How Much Do EV Charging Stations Cost?
There are 41,000 electric charging stations in the U.S. According to Grist, President Biden’s American Jobs Plan calls to construct 500,000 more. Like the drivers of gasoline-powered cars, the 1.4 million drivers of electric vehicles in the U.S. also have to “fill up.”
An electric vehicle (EV) charging station’s cost involves more than just installing a pump. To maximize value and minimize expense, a business must consider networking its station to qualify for many utility incentives. over, a so-called “Smart station” generates operational data to help manage power consumption and ultimately save money.
Cost of a Commercial EV Charging Station
Average EV charging station installation cost for a level two station is around 6,000 per port, according to Future Energy’s data. But several factors affect commercial EV charging station costs: infrastructure, equipment, soft costs, subsidies, and software.
Factor #1: Infrastructure
A charging station supplies electricity to vehicles through its connection to the utility company. But these electrical conduits may require an upgrade, which can cost an average of 12,000 to 15,000, according to Future Energy.
Infrastructure is the primary variable in electric car charging station costs. For instance, connecting to an existing 240-volt circuit may require only a few hours of an electrician’s labor. But installing a dedicated 480-volt circuit could cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Why the discrepancy? An electrical upgrade carries associated expenses, including electrical panels, meters to monitor electricity use, or even an additional transformer. An upgrade may also involve boring, trenching, and cement work for power lines.
Because there is rarely a cookie-cutter solution, many businesses work with an approved, experienced partner like Future Energy, as a go-between with the utility company and various contractors.
Factor #2: Equipment
Unlike infrastructure costs, equipment charges are relatively static and depend on the level of charger.
Level one, or residential chargers, cost about 600 for a dedicated 120-volt circuit. However, a home charger is not adequate for commercial enterprises, which need level-two or level-three chargers to handle the load.
The highest specification for a commercial EV charging station is level three, or direct current fast charge (DCFC). Level three stations can charge a vehicle in an hour with 480-volt direct current. Level three stations cost around 40,000 for a single port.
Most commercial enterprises look to install level two charging stations, which run on 240-volt power and provide a compromise between power and cost. A level two electric vehicle charging station costs around 2,500 for a non public facing and 5,500 for a public facing dual-port station—it can charge two cars simultaneously in eight to 10 hours.
Factor #3: Soft Costs
Companies can add value by working with an experienced partner such as Future Energy in designing custom environments and packaging cost of commercial EV charging station extras.
For instance, a customer can choose custom striping of parking spots and signage to go with the charging environment, which can cost around 1,500 but will help elevate a company’s branding.
Also, a business may desire protective bollards—short, sturdy posts that protect the machinery—which cost around 400 each. Or a station may require parking blocks for around 600 apiece.
Future Energy works with a business’s marketing team to facilitate communication with printers, painters, and other contractors to customize EV charging packages for a company’s branding.
Factor #4: Software
To qualify for certain financial incentives, the owner of an EV charging station must install software that networks with the utility company. The utility company collects and analyzes data from networked charging stations to improve the overall system and learn about EV charging demand. Generally, the cost to host this information in the Cloud is around 28 per month for each port.
Cost of Power Management
Beyond qualifying for incentives, businesses who use data wisely can save money in the long term. How? By monitoring peak load, the highest amount of electricity used in a set period, companies can monitor the rate on their electric bills.
Integrating Data Management
Future Energy’s Smart solutions emphasize proactive management of electricity usage through a cutting-edge software platform known as Interface. Interface integrates EV charging stations with existing operational data, communicating with the utility company and managing peak load demand.
Interface helps monitor building management, lighting, digital thermostats, security cameras, and other systems. Thus a company will not inadvertently raise its rate by exceeding peak demand, potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars. Interface works passively in the background, sending real-time alerts.
Finding Incentives to Offset Costs
The sustainability movement has produced incentives and rebates at the local, state, and federal levels that help offset electric charging station costs.
For example, businesses can deduct up to 30% from their federal income tax for commercial EV charging station costs. Furthermore, a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency provides funds through the Electrify America plan, which distributes money from the 2 billion Volkswagen emissions settlement.
In addition, individual states provide incentives. A company can take a deduction on its state income tax and apply for various credits or grants.
