ford F150 or Toyota Tundra uses about 5 gallons of gas to do so.

Here’s what adding 100 miles of range to each vehicle type looks like in dollars: About 4 for the small EV and 8 for a larger EV (each using a home charger), 12 for a small SUV and 17 for a truck.

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MPG and MPGe

Comparing kWh with miles per gallon can seem clunky. One alternative is to look at an electric vehicle‘s MPGe, or miles per gallon equivalent.

MPGe, which is tracked by the Environmental Protection Agency, represents electricity consumption as if it were gas. According to the formula, using 33.7 kWh of power is equivalent to using 1 gallon of gas. So, as an example, an electric vehicle that travels 100 miles on 33.7 kWh would have a 100 MPGe rating.

The rating isn’t perfect — in reality, different EVs use electricity at different levels of efficiency — but the estimate is still useful, allowing a person to compare an EV’s MPGe directly with a gas-powered car’s MPG. This makes shopping for EVs alongside gas vehicles and hybrids more intuitive.

Ratings in the 70s, 80s and 90s are typical. The 10 most efficient EVs, according to the agency, all had an average MPGe of at least 115, and the top spot has a rating of 140.

Examples of various charging scenarios

Comparing the cost of adding about 100 miles — regardless of the battery’s total storage capacity, or even its fuel source — allows you to evaluate the cost of different scenarios.

To a gas-powered small SUV

To a gas-powered pickup truck

Charging at home

If you’re charging at home, the cost to charge an EV depends on your electricity rates.

Rates vary based on where you live. For example, people in Utah and Washington paid less than 12 cents per kWh in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, while those in Rhode Island and Alaska paid twice that. Even within one area, fluctuate throughout the year.

If you’re one of the more than 10 million households that use dynamic charging — which means you pay less or more for electricity during certain hours of the day — the price you pay depends on when you charge. Keep your bill lower by charging only during off-peak times. Many home chargers let you create rules about when your EV charges, much like you program a Smart thermostat.

At-home charging might require upfront hardware costs

Charging at home can be as simple as plugging a car into a standard wall outlet. This method, called Level 1 charging, transfers charge slowly — about five miles of range per hour of charging, according to the U.S. Energy Department— but it works without installing extra equipment.

Adding a Level 2 charger to your home allows you to add about 25 miles of range per hour. Equipment and installation can vary depending on location — from 2,000 to 7,000 according to the Energy Department — although local incentives can bring that figure down.

These costs don’t show up on your electric bill when you charge. But if you’re thinking about buying an electric vehicle for the first time and plan to charge at home, don’t let this expense surprise you.

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Charging stations

EV owners in the U.S. can charge their cars at home or at one of more than 130,000 ports on about 50,000 public charging stations across the country. Some people might have access to additional, semi-public charging stations, such as at their workplace.

Some public charging stations are free to use — a business might install a charger and offer free charges to customers, for example — but paying to charge an EV is the norm.

Expect to be more expensive than home charging, especially if you’re using DC fast charging, but still cheaper than using gas in most circumstances. You can add hundreds of miles of range in 15 or 20 minutes in some cases — helpful if you’re in a hurry or on a road trip. But this is where you see that can be three times what you’re paying in your garage. Like charging at home, rates might vary depending on what time of day you charge.

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