Relevance Notice: The information in "Crunching Numbers: Charging Costs For Electric Cars" holds its significance as of August 2023. Explore details to gain updated insights into the electric car charging experience.
One primary motive driving the transition from gasoline-powered to electric vehicles is the intention to reduce running costs. But then again, how much does it genuinely cost to charge your EV?
The costs linked to charging your car will fluctuate based on your selected charging behavior and the choices you have. Generally, this depends on whether you charge your electric vehicle at home or often utilize public charging points, while also factoring in your precise location within Canada.
In this research, our attention will be directed toward higher levels of charging used by the trio of key provinces that are steering the electric vehicle industry in Canada: Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario.
1. Public Electric Vehicle Charging
Charging fees for public charging stations can be structured in different ways among various EV charging companies in Canada:
- Per Time Charging: Some charging networks charge by the second, minute, or hour, regardless of how much energy is delivered. This means that faster-charging EVs might end up paying less.
- Per Kilowatt-Hour (kWh) Charging: This method charges on the amount of energy delivered to the vehicle. It's a more direct way of powering, ensuring that you pay for the actual electricity used.
And only recently, after the Measurement Canada announcement on February 20, 2023, Canadian customers who operate publicly accessible Level 1, 2, and DC fast charger stations (known as Level 3+) can provide kW billing for energy consumed, rather than time spent charging.
- Membership/Subscription Plans: Many charging networks offer membership plans that provide discounted rates or flat fees for members. These plans can be beneficial for frequent EV users.
Electricify Canada is one such company, where the cost of your charging is determined by the speed at which your vehicle communicates with the charger, along with the charger's maximum charging capacity, your membership status, idling, and any other applicable taxes.
- Options Combined: In such scenarios, like with Tesla, defining precise charging costs becomes a challenge. This is due to the varying methods of billing at different stations, where some charge per kilowatt-hour while others charge per minute. If you encounter a supercharger that employs the latter, there are four tiers to consider, each reflecting conditions and adjustments in charging rates.
1.1 The Tesla Supercharger ranked the highest among many public fast-charging infrastructures. It is the only one customers found the most efficient and convenient via factors like the ease of charging, speed of charging, and most importantly physical condition and availability of EV chargers. On the other hand, the satisfaction of EV owners drops when they resort to other public charging choices outside the network.
Tesla's supercharging services support different pricing options and bundles for its Supercharger offerings, some of them rather tempting since new car buyers can receive a complimentary trial.
In all other cases, the cost of a single charging session with Tesla can rest from $1 to $5, contingent upon the kilowatt-hours (kWh) you input. However, the expenses may often vary between $15 and $30 per charge and beyond, based on the specific charging station's power capacity.
Tesla is gradually allowing other electric vehicle brands to use its Supercharger network, yet this process is taking time and involves embracing the NACS standard.
It is also crucial to emphasize that presently, non-Tesla owners can only access the Superchargers by using a specific adapter that is not widely accessible in Canada.
1.2 Other Public Charging Options: Level 2 & Level 3
If you're interested in using public Level 2 charging stations, which are the same type effectively used at home, then you may find them for free. These stations offer a similar rate as for residences and can charge your EV to 80% from empty in 4-12 hours. It is worth noting, however, that public equipment is intended for customers who are willing to stay for a few hours.
Certain level 2 public chargers are on pay-per-use basis with an average cost being either $1.00 for an hour or $2.50 per charge. However, again because it’s still relatively slow, this is not always convenient for those who are in a hurry and want a quick charge.
DC chargers are commonly associated with a pay-as-you-go model and are usually charged based on the time used, with costs varying between 15 and 57 cents per minute depending on factors like location, network, and charging station speed.
However, a BC Hydro customer who owns an electric vehicle would be charged at a rate of 12.19 cents per minute for 25 kW charging (plus 5% GST), 21.33 cents per minute for 50 kW charging (plus 5% GST), and 27.43 cents per minute for 100 kW charging (plus 5% GST). These rates are effective from April 1, 2023, but starting from September 2023 there will be a notable increase in pricing fees for British Columbia.
Quebec's Electric Circuit network is a renowned public charging system that employs charging rates based on seconds. Expect to pay, similarly, ranging from $12.77/h - $25.52/h (below and above 90% charge respectively for 50-kW fast-charge stations) or more, depending on the power delivered by the station.
Please note, that most public stations will also charge you an idling fee if you don’t move your vehicle within a few minutes of reaching a full charge. In addition, all the costs are likely to include taxes and might consist of parking and other fees.
2. Convenience Of Home Charging
Charging your vehicle at home is both cost-efficient and convenient, and it has been demonstrated that the optimal choice is to buy and set up a Level 2 (240-volt) charger.
The time required for Level 2 charging usually falls commonly within the range of 6 to 12 hours, depending on the specific EV model you own and the efficiency of the EVSE you have acquired.
Take a moment to look over your hydro bills and discover the intricacies. Home charging procedure often benefits during hours of reduced demand, when energy consumption rates are approximately half the price of using electricity during peak hours.
Charging rates at home will differ based not only on the time of day you charge, but also the province you're in, the season, and the charging equipment.
Overall, according to Car Nation Canada: the average cost for Canadians to charge electric vehicle at home was $277 per year in March 2022
3. Closing Remarks
There are many important factors to think of in public EV Charging.
- Using a Level 3 fast charger to reach a 100% charge is discouraged as it can potentially damage the battery and lead to premature deterioration. Public chargers are primarily intended for on-the-go, long-distance recharging. For an everyday charging experience, it is advised to opt for a Level 2 home charger.
- Another factor is that both cold and hot weather can negatively affect charging speeds and the battery’s state of health which can cause early deterioration.
- It is challenging to determine all the changing fees when you are using public charging frequently.
Consider locating and depending on public electric vehicle charging stations, their reliability, the accumulation of potential fees, the speed of charging, impact on the battery, and combine these crucial elements to form the overall experience. When you bring all these factors together, the advantages of opting for affordable and highly convenient home charging become distinctly evident.
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