When most people think electric car, they immediately ponder, “I can power my car for free now!” This is incorrect. You now own a car that can be powered without the purchase and installation of gasoline fuel! Nobody owns a car that they can drive for free. While some public options don’t charge the user, all home options will cost a user. Electricity is required to charge the battery in that car, and it does cost money. Exactly what is the cost to charge a Tesla? This is what we’ll be examining here for curious minds…
Let’s use the Model S
For these purposes, we’ll go with the model S. Not only because the LA Times went with it in the research that we used, but also because it’s a full-sized coup! We don’t want our figures lowered by economy sized cars that might deflate the true cost. We want the cost to power a full-sized coup style automobile. A full-sized coup is a better jumping off point for larger vehicles when they become common. The car is also a luxury car, so it eats a fair amount of power. The S is perhaps the best car to use for these purposes for these reasons, and this is why so many publications use it for these purposes.
Next, we have to Look at Electricity Measurements
Now that we have the perfect car for these purposes, let’s go back to electric utilities 101. How is your utility billing you? Each hour your meter picks up your usage and averages it out in kilowatt hours. They are added together, or if use is constant, the number of hours used is multiplied by the kilowatt average. The average for most areas in the US is between 12 cents and 14 cents. We’ll go with 12.9 cents per kilowatt-hour as a fair average figure.
Just like Making a Sandwich…you put the Two Parts Together
At the rate of 12.9 cents a kilowatt hour, the demands per hour for an over 200-mile battery, and the time required, it comes out to just under $10! Portable EV devices might save you a bit, but $9.68 is the cost to charge that coup. The important thing to take away is that a full-sized coup would typically require between $30-40 of gasoline to fill its tank. Now comes the real question…
What is the True Cost Compared to Gas?
If you’ve already ran those numbers in your head, you should be able to see that an electric car costs between 1/3 and 1/4 of what a gasoline one does to power. Let’s also keep in mind the price of gas and what it will likely rise to in a few years. While you can’t power an electric coup for free, it is much cheaper to power than a gasoline one. This is especially true of a gasoline model with all of the luxuries included with the model S.