Also, local organizations and governments offer monetary incentives. For example, the Joint Utility Commission of New York offers a program called Make-Ready that covers up to 100% of the cost of electrical infrastructure.
Partnership with Future Energy
Working with an approved partner such as Future Energy helps companies navigate the complex landscape of tax write-offs, rebates, and incentives to save money. In fact, Future Energy’s data indicates that commercial enterprises that plan wisely can stack incentives to cover up to 80% of their EV charging stations cost.
How much do EV charging stations cost? Future Energy recognizes an EV charging station as more than just a piece of hardware. Contact Future Energy to help steward your company from planning to managing a Smart EV charging station, saving costs along the way.
Sam DiNello is Chief Executive Officer at Future Energy. He is an expert in the EV infrastructure space and passionate about innovative data-driven solutions that help companies access real-time intelligence for real-time action.
Curbside Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging
Example of Level 2 EV charger installed on a utility pole
Seattle City Light is installing and operating public Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) chargers at curbside locations throughout the city of Seattle. City Light is offering this service to provide near-home EV charging for residents who cannot access off-street parking to charge their vehicles.
What will this service provide?
This service will provide public Level 2 EV charging next to the curb in residential neighborhoods in Seattle. Seattle City Light will install, own, operate, and maintain the EV chargers. Because these chargers are public, anyone who drives an EV will be able to park on the street next to the charger and charge their vehicle. The chargers will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved.
The Level 2 EV chargers installed under this program will provide up to 9.6 kilowatts (kW). The infrastructure can provide a typical EV with over 30 miles of range per hour of charge time. Level 2 EV chargers are frequently used for multiple hours at a time, such as when a car is parked overnight at home or while the driver is at work.
How much will this service cost?
Drivers will need to pay a per kilowatt-hour (kWh) fee to use the chargers. The current cost to charge at a City Light Level 2 charger is 0.21 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). One kWh provides a typical EV with enough energy to travel over three miles. The fees are designed to pay for the electricity, operations, maintenance and repair costs while offsetting the initial purchase and installation costs.
Why is this service being offered?
Many Seattle residents must use street parking near their homes. Older single-family homes, apartments, condominiums, and houseboats frequently do not have off-street parking like a driveway, garage, or parking lot. It is usually very difficult or not possible for residents to provide their own EV charging when parking on the street.
This project will directly support the Transportation Electrification Strategic Investment Plan by helping to expand at-home and near-home charging for multifamily residents. Currently, there is a lack of access to EV charging for multifamily units. Expanding at-home and near-home charging solutions for multifamily residents in environmental justice communities will increase equitable access to transportation electrification as 52 percent of City Light’s customers are renters and a majority live in multifamily properties.
The City of Seattle set a goal to reduce transportation emissions 83% from 2008 levels by 2030. Residents can accomplish much of this with low-emission travel by public transit, biking, walking, and other options; however, many will still rely on personal vehicles for some of their trips. Seattle City Light is installing these chargers as part of a more extensive portfolio of transportation electrification investments and services to help the utility’s service area transition to zero-emission electric transportation options.
How did City Light select the charger locations?
City Light selected the charger locations through an opt-in process. than 1,800 requests were received in Summer 2022. A panel of subject matter experts from City Light and Seattle Department of Transportation reviewed each request based on a number of criteria such as location, number of requests in a given area, availability of infrastructure, and property type.
In Q4 2022, City Light mailed project information fliers to the property owners or homeowner associations for each property adjacent to and across the street from each proposed EV charging station location. Recipients were encouraged to respond to an online survey to voice support or opposition to the charger and were able to ask questions or provide feedback. City Light staff responded to all questions and feedback for those who provided email addresses for responses.
How soon will the charging locations be available for use?
Construction is slated to begin as early as April 2023. City Light anticipates 50% completion of the charging sites by the end of May, with the remaining sites completed by the end of summer. Each charging site was designed based on its own individual location with 12 planned to be installed on wood poles, 6 on new steel poles, and 13 sites installed on stand-alone pedestals. The plan is for each site to be made available as construction is completed.
Locations are noted by blue icons.
Complete list of locations – all addresses listed are within the City of Seattle.
- 300 block W Mercer St
- 4000 block E McGilvra St
- 1700 block N 46th St
- 1600 block NE 143rd St
- 300 block N 45th St
- 400 block NE Maple Leaf Pl
- 1700 block NW 57TH St
- 3900 block Whitman Ave N
- 500 block 20th Ave E
- 4200 block Stone Way N
- 300 block Pontius Ave N
- 1100 block 13th Ave
- 7000 block 17th Ave SW
- 1300 block 12th Ave S
- 6000 block 16th Ave SW
- 4700 block 35th Ave S
- 1700 block 15th Ave
- 600 block 7th Ave S
- 4800 block Fauntleroy Way SW
- 1900 block Fairview Ave E
- 1400 block S Hill St
- 1700 block S Forest St
- 4800 block California Ave SW
- 2100 block California Ave SW
- 700 block 143rd St
- 100 block Bellevue Ave E
- 3600 block Dayton Ave N
- 200 block MLK Jr Way S
- 2900 block Fuhrman Ave E
- 500 block Valley St
- 500 block W Olympic Pl
EV Charging Basics
Learn more about different charging options for electric vehicles (EVs), plus where you can find rebates to help cover purchase and installation costs.
EV Charger Types
EV chargers are classified into three categories: Level 1, Level 2 and direct current (DC) fast chargers.
EV chargers are classified into three categories: Level 1, Level 2 and direct current (DC) fast chargers.
Important differences include:
- Input voltage. This is how much power a charger requires to operate and is expressed in volts.
- Power output. This is how much power a charger can generate and is expressed in kilowatts (kW).
- Charging speed. This is the number of miles added to the EV’s battery per hour of charging and depends on the charger’s power output.
- Equipment and installation cost. While basic EV chargers are inexpensive and can be plugged into a standard outlet, others have higher upfront equipment and must be installed professionally by an electric vehicle service provider (EVSP).
- EV power intake. Depending on your EV, the power output pulled from a charger (in kW) may be limited by how much the EV’s battery can withstand. Check your vehicle’s specifications to know which charging level your vehicle can use.
Numerous manufacturers produce EV chargers, with a variety of products, price points, applications and functionality. Because of these differences, it is important to choose an EV charger that fits your intended use and budget.
Direct Current Fast Charging
How fast is DC fast charging?
Depending on the EV, DC fast chargers can currently produce a 10-80% charge for a 300-mile range battery in approximately 20 minutes (~540 miles of electric drive per hour of charging).
What is the input voltage for a DC fast charger?
Currently available DC fast chargers require inputs of at least 480 volts and 100 amps, but newer chargers are capable of up to 1000 volt and 500 amps (up to 360 kW).
How much do DC fast chargers cost?
A CALeVIP Cost Data analysis found that the unit cost per charger for rebate recipients ranged from a minimum of 18,000 to a maximum of 72,500. The mean and median unit cost per charger was 29,135 and 23,000, respectively.
In addition to higher equipment costs, DC fast charger installations require a commercial electrician from the initial planning phase due to the electrical load and wiring requirements.
Is a DC fast charger the right EV charger for me?
DC fast chargers are the highest-powered EV chargers on the market. They often are used as range extenders along major travel corridors for long-distance trips and in urban environments to support drivers without home charging or very high mileage drivers. At current charging speeds, they are ideal for places where a person would spend 30 minutes to an hour, such as restaurants, recreational areas and shopping centers.
It is important to note that not every EV model is capable of DC fast charging, and therefore, they cannot be used by every EV driver. Further, DC fast chargers have multiple standards for connectors, whereas there is only one common standard for Level 1 and 2 charging (SAE J1772). DC fast chargers have three types of connectors: CHAdeMO, CCS and Tesla, though CCS is increasingly becoming the industry standard.
Level 2 Chargers
How fast is Level 2 charging?
A Level 2 charger can currently produce a full charge for a 300-mile range battery in about 6-8 hours and is perfect for destination and overnight charging.
What is the input voltage of a Level 2 charger?
Level 2 chargers typically require 220V or 240V service.
What is the power output of a Level 2 charger?
Level 2 chargers are available with a variety of power outputs from 3 kW to 19 kW, which can sometimes be adjusted.
How much do Level 2 chargers cost?
CALeVIP Cost Data show that rebate recipients reported average L2 equipment costs ranging from 685 to 6,626 per connector. The mean and median were 2,976 and 2,884 per connector, respectively.
