The debate rages on about whether or not driving an electric vehicle is really a cost-saving measure worth entertaining. Tesla electric cars have brought electric vehicles into the mainstream but they raised new questions such as, which battery to choose, where to charge your car, what the time charge time is (obviously not an issue for gas cars), and, of course, how much it will cost to charge your electric vehicle. This article looks at this last question with particular emphasis on Tesla.

Your Tesla’s charging cost depends on how you use your vehicle and what kind of electric vehicle you intend to buy. Fortunately, there are many more options on the market than in years past, including good options by other car makers. Here's how the costs break down across different vehicle types:

How much does it cost to charge a Tesla Model X?

The cost of charging a Tesla Model X depends on whether you are using the free charging offered for this model at the Tesla supercharger stations or another charging station. It also depends on the size of battery pack that you purchased with the car and whether you are fully charging the battery from flat.

The Tesla Model X can be purchased with battery packs of different capacities between 60 to 100-kilowatt hours (kWh).

Let ’s assume you own the Model X with a 100 kWh battery and you pay the national average cost for power across the United States of 13 cents per kWh, then it will cost $13 for a full charge. Given this car has a range of 295 miles, the cost per mile works out to 4.4 cents or $4.40 per 100 miles driven. The exact cost will depend on your electric rate plan pricing from your utility company.

What is the cost of charging a Tesla Model X if you use a home solar-powered charging station?

Charging can be even cheaper if you install a home solar power system because with the current cost of solar panels for houses. Solar power can be produced for just 7 cents per kilowatt hour.

However, the cost of installation for your home may be higher or lower than average. You can generate an online solar cost and savings estimate for your home by entering your zip code and power bill into our solar calculator. We recommend you get solar quotes for your home while the federal solar tax credit is in place - it is scheduled to expire by the end of 2019.

How much will solar panels for your home cost to install?

What is the cost of charging a Tesla using a Level 2 charging station?

The cost of charging an electric vehicle at a Level 2 charging station will depend on what the prevailing electricity prices are in the area and whether the charging station is being run as a community service or a for-profit enterprise.

How much does it cost to charge a Tesla Model S?

The Tesla Model S can be purchased with a battery capacity of between 60 kWh and 85 kWh. If you have a 60 kWh model - which has a range of 208 miles - it costs $9.80 to charge based on electricity prices of 13 cents per kWh. This works out at a similar cost to the Model X, which is a bit surprising given the Model S is a sedan and Model X is an SUV!

How much does it cost to charge an electric car generally?

As you might expect, the cost of electricity varies from place to place, the same way that fuel costs vary across the nation. However, the cost of charging an electric vehicle also reflects differences between charging at home and charging outside of the home.

One recent study conducted by Michigan's Transportation Research Institute took all of these factors into consideration and determined that the average cost to charge an electric vehicle across the nation comes to $485 per year.

Broken down further, that is just over $40 per month. In areas where investment in renewable energy is prevalent, it can be even lower. However, if you find yourself charging away from home often, you might be paying a premium to a third-party charging service.

How much to fuel a gas car vs. how much to charge a Tesla

The same study mentioned above indicated that the average cost to operate an internal combustion engine car was closer to $1,117 per year or $93 per month. Obviously, there is also the matter of range to consider. For instance, a truck that only gets 14 mpg is not the same as fueling a sedan that gets closer to 40 mpg. It is also worth noting that in some parts of the country, fuel costs can be quite outrageous, but those same areas tend to have cheaper electric costs.

What are the different types of cars?

There are several different types of vehicles to compare when considering gas cars versus electric. First are internal combustion engines or ICEs. These include all of the various gasoline, diesel and biofuel options that are currently on the road.

On the other end of the spectrum are battery electric vehicles. These are fully electric cars that operate on battery power alone. While Tesla is the most notable of these brands, we are starting to see more variety like Nissan's Leaf. In between are hybrid electric vehicles of two varieties: plug-in hybrids that you recharge which switch to gasoline after the battery is drained, and hybrids that use gasoline to power a generator which creates electric power.

What are the pros and cons of an ICE gas car?

The upfront cost is usually lower and you can find a wide range of new and used vehicles. Secondly, gas stations are widely available everywhere you go, so you don't have to worry much about running out of gas.

On the downside, gas cars are more expensive to operate in the long run, and those costs are subject to wild fluctuations without much warning. Likewise, they contribute to global warming and other environmental hazards.

What are the pros and cons of electric vehicles?

Electric vehicles are cheaper to operate on an annual basis and can save you a ton of time by allowing you to recharge at home. They are significantly better for the environment, and they have proven that they can be competitive when it comes to power and performance.

On the downside, charging networks can be tricky at first, and you will have to do some extra planning to account for some of the slower charging stops you may encounter.

Which is better: EV or ICE?

Overall, electric vehicles are proving themselves capable, and they will be the way of the future. While this transition is likely to take several decades, electric vehicles are superior for daily driving in almost every way.

The cost breakdown

There are many costs associated with vehicle ownership beyond just the fuel. In the big picture, you are likely to pay slightly more in insurance for an EV than you would an ICE. However, you will save money on maintenance because EVs have almost no wearable parts that require upkeep beyond the tires. You won't have to pay for oil changes, filters, etc. If you choose to invest in a solar garage for your home, you can reduce your charging costs even further to make your EV nearly free to operate. Plus, there are tons of rebates and incentives to reduce the upfront cost of EVs.

How you can make an EV more appealing

EVs are great for just about any kind of regular driving and travel. The only area where they may not fit is towing heavy loads or tasks that require a truck bed. If you are on the fence, you may consider how much time and energy you are currently spending to keep your ICE running properly and what you could save by switching.

If I have to drive an ICE can I still reduce my carbon footprint?

There are plenty of ways to reduce your carbon footprint with your ICE. Simply driving less, biking to work once a week, or choosing a more fuel-efficient option is always good. A hybrid vehicle is a step in the right direction for many people. In addition, you can change your driving habits to include avoiding heavy traffic times and practice driving less aggressively.

Which is the best EV?

The best EV for you will be the one that meets your budget and gives you the range you need for daily tasks. Both the Nissan Leaf and Tesla's Model 3 are affordable options. While Tesla's Supercharger network is very well thought out, not all cities have access to one, so you will need to consider the availability of applicable chargers near you. If you need space and performance, the Model X is great for large families and is priced similarly to other luxury SUVs.

What factors will affect the cost of charging your electric vehicle?

The cost of charging your EV each year will depend on a number of factors including:

  • How many miles will you need to drive in between charging sessions? Choose a model with enough range and capacity to ensure you don’t end up stuck.
  • Budget-conscious buyers can find great models under $35,000, like the Kia Soul EV Consumers with more cash flow might consider investing in more technologically-advanced models like the Tesla Model S.
  • For those in areas that lack dependable public station options, hybrid vehicles allow you to drive longer in between charging sessions.
  • What are you hauling on your daily drives? For those living the single life, a compact Mitsubishi i-MiEV is sporty and light. For a great all-around sedan, consider the Kia Optima. For families on the go, options like the Tesla Model X give you the room and comfort you need to get through your routine.

Do your research before committing to a model to ensure you get exactly what you want.

Electric vehicles are an important part of preserving our common resources. Installing a solar garage to power your home charging station amplifies your efforts and further reduces strain on dwindling oil reserves. Contact a residential solar installation company in your area to find out more about installing a solar garage for your electric vehicle.