What Does An EV Charging Station Cost?
We are finally seeing the emergence of bigger and badder electric vehicles on the market that are capable of pulling campers! Not to mention, companies have released fully electric RV concepts that will hopefully be on the market soon (we’re looking at you, Winnebago)! Finally, true eco-friendly camping options for those that prefer the comforts of a camper are within grasp.
That being said, having electric RVs is only one piece of the puzzle. We also need to be able to charge them. While it’s pretty easy to charge your EV at home, things get a little more tricky once you’re out on a road trip. Luckily, you can now find charging stations across the country, from Walmart parking lots to gas stations to highway hotels.
So, the final question remains: how much does an EV charging station cost?
How EV charging stations are priced
Figuring out how much an EV charging station costs can be difficult because there are many different variables at play. For starters, charging speeds can vary based on the type of vehicle and charger. Plus, different charging stations have varied pricing models. For example, some may charge per minute, session, or kilowatt hour (kWh). There are also different levels of chargers, from levels one to three. Level three is the fastest, which tends to come at a premium.
The cheapest options for charging your EV are at home or with a free charging station, but this may not always be possible when you’re on a road trip. Planning ahead is the best way to keep costs down.
Types of EV charging stations
If you want to plan your trip to minimize your charging budget and waste as little time as possible, it’s essential to understand the types of charging stations available. Once you have a solid grasp of the different styles and their average costs, you can use apps such as RV LIFE Trip Wizard to plot your road trip route.
Home charging stations
Charging your EV at home is the easiest and cheapest solution. Most EV users will do the majority of charging at their house, typically overnight. This will work for electric RVs or towing vehicles as well, at least to prepare to leave on your trip. The cost to fill up at home will depend on your electricity rates.
Plugging into a standard outlet is considered a level one charging station. While this is the slowest, your vehicle will have plenty of time to charge overnight. Still, some drivers opt to install a level two charger in their homes. Unfortunately, this can cost up to $2,000 or more.
To estimate the price of charging your EV at home, you can use an average of 2.9 miles per kWh if you don’t know your vehicle’s exact numbers. Let’s say your car has a range of 200 miles, and your electricity costs $0.135 per kWh. Then it will cost you approximately $9.31 to charge your EV at home.
Free charging stations
Once you’re out on the open road, finding free charging stations is the cheapest option for charging your EV. Surprisingly, these aren’t as rare as you might think. Plus, they’re easy to find by using apps like Plugshare to filter for free charging stations only.
You may find free charging stations by Volta in commercial parking lots like malls or grocery stores. Their level two chargers are free thanks to the revenue they make on advertisements. Perhaps more convenient for those hauling a trailer or driving an electric RV, you can often find free charging stations at hotels or tourist destinations.
Filling up your vehicle at the free charging stations won’t cost you a dime. However, these stations sometimes have time limits and likely won’t offer level three chargers.
Network charging stations
Another option for charging your EV is through one of the growing charging networks. The most popular networks include Tesla, Electrify America, and EVGo. Networked charging stations are connected to an extensive infrastructure of other chargers and have access to online management tools. That means they offer easy-to-use maps on their apps and even the option for reservations.
Some EVs come with a subscription for free charging sessions on specific networks. If you don’t have a free pass from purchasing your vehicle, the networks typically offer pay-as-you-go or monthly membership options.
Because there are so many variables when it comes to networking charging stations, it isn’t easy to estimate how much it costs to fill up your vehicle. Based on the previous example of a 200-mile range and EVGo’s pay-as-you-go pricing of $0.34 per kWh plus a $0.99 session fee, it would cost about $24.40 to charge your vehicle.
Commercial charging stations
Commercial charging stations are also generally networked. However, there are chargers that businesses can install that allow them to choose their pricing. As mentioned above, these businesses may offer free charging for customers or employees. Others may charge fees in hopes of making some extra revenue each month.
For example, ChargePoint sells hardware and software to other institutions that allow them to offer level one, two, or three charge points. Unlike with other network charge points, these businesses will keep all of the proceeds earned from the charging stations if they decide to impose a fee.
Because these businesses can offer different levels of charging and are allowed to set whatever price they want, it’s not easy to estimate how much a full charge may cost. But, on average, charging your EV can cost between $10 and $30 on paid commercial charging stations.
So, how much does an EV charging station cost?
If you’re looking for the lowest possible costs when planning a camping trip with an electric tow vehicle or even an electric RV, you’ll need to prepare ahead of time. With the proper planning, you can charge your vehicle for free with carefully selected stops and hotels with free charge points.
Unfortunately, free options aren’t available across the entire country. Depending on your route, you may have to pay for a charge. Although there are many variables, it’s safe to assume you’ll pay between $10 and $30 for a full charge.
For help mapping out your route for your next RV getaway, look no further than RV LIFE Trip Wizard. This online planning tool makes it easy to plan an RV-safe route. It can also locate interesting sites along the way, all according to your travel preferences. Get RV LIFE Trip Wizard with its accompanying RV LIFE App, and start planning your adventure today!