Is a Level 2 charger the right EV charger for me?
Level 2 chargers are typical solutions for residential and commercial/workplace settings. Most offer higher power output than Level 1 chargers and have additional functionality.
Non-networked vs. networked chargers
In general, Level 2 chargers are distinguished between non-networked chargers and networked chargers.
Networked chargers have advanced capabilities, such as charge scheduling, load management and demand response. They are more common in commercial/workplace settings where payments are required or at multiunit dwellings (MUDs) where the property’s electricity bill is shared by multiple residents.
They may be designed for indoor or outdoor use (e.g., NEMA 3R, NEMA 6P, NEMA 4x rated).
Some models of networked chargers also can limit charging to certain hours, which allows the operator to maximize a time-of-use (TOU) electricity rate structure and only allow charging when electricity is the cheapest (usually sometime between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.). This type of control also increases the likelihood of participating in utility demand response programs.
Some of the enhanced features of a networked Level 2 charger include remote access/control via Wi-Fi or cellular connection, access control/ability to accept multiple forms of payment, load balancing across multiple chargers and more. Additionally, California will soon begin allowing the use of submeters already embedded within networked chargers to bill electricity use. For more information on submetering, visit the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) website.
Non-networked Level 2 chargers are used both in single-family residences and MUDs. They may be designed for indoor or outdoor use (e.g., NEMA 3R, NEMA 6P, NEMA 4x rated). Non-networked Level 2 chargers are useful for installations at MUDs or commercial sites that are powered by the residents’ or tenants’ subpanels.
In this case, any electricity used by the chargers will be charged to the individual’s electricity bill, thus eliminating the need to separately meter the chargers. Further, when electrical capacity is available, non-networked Level 2 chargers are useful for site hosts that need higher power than Level 1 charging but do not have a large budget.
How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?
Learn your different EV charging options and how to calculate costs.
David Kuchta, Ph.D. has 10 years of experience in gardening and has read widely in environmental history and the energy transition. An environmental activist since the 1970s, he is also a historian, author, gardener, and educator.
Electric vehicle (EV) charging may seem mysterious, but it’s much more sustainable and often less expensive than fueling a gas-powered vehicle. In some cases, it can even be free.
Which brand of EV is the most efficient to charge? Find out more about calculating the cost to charge electric cars.
Measuring the Cost Per Charge
To determine how much an EV owner pays per charge, you’ll need to determine the kilowatt-hour costs, instead of mpg.
What Is a Kilowatt-Hour?
A watt is a unit of power, whereas a watt-hour is a measure of how much power is used. If you leave a 100-watt light bulb on for 10 hours, you have used 1000 watt-hours, or 1 kilowatt-hour, abbreviated as kWh.
How Much Do You Pay for Electricity?
Most likely, you pay for electricity based on how many kWh you use each month. The national average is around 0.13/kWh.
If you charge an electric vehicle at home, calculating the cost of a single charge is easy. If an EV owner charges the battery with 25 kWh and pays 10/kWh for electricity, the owner will pay 2.50 to charge the battery.
How Much Electricity Does an EV Use?
To calculate the real-world cost of charging an electric vehicle, you need to know how efficient the vehicle is in using electricity. This is measured by how many kWh an EV consumes driving 100 miles.
For example, if an EV has an efficiency rating of 25 kWh/100 miles, it can drive 4 miles on a single kWh. With a 50 kWh battery, that same EV has a maximum range of 200 miles.
In a gas-powered car, MPG ratings are higher for highway driving than for city driving, since gas cars waste more gasoline idling in stop-and-go city traffic than they do on highways. For electric vehicles, it’s just the opposite: EVs use very little energy idling but are constantly using power on highways, so city driving is more efficient than highway driving.
|Ford Mustang Mach-E||33-36|
|Kia Niro EV (2020)||30|
|Chevrolet Bolt EV||29|
|Hyundai Kona Electric||28|
|Tesla Model Y||27-30|
|Tesla Model 3||25|
Source: Edmunds, “Best Electric Vehicles for 2021,” February 25, 2021.
Different Costs for Different Ways to Charge
Approximately 50%-80% of EV charging is done at home, making it easier to calculate your monthly charging costs.
