What Does an Electric Vehicle Really Cost?

We have been asked many times about the cost of electric vehicles. Here is a few of the frequently asked questions broken down for you:

How much does an electric vehicle cost?
A wide range of electric vehicles are available for every conceivable free market segment. As a result, the purchase price of a new electric vehicle varies widely based upon the vehicle make, model, type, package and accessories. Check out this electric vehicle comparison chart to review a few options or explore automakers’ website for specific vehicle costs.

Are there tax credits or other financial incentives available?
A federal tax credit of up to $7,500 may be available for qualified electric vehicles. The size of the tax credit depends on the size of the vehicle and its battery capacity. Some state and local governments also offer vehicle and charging station incentives. For specific tax credit amounts, please visit: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxevb.shtml

In addition many utilities, including Stearns Electric, offer discounted electric vehicle rates that encourage charging overnight when electricity is plentiful. Find information about Stearns Electric’s ChargeWise Program here.

What does it cost to get plug-in ready?
Total cost varies depending on current electrical design, code requirements, the rate and charging options you choose, as well as other factors.

Potential costs include the following:

  • Charging equipment installation: This cost can be provided by your licensed electrical contractor.
  • Electrical panel upgrade: This applies to members who choose the faster charging Level 2 option, which uses 208 to 240 volts. This adds a higher load to your electrical panel, which may result in needing an electrical panel upgrade. The upgrade cost can be provided by a licensed electrical contractor.
  • Utility service upgrade: A service upgrade may be required for residential chargers that have a higher demand. Furthermore, your home may require utility electrical system upgrades in order to charge the vehicle and/or accommodate a second meter. This cost can be determined by Stearns Electric, or your utility provider, after an assessment.

What is the total cost of ownership for an electric vehicle?
When you consider the total cost of ownership, including purchase, rebates, fuel costs, and maintenance, plug-in cars are cheaper than similar gas cars. To calculate the overall cost of EV ownership, customize it to your personal circumstances, and compare it to conventional vehicles, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center’s Vehicle Cost Calculator.

How does paying for kilowatt-hours compare to buying gasoline?
At the U.S. national average price of 12.5 cent per kilowatt-hour (kWh), electricity is roughly equivalent to gasoline at $1 a gallon.

The U.S. Energy Department has created a website to determine an eGallon, or the cost of fueling a vehicle with electricity compared to a similar vehicle that runs on gasoline. Find out how much it costs to fuel an electric vehicle in your state here: https://www.energy.gov/maps/egallon.

How much electricity does an electric vehicle use?
Like a conventional vehicle, MPG and total gasoline use varies with each vehicle type and driving habits. However, generally speaking, an electric vehicle efficiently drives about 3 miles on 1 kWh. A “typical” driver that travels about 10,800 miles a year would use about 300 kWh per month.

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