How Much Does it Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

Find out what can impact the cost of charging your EV right here with Savvy.

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, updated on March 5th, 2024       

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White Polestar 2 EV charging at public paid charging station in Adelaide

If you own an electric car, perhaps the most important part of operating it is knowing how and where to charge it. With that comes another important question: how much will it cost to charge my car? There are many variables which go into determining the cost of recharging your vehicle, which you can learn all about right here in Savvy’s helpful guide.

What are my charging options if I have an electric car?

In Australia, if you own an electric vehicle (EV), you have several charging options available to keep your vehicle powered and ready for the road. These charging options cater to different needs and lifestyles, offering flexibility and convenience for EV owners. Here are the main options available:

Home charging:

  • Level 1 charging: this involves plugging your car into a standard household electrical outlet using the provided Level 1 charger. While convenient, Level 1 charging is relatively slow at approximately 2kW and typically adds around 10km of range per hour of charging.
  • Level 2 charging: for faster charging at home, you can install a Level 2 charger. This is a faster method starting at 7kW for single-phase chargers and 22kW for three-phase chargers, potentially providing 40km to 130km of range per hour, depending on your car's battery capacity.

Public charging stations:

  • Level 2 charging: many public charging stations, found in shopping centres, car parks and other public areas, offer Level 2 charging. These stations use a 240-volt circuit and provide charging speeds similar to home Level 2 charging.
  • Level 3 charging: also known as fast or rapid charging, Level 3 charging stations deliver high-voltage direct current (DC) to your car's battery. These stations can charge your EV much faster, with outputs of between 150kW and 350kW potentially providing upwards of 200km to as much as 1,000km per hour.

How much will it cost me to charge my electric car?

The cost of charging your EV will be determined by the method of charging you choose. The higher the power of your charger, the more it’s likely to cost, with Level 3 charging generally setting you back the most overall. However, there’s a range of factors beyond this which can impact the overall cost of EV charging, including the following:

Where you live and the available infrastructure

Electricity prices can vary significantly depending on where in Australia you live, so these will go a long way to determining how much you’ll end up paying (particularly if you’re charging at home). However, if you’re looking to use public chargers, you’re limited by the stations available in your area, which may not be the same as in another city, town or state.

Below is a table of the electricity reference prices for a selection of Australian states and territories to show how much it might cost to charge a 60kWh EV battery:

State/territory Reference price (c/kWh) Cost of charging
NSW
48.9478
$29.37
VIC
43.8750
$26.33
Southeast QLD
42.6837
$25.61
SA
56.8187
$31.09
ACT
35.2786
$21.17

Sources: Australian Energy Regulator, Essential Services Commission and ACT Government. Reference prices correct as of July 2023. New South Wales and Victorian prices based on an average across multiple network areas. These numbers are subject to change.

The time at which you use your home charger

If your electricity plan comes with a time-of-use tariff, you can charge your EV more cheaply during off-peak hours (usually 10pm to 7am) than peak hours during the day.

The brand of public charger used

Different brands can charge different prices for charging at public stations. For instance, while some charging stations may come with a certain amount of free charge, you’ll be required to pay for the full charge with others (potentially at a different rate).

The cost of installing a charger in your home

Although it doesn’t directly affect the cost of charging, it’s important to consider how much it’ll set you back to install a charger in your home. Level 2 chargers in particular can set you back thousands of dollars.

Your car’s usable battery capacity

The size of your EV’s usable battery will also impact the time it takes to charge it, which in turn affects the cost of charging. For instance, a car with a 50kWh battery will be quicker to charge to 100% than one with an 80kWh battery.

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