EV Charging Cost

Cost To Charge an EV on a Road Trip

Last Updated on December 27, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Electric cars are gaining more and more ground in front of conventional ones that have internal combustion engines on gasoline or diesel. One reason is the lower maintenance costs of zero-emission vehicles. In addition, the continuous increase in the price of petrol and diesel makes many people migrate to the battery car segment.

If you are thinking of buying a vehicle without polluting emissions, you are more than likely also interested in how much it costs to charge an electric car and how long it takes. In this article, we will tell you what are the costs of charging an EV on a road trip.

How Much Does It Cost To Charge an EV on a Road Trip?

Now, most EVs are able to run more than two hundred miles per charge. For longer trips, most probably you will have to charge your vehicle quite a few times.

It can be tricky to calculate the cost of EV charging as there are many charging networks and many types of chargers, and the electricity costs depend on each state.

Expect to spend anywhere between $12 and $35 to charge your EV while on a road trip, depending on what level the charger you are using has. Thus, the cost of an EV road trip is similar to that of the same trip in a gas-powered car. However, there are many factors that will affect the cost of an EV charge.

Key aspects

EV charging costs will depend on several factors such as the type of chargers you use and your location.

The cost of a road trip with an electric vehicle may be more expensive than the same trip done with a conventional car. You should use apps such as PlugShare or A Better Route Planner to plan a route that considers the charging stations and the use of hotel and supermarket charges, when possible, in order to reduce the costs.

The cost of charging an EV at a commercial charger on a road trip is anywhere between $12 and $35 if using a level three charger.

How can I charge an EV on a road trip?

As we already mentioned above, you should budget $12 to $35 to fully charge an EV at a commercial charger. Remember that it would cost you more to charge an electric vehicle at commercial chargers than to charge it at home.

Though, the costs for charging an EV vary much more than the fueling costs for ICE cars (internal combustion engines). This is due to several factors, such as:


Usually, pricing at the commercial chargers is not directly comparable because there are various pricing systems. In general, these are a combination of per session, per kWh, and per unit time costs. When calculated on a per kWh basis (the amount of charge you get per $1), the charging costs vary considerably.

Great variation in electrical power costs

Usually, commercial charger prices are double or triple the residential prices. Even within the same network commercial charger prices may vary more than fifty percent, while the gas rates vary by almost ten percent or less.

You might also like our articles about the cost of charging a Tesla, buying a Tesla, or buying a plug-in hybrid from BMW.

Battery and charger varieties

Charging speed depends on the working status of the charger, the type of charger, the temperature, and the level of charge in the battery. This is why the time necessary to charge your battery may vary considerably.

Also, the type of charger your EV has can affect the charging costs, as there are three different tiers, such as:

Level 1 charger is the lowest type of charger and takes 24 hours to fully charge your EV.

Level 2 charger provides a charge of up to twenty-eight miles per hour and costs anywhere between $2 and $6 per hour. In general, you can find these types of charging stations at shopping centers.

Level 3 charger, also known as direct current fast chargers (DCFC) is the fastest and you can fully charge your EV battery in only one hour. This costs $12 to $35 per charge.

Tesla has its own network of chargers which is called “Superchargers”. The amount of money you are going to spend for using these chargers for your Tesla depends on your location and others. Expect to pay around $0.30 per kWh, so a full recharge to 250 miles would cost around $29 (unless you buy a Model X or Model S between 2012 and 2016 because in this case, it is free)

Tips for saving money on your EV road trip

Different EV ChargersWhen calculating the charging costs for an EV on a road trip, you need to also consider the costs related to finding a commercial charging station. You may spend a great amount of time driving out of your way and waiting for your EV to charge, in case you don’t plan your journey around the location of EV charging stations.  The cost of your road trip can increase due to these extra miles.

You can reduce the charging costs for your EV on a road trip by taking some simple steps. First, you should plan your route in such a way that you can find a charger when you will need it. Plan what you do while waiting for your EV to charge. You can use many different tools to plan your road trip. For example, there are the apps PlugShare and A Better Route Planner, and Tesla has its own route planner. Also, Google Maps can highlight EV charging stations.

Some other ways you can save money on EV charging while on a road trip include:

  • If you have an extension cord, adaptors, and charging cord, take them with you because these will allow you to use a large range of charging stations.
  • Book rooms at hotels that have a charging station. Usually, they offer EV charging for free.
  • In order to make the most out of your charging time, try to find stations with local accommodations, such as grocery stores or restaurants.

In the end, don’t try to fully charge your EV battery at every charging station if you really want to enjoy your road trip.


How do I calculate my EV road trip charging expenses?

It may be pretty hard to manually calculate the costs of your EV charging on a road trip as there is a wide range of networks. You should use apps such as EEVEE Mobility which show the charges close to you and calculate the charging costs.

How long does it take to charge an EV on a road trip?

The time needed to charge an EV on a road trip depends on the type of charger you use. Some chargers will take less than an hour to charge your EV, while others will take 24 hours. For example, Tesla Superchargers can charge in around 15 minutes.

Can I do a long road trip in an EV?

Yes, you can do a long road trip with an EV. Currently, many EVs can range more than two hundred miles. With proper planning, you can travel almost as much as you would do with a gas car.

Final words

In general, the cost to charge an EV on a road trip will be anywhere between $12 and $35, which will make it more expensive than using a conventional vehicle. Take into consideration using apps such as PlugShare or A Better Route Planner to plan charging stations along your route and reduce costs. Also, when possible, use hotel and supermarket chargers.

Even though the cost of EV road trips is similar to those of conventional vehicles, the overall expenses of ownership of an EV are much lower. According to a 2020 Consumer Reports study, you will save a great amount of money on fuel and maintenance, if you chose to drive an EV.

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