What Does It Cost to Charge Your Vehicle on the Road?

Thinking about trading in your gas-powered car for an electric one? Then you’ve probably wondered how much it’ll cost to keep it running. To get an accurate estimate, it’s useful to understand different charging levels, how to find charging stations, and what incentives can help you with your EV purchase.

What Are Charging Levels?

EV charging levels refer to EV chargers and how fast they can charge your EV’s battery. Generally, the higher the level, the higher the voltage required, and the faster the charge. Keep in mind, charging times vary slightly depending on the vehicle.

Level 1 charging is used by most EV drivers who own a house. It requires a standard 120-V outlet—the kind you use to charge your phone. Level 1 charging is quite a slow process. Most people use it to charge their vehicle overnight so it’s ready the following day.

If you have a 240-V outlet, you can also do Level 2 charging at home. You can either share your clothing dryer’s outlet or have an electrician install an EV Level 2 charger.

If you need to charge on the go, Level 2 charging is available at most public charging stations. Many Level 2 charging stations are free. If they do require payment, the average cost is $1 per hour or $2.50 per charge. It takes about an hour to add 30 km of range to your EV with this method.

The most expensive form of EV charging is Level 3, also known as fast charging. Fast charging can get your vehicle to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes. Since it requires an outlet with at least 400-V, it isn’t practical for home use. You can find it at select public stations, typically for $0.33 per minute.

Because of the price, Level 3 charging isn’t ideal for everyday use for many people. Instead, it’s most useful on road trips when you don’t want to stop for a long break. However, it is the most expensive option.

Where to Charge

Electric car charging station

Different apps and websites can help you locate charging stations on the road. Ivy is a great option for those in Ontario, and ChargePoint provides an interactive map of all the charging stations across the globe. Both examples provide full details on what kind of charging is available at a particular station and how much it’ll cost, if anything.

EV Incentives

The average price of an EV is a common deterrent for many people deciding whether to give up their gas-powered car. The continued improvement of financial incentives for EVs makes this decision easier.

The Government of Canada currently offers point-of-sale incentives for certain EVs purchased or leased for a period of 12 months or more. A few provinces offer post-sale benefits that can be combined with the federal government’s offerings. Business owners can also access tax write-offs for specific EVs under their management. You can read more about these benefits here.

Although they don’t fully offset the cost of an EV, these rewards can make owning and maintaining an EV a bit more manageable. You’ll also see your fuel budget greatly reduced with an EV since electricity is much cheaper than gas.

Looking Forward

In the future, we’ll likely see further developments to increase the number of EVs on the road. One idea is the installation of roadways that charge your vehicle as you drive on them.

If the trend toward electric transportation continues to grow, we may see many more efforts to make charging increasingly accessible in terms of lower prices and more stations.