But the actual cost for charging an electric vehicle depends on where (and when) the charging is done. Here are charging methods ranked from least to most expensive:
- Free. It is almost impossible to get gasoline for free, but many businesses try to attract customers by offering free electric vehicle charging. The charging rate is often slow, called Level 1 charging, which provides the same 120-volts that come from an ordinary home outlet.
- Off-peak at home. Some utilities charge less for off-peak electricity when demand is low. Fortunately, most charging is done at home overnight, when rates are low.
- On-peak at home. Even on-peak or flat-rate electricity charges are cheaper than paid at public charging stations.
- Level 2 public charging stations. Level 2 charging provides 240 volts and can charge your EV much faster. Infrequent public charging is pay-as-you-go; for regular use, public charging services offer monthly subscriptions at lower rates.
- High-speed public charging. This is usually done where charging time rather than cost matters most. High-speed charging stations can deliver anywhere from 50KW to 250KW (even higher in rare cases). Not every electric vehicle can accept the full power that high-speed chargers can offer, so EV owners may be over-paying.
Cost of Charging vs. Price of Gas
Most EV charging is done at home and public fast charging is limited to about six times per year, a 2020 study by Consumer Reports concluded that fueling an electric vehicle costs 60% less than fueling a comparable gas-powered car.
However, this discount may very depend on where you charge. Like gasoline costs, electricity costs vary from state to state.
In late March 2021, the lowest price for an eGallon in the United States could be found in Oklahoma, at 0.81, while in Hawaii (the most expensive state), an eGallon cost 2.65. But in every state, EV charging was always far cheaper than gasoline.
What Is an eGallon?
An eGallon is the amount of electricity an EV would need to travel the same distance as a similar gas-powered car.
Over the average lifetime of a vehicle (11.6 years ), a California EV owner would save 11,271.72 at current gas and electricity prices, while an EV owner in Mississippi would save 8,632.49.
When calculating the total cost of owning a car, fuel-cost savings alone make a 40,000 electric vehicle roughly comparable in price to a 30,000 gas-powered car.
Equipment Costs for Charging at Home
While most home charging uses a standard 120-volt outlet, there can be equipment costs for speedy charging. A Level 2 charging station (or EVSE, for electric vehicle supply equipment) can cost from 400 to 6,500 before installation.
Fortunately, there are federal tax rebates available, as well as state and utility company incentives in many areas.
Money-Saving Charging Tips
- EV charging slows down dramatically for the last 20% of the battery capacity, so if you’re paying by the minute at a public charging station, stop charging when your battery reaches 80% full.
- Use EV phone apps to choose your charging start and stop times when electricity rates are lowest in your area.
- Preheat your car on winter mornings while it is still plugged in, rather than heating it from the battery while you are driving.
The average cost to charge an electric car at a public charging station is 0.30 to 0.60 per kWh, which is three to six times as much as the average American would pay to charge at home. Depending on the size and make of your car, it could cost you anywhere from 10 to 50 for a full charge.
Although a Level 2 charging system can cost anywhere between 400 to 6,500, plus the cost of installation, the cheaper rates for home charging versus public charging pay off over time.
The cheapest time to charge your car at home is overnight, when energy rates are generally the cheapest. Electric providers often increase at peak times—about 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily—so it’s best to charge outside those hours.
If you compare the cost of fuel to the cost of electricity, the answer varies: Sometimes public charging stations do cost more than fuel. Ultimately, electric vehicles wind up being vastly cheaper than gas-powered cars in the long run.
- Table 5.6.A. Average Price of Electricity to Ultimate Customers by End-Use Sector, by State, July 2021 and 2020 (Cents per Kilowatthour). U.S. Energy Information Administration.
- Hardman, Scott, et al. A Review of Consumer Preferences of and Interactions With Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, vol. 62, 2018, pp. 508-523., doi:10.1016/j.trd.2018.04.002
- Harto, Chris. “Electric Vehicle Ownership Costs: Today’s Electric Vehicles Offer Big Savings for Consumers.” Consumer Reports, October 2020.
- “eGallon,” U.S. Department of Energy, 2021.
- “Average Age of Automobiles and Trucks in Operation in the United States.” U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
- Smith, Margaret and Jonathan Castellano. Costs Associated With Non-Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. U.S. Department of Energy, 2015, pp. 11-12.
- “Search Federal and State Laws and Incentives.” U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.