This article was originally published at:

Electric vehicles (EVs) have moved into the mainstream, offering a green alternative for individuals and families looking to reduce their carbon footprint. However, when it comes to road trips, many potential EV buyers find themselves crunching the numbers to understand the real cost of keeping an EV charged on the go. As charging infrastructure expands and more people consider buying an EV, understanding the costs associated with charging on a road trip becomes critical.

Charging Infrastructure and Its Variance

The charging infrastructure for EVs has seen a significant expansion, yet it varies greatly across different regions. A typical road trip might cross several states, each with its own level of EV infrastructure and electricity pricing. Charging stations, too, are diversified – ranging from Level 1 chargers (which are the slowest), Level 2 chargers, to DC fast chargers (also known as Level 3 chargers) which provide a quick battery top-up.

Moreover, the cost of electricity isn’t constant, differing from one utility provider to another, and fluctuating during peak and off-peak hours. These variances can significantly impact the cost of charging an EV during a road trip.

Understanding Charging Costs

On average, the cost to charge an EV on a road trip can range from $10 to $30, depending on various factors. The level of the charger used, the electricity rate at the location, and the vehicle’s battery capacity all play a crucial role in determining the total charging cost.

Level 1 chargers are usually the cheapest but are exceedingly slow, making them impractical for road trips. Level 2 chargers offer a better balance but still require a few hours for a full charge. DC fast chargers, on the other hand, can charge an EV’s battery to 80% in about 30 minutes to an hour, but at a higher cost.

Charging networks also have their pricing models, some charge a flat rate per charging session, others charge per minute, and some charge per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity used. This layered pricing structure can make it hard to estimate the exact cost of charging an EV on a road trip.

Tools to Estimate Charging Costs

Various tools and apps are available to help EV drivers estimate the cost of charging on a road trip. Apps like A Better Route Planner, PlugShare, and others provide estimates based on the route, the type of EV, and the charging networks along the way. These apps can also provide real-time data on the availability of charging stations, helping drivers plan their stops better.

Tips to Reduce Charging Costs

Several strategies can help reduce the costs associated with charging an EV on a road trip:

  1. Planning Ahead: Planning the route to take advantage of lower-cost charging stations or free charging spots can result in significant savings.
  2. Off-Peak Charging: If possible, charging during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower can also reduce charging costs.
    Hotel Charging: Some hotels offer free charging for guests. Booking such hotels can not only save on charging costs but also provide a convenient charging solution.
  3. Membership Discounts: Some charging networks offer membership plans that provide discounted rates for charging.

The cost of charging an EV on a road trip is comparable to or lower than fueling a gasoline car in many cases, especially with a bit of planning. The expanding infrastructure and technological advancements promise to make EV road tripping even more accessible and economical in the near future.

This article was originally published at: