One topic that arguably doesn't get nearly enough attention is how much it costs to charge an electric vehicle. It's a question many people certainly have when considering buying an EV. However, there are so many variables involved, it's not easy to put a finger on it. Are you charging at home, where do you live, do you use public fast-charging, what charging stations are you visiting, how is the weather where you live, etc. etc.?

It's not uncommon to hear people say they'd like to buy a Tesla Model 3, but they can't afford it. While this may be true, they probably aren't looking at the electric car's overall cost to own. To be fair, it's hard to drain your savings account or stretch your monthly budget, even if you have complete proof that you'll save money over the long term. If you don't have the proof, or the savings are "estimated," it only makes your decision even more difficult.

Tesla owner Richard Clements recently drove his Model 3 1,249 miles from Buffalo, New York to Melbourne, FL. He kept track of how much he paid at Tesla Superchargers to give people an idea of the total cost. While this is a one-off situation, it's something you can add to your archives as you're trying to figure out how much it might cost to own and power an electric vehicle.


Based on Clements' data and calculations, the drive cost him just $69.96 in charging fees. He averaged a Supercharging cost of $0.25/kWh. Clements also wrote about the total travel time. This is another major question from prospective EV owners. How much longer will my road trips take if I drive an EV? You can visit his blog for more details. Clements wrote:

" ... as a practical matter, we don’t generally last more than about 3.5 hours without a need for plumbing or something to eat, so generally, we’d also be stopping for some meals… Assuming lunch and other miscellaneous breaks on our Florida run, that would easily account for about another 2 hours of downtime. So adding those two hours to the gasoline refueling time, the total would be 160 minutes. That compares to the 167 minutes in our Tesla—only an insignificant 7 minute’s difference."

How much would the same trip cost in the average gas car? Again, there are plenty of variables involved. However, some simple "napkin math" can get us close to the answer.

According to the EPA, the average new vehicle returns a combined 27 mpg. The average cost of gas in the US today is about $2.29 per gallon. The trip would require about 46 gallons of gasoline, so about $106 in gas cost for the same trip. Keep in mind, however, that charging at Tesla Superchargers is more expensive than charging at home. While the savings here is only about $36 for a long road trip, it's much more significant in daily driving and home charging.

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