How much electricity does an electric car use?
Discover exactly how much electricity is needed to charge your electric car, and how much charging an EV at home will add to your electricity bill.
Despite – or perhaps, because of – the energy crisis, electric mobility is rising in popularity across the world. While energy costs are increasing across the board, electricity prices still tend to be more stable and fluctuate less compared to gasoline or diesel, making electric mobility an attractive alternative for many.
Charging at home is by far the most popular location amongst EV drivers today, but how does charging an EV at home impact your electricity consumption and, consequently, your energy bill?
Our recent research showed that 65% of EV drivers feel that energy efficiency is the most important factor when purchasing an EV home charger, so how efficient are they?
In this article, we will take a look at the energy usage of an EV home charger and break down the factors that impact it.
How much electricity does an EV home charger use?
The exact amount of electricity a home EV charger needs depends on your EV’s battery size and driving behavior. Simply said: if you don’t drive that much, you will use less electricity than someone who does.
So, it is difficult to present an accurate number that works for everyone. However, to give you a general –yet somewhat accurate– idea we can look at the average numbers.
Average energy consumption per kilometer
Given an EV’s average energy consumption of 0.20 kilowatt-hour (kWh) per kilometer or 0.32 kWh per mile, we can look at the average energy required to cover the daily commute of Americans and Europeans.
Average driving distance in the US
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Americans drive on average, 13,476 miles per year, or 36.92 miles per day. Using the average EV’s energy consumption, a home EV charger would use around 11.81 kWh per day to charge the car to replenish the range driven.
This translates to about 353.3 kWh per month and 4,310.65 kWh per year.
Average driving distance in the EU
While driving habits vary significantly between European countries, the average across the EU is around 4,529 kilometers per year or 12.41 km per day. In this case, a home EV charger would use around 2.48 kWh per day, or 74.40 kWh per month and 905.20 kWh per year.
A simplified comparison
To put these numbers into perspective, the average washing machine uses about 2.1 kWh. This means that charging your EV adds about as much electricity use to your home as running your washer for slightly more than one hour per day if you live in the EU or for more than 5 hours in the U.S.
Disclaimer: These numbers differ based on individual situations and driving behavior and are meant to give a ballpark estimate of energy usage. They are not representative of a real-life situation.
How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home?
As you’ve probably realized from the above, EV charging uses a significant amount of energy, which begs the question, how much does it actually cost to charge an electric car at home?
As with energy usage, it depends on several factors, such as your daily driving distance and your electricity prices, which differs greatly by country, region, and utility company. In general, however, you can calculate the cost of charging your car by multiplying the amount of energy used with the price per kWh at home.
How much does it cost to fully charge an electric car?
Given that the average electricity price per kWh in the U.S. is $0.14 and €0.24 in Europe, it would cost you $8.68 (or €14.88) to fully charge a Nissan Leaf (64 kW) or $14 (or €24) for a Tesla Model S (100 kW).
How much does it cost to replenish the daily average range of an EV?
On a more day-to-day basis, to cover the aforementioned daily 39.92 miles of Americans, an electric car would add $1.65 to your daily electricity bill on average, while it would cost you €0.60 to cover the average 12.41 km European daily commute.
Of course, it’s worth keeping in mind that electricity costs vary greatly between countries, states, and utility companies, so the actual prices in your area may be considerably different.
Disclaimer: These numbers differ based on individual situations and driving behavior and are meant to give a ballpark estimate of energy usage and costs. They are not representative of a real-life situation. Next to this, we've taken the official average numbers that were available at the time of writing this article (which do not yet reflect the current energy crisis).
Do I have to upgrade my meter box to charge my electric car at home?
Charging an EV at home is a highly energy-intensive activity that can easily put your electrical circuit under stress if not managed properly. However, installing a home EV charging station to charge your car is undoubtedly the safest way to do so, given that EV home chargers are specifically designed and wired into your home to handle the high loads of EV charging.
If EV charging is such an energy-intensive activity, you might ask yourself whether an upgrade to your home’s electrical system and in particular your meter box, is required.
And the answer to that question, like many others, is: it depends.
Indeed, if your meter is recent, it might be able to handle the additional capacity without any upgrades. But even if your meter box is older, you may not have to upgrade it, depending on your situation.
Dynamic Load balancing
Many modern EV home chargers come equipped with smart features that can regulate energy usage and ensure it stays at an optimal level. One such feature is dynamic load balancing, which automatically adjusts the electricity flow within your house.
By monitoring the loads on your circuit and adjusting the power drawn by your EV to ensure it never uses more than a safe maximum, dynamic load balancing can prevent you from having to upgrade your meter box.
Of course, everything depends on your specific home setting and EV home charger type and needs to be discussed with an installer, but it could save you expensive installation and upgrading costs.
Electric mobility is an emerging trend and with good reason. EVs are not only cheaper to power than gas or diesel cars, but home charging unlocks a new level of convenience.
The amount of electricity used by an EV home charging station to power an EV varies greatly on driving behavior and EV battery size, but on the whole, it is relatively energy-intensive and should be considered when thinking of charging your car at home.
After learning about the average electricity usage of EVs and guesstimating how much charging at home will add to your electricity bill, you might be considering getting one. If you are, we imagine you have more questions. Read our free and comprehensive guide to learn everything you need to know about home charging stations, from their price to average charging times, all the way up to how to get one installed.