If you’re a Charlotte, NC resident who’s considering an EV purchase, you’re probably wondering about the logistics of charging it. For starters, you’re likely poring over maps that list the public places where you’ll be able to charge your EV. However, there’s a good chance you’re also considering installing a Level 2 EV charger in your home. That naturally begs the question — is it cheaper to charge your EV at home or using public chargers? Here’s a conclusive answer to that question.
Average Charging Costs
The simplest way to answer the question of where it’ll be cheaper to charge your EV is by looking at the cost of residential electricity vs. the costs at most charging stations. According to recently compiled charging station data, public EV chargers here in North Carolina averaged an electricity cost of 12.97 cents per kw/h. For comparison, the average home here pays an electricity rate of just 11.17 cents per kw/h.
If you then consider that the average EV driver uses about 4,310.65 kWh per year to keep their EV charged up, you can start to see the difference between those costs. Using that figure, you’d spend about $559 every year using public charging infrastructure. At home, your cost would drop to about $481.50. While that’s not a huge difference, it will add up over the lifespan of your EV.
Other Factors to Consider
So, all things being equal, it should always be cheaper to charge your vehicle at home than on the road. However, there are plenty of other factors that might change the equation. Here’s what they are.
Charging Station-Specific Costs
The first thing to consider is what public charging stations you plan to use. For example, there are an estimated 232 charging stations in the Charlotte area that won’t cost you anything to use. The catch is that most of them are Level 1 chargers. With those chargers, it could take up to 30 hours to fully charge the average EV from a depleted state. However, there are also approximately 24 free-to-use Level 2 chargers that would cut that time significantly. Unfortunately, you may have to wait to use them because of their understandable popularity.
You’ll also find that when it comes to pay-to-use Level 2 and 3 chargers, the prices you pay can vary significantly. Some charging station networks require paying a membership fee on top of a per-kw/h charging rate. In some cases, it could cost you up to three times what it costs to charge your EV at home if you use a public Level 3 charger. That could make economic sense when you consider how much time a Level 3 charger could save you. Using a Level 3 charger, you can give your EV a full charge in as little as 30 minutes.
Your Actual Residential Electricity Rate
Another thing to think about is what your home’s actual electricity cost is. Since you can shop for better deals from a variety of suppliers, there’s a good chance your rate is lower than the 11.17 cents per kw/h state average. If so, that would drop your home charging costs even further. At times, there are energy providers offering electricity plans for as low as 9.47 cents per kw/h here in Charlotte.
Your Home Charger’s Technology
If you install a Level 2 charger in your home, it could save you time and cut costs in a variety of ways. For one thing, a Level 2 charger will allow you to charge your EV at home from empty to full in as little as eight hours. That means you won’t have to deal with range anxiety, no matter how far you drive each day. Just plug in your EV when you get home, and it’ll be fully charged by morning. And a Level 2 smart charger could have some other tricks up its sleeve.
For example, Level 2 smart chargers often give you the ability to exploit time-of-use electricity rates. Those are special rate plans from electricity suppliers that give you deep discounts on electricity at off-peak times. With most suppliers, you’ll find that off-peak times align quite well with your EV charging needs.
In most cases, there are two daily off-peak periods during the winter. One runs from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., which is perfect if you’re able to come home for lunch and give your EV a boost. The second runs from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., which is perfect for an overnight full recharge. In the summer, there’s one long off-peak period that runs from 8 p.m. to 11 a.m. every day.
A smart charger will restrict your charging capacity during peak times to prevent you from running up a huge electricity bill. Then, they’ll ramp up to full capacity at off-peak times to maximize the benefits of the cheaper rates.
Your Electricity Supply Source
Finally, you should consider where your home gets its electricity from. For example, if you own or plan to install a solar power system, your EV charging costs may drop dramatically. This is especially effective when paired with time-of-use rates. That’s because solar panels produce most of their power during peak electricity usage periods. So, if you charged your EV during the day with a solar system installed, your charge cost could be totally free. Then you could still take advantage of reduced nighttime electricity rates from your grid provider when necessary.
Finding the Right Balance
At this point, it’s worth pointing out that very few EV owners end up charging their EVs exclusively at home or using public chargers. Depending on how you use your vehicle, your circumstances could dictate when and where you charge your EV. So, to figure out an estimate of how much it might cost you to charge your new EV, you’ll need to examine how you use your existing vehicle.
You can start by estimating the hours that your car sits at home and could be charging. Then, examine your average day using your car. If you drive it to and from work, look for charging stations near your job and along your route. Next, look at their rates and estimate how often you think you’ll need to use those stations. That should yield a somewhat accurate real-world estimate of what your charging costs might look like.
Your Residential EV Charging Experts
Since charging your EV at home will save you money in almost every case, you’ll want to install a charger in your home. Acosta Heating, Cooling & Electrical can help you with that. We’ve served the Charlotte area since 1972, building a reputation for quality work at fair prices. We offer residential EV charger installations, including any electrical panel or circuitry upgrades you need to support one. And those are just some of the comprehensive electrical services we offer. We also offer HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair.
So, if you need an EV charger installed in your Charlotte home, call the team at Acosta Heating, Cooling & Electrical today!