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Charging an Electric Vehicle In Public Can Cost Triple What Fueling Up a “Gas-Guzzler” Does

Public EV charging can be ridiculously expensive. Here is what we paid to add 34 miles to a new 2022 model year EV at an EVgo charger.

Charging an electric vehicle in public can range in price from free to very expensive. When we recently charged a new 2022 Chevrolet Bolt at an EVgo DC fast charger (DCFC) in Bedford, NH, we discover the pricey end of the spectrum can be more than it would cost to fuel a "gas-guzzling" V8-powered muscle car.

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Image of Chevy Bolt charging at EVgo DCFC by John Goreham$10.15 To Add 34 Miles of EV Range
We charged up a Chevy Bolt using the EVgo DC fast charger, and the bill was $10.15. That amount of money added 34 miles of range to the Bolt. So, the cost per mile of energy was 30 cents per mile. Let’s compare that to a 2021 Dodge performance car we tested the prior week.

Image of Dodge Charger by John Goreham

The Dodge had 797 hp, and it returned a combined fuel mileage of 24 MPG in our use on the same route we tested the Bolt. We paid $2.90 per gallon for the gasoline it uses. Doing some “goes in’tahs,” the cost per mile for energy in the muscle car turns out to be 12 cents. Thus, the cost per mile to energize the Bolt was roughly triple what the V8 gas-powered car cost us.

Image of Chevy Bolt charging at EVgo DCFC by John GorehamCharging Etiquette
When charging in public one is supposed to quit charging when one’s EV reaches 80% state of charge. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, the rate at which charge can be added to an EV battery is more rapid below 80% and much more time-consuming as the battery reaches full. Second, EV chargers are in very short supply. We need to ration them.

On my route from the metro Boston area to the lakes region of New Hampshire, there are exactly zero public DC fast chargers. In order to charge at a DCFC, I took a slightly longer by time route to swing by one of only two DCFC charging spots in that area. Google “Henniker NH DC Fast Chargers” if you want to see what I mean about no chargers. I needed to top-off in order to complete the 200+-mile route I was making. So, I broke charger etiquette, and I charged to full.

I also charged at the DCFC because I wanted to test my EVgo membership RFID card and account and see how long the DCFC took to add back miles. Both were successful tests.

Charging For Free
Coincidental to my test, GM was running a free-to-charge promotion day during the week I had the Bolt. I think free anything is great, but I always wonder, what’s the hidden agenda? If charging up an EV is very affordable anyway, why does there need to be a promotion to make it “free?” If Dodge offered free gas to muscle car owners, I suppose folks would jump at the chance for a free fillup. But why make EV charging free?

Chevy Bolt charging poll image by John Goreham

The answer is to get EV owners to the chargers and have them try out the experience. You see, when we poll owners of EVs, most report that they only charge at home, and almost none report using DC fast chargers.
When I plugged into the EVgo DC fast charger, I hadn’t thought about the cost. After all, we constantly hear how affordable EVs are to power up. I have done the math at my own home, and I know that the cost is typically about five to seven cents per mile of range I add back on my home charger using my relatively pricey Boston-area electricity. $10.15 for just 34 miles was a “shock.” Get it, shock. Bet you never heard that in an EV story before.

Related Story: New Hampshire Innkeepers Demonstrate EV-Driving Guest Best Practices

Feel free to tell us in the comments below what you typically pay to charge in public at a DC fast charger and how that cost compares to your cost at home.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin


Mark Day (not verified)    July 12, 2021 - 7:26PM

"The Dodge had 797 hp, and it returned a combined fuel mileage of 24 MPG in our use on the same route we tested the Bolt." Impressive - I think I'll buy a Dodge...

Stephen Rideout (not verified)    July 14, 2021 - 10:42PM

In reply to by Mark Day (not verified)

That's why I wouldn't own a Chevy bolt
Tesla on the other hand has way more advanced technology in the EV industry
That's why they have free charging and the vehicles go way further than any other EV on the market if you're going to buy an EV by Tesla you'll go places fast and a very long ways. Between stops

Graham Ferguson (not verified)    July 17, 2021 - 12:44PM

In reply to by Stephen Rideout (not verified)

You shure dont have a clue what your talking about. Tesla's the big name, but there range when tested is exaggerated. From what i hear and read the kia and nissan have them beat. You go and pay your big bucks for a tesla, OH dont forget to dump it before the warrantee expires, well designed to drive, except the idiots forgot it might need to get serviced. You half to tare the hole car appart to service the batteries or electronics around them. Listened to a tesla not dealer, but a guy that has shops that service electric vehicles. You could be looking at major money to repair tesla vehicles,even minor repairs

David (not verified)    July 18, 2021 - 11:51PM

In reply to by Graham Ferguson (not verified)

The tesla battery is attached to the underside. And only requires a ratchet, and jack to remove.

Models have hit 400k with no major issues. The new model 3 is hitting 180k miles with no major issues.

Caros (not verified)    August 14, 2021 - 6:28PM

In reply to by David (not verified)

Right on, my model 3 has 26000 miles of trouble free driving, only maintenance so far, tire rotation, no much to fail when compared to an ICE car it has less than 50% of parts, plus it’s faster than cars twice the price of a Tesla!

Casey sly (not verified)    July 31, 2021 - 7:45PM

In reply to by Graham Ferguson (not verified)

Lol, your thrnonr that has no clue. Tesla in town are running 20,30% more than their epa range. Nit less. I own one. 210 w hrs per mile easy. 250 in 95 degrees heat.. thr only way u can not get rated range is if you are all over it.

Lon stachowiak (not verified)    December 26, 2021 - 4:07PM

In reply to by Casey sly (not verified)

Yes, this article is clueless and very misleading. You can do way better than evgo at this bias situation. 90% of most EV owners is at home $0.10 to $0.25 per KW in CA. The average EV does 3 to 3.5 miles per KW. This results in a real $0.03 to $0.08 per mile...Nice try dishonest Torque News. I also own gas guzzlers too, I'm honest about both. EV are way cheaper than gas, but gas muscle car are more fun.

John Worsley (not verified)    February 20, 2022 - 9:16AM

In reply to by Lon stachowiak (not verified)

The EvGo stations in NC are few and far between. I use Electrify America when making long trips as well as Chargepoint( meaning 285 or more miles in a day.)

I think The rates in all the 3 networks vary drastically by state. As a member i pay .31cnt/kWh
On The Level 3 DC At Electrify America. This would be The most expensive I ever pay for charging yet still it is cheaper than petrol..I charge at home frequently using a free Level 1 charger plugged in to my 110 outlet The latter cost me a little over .10cnts kWh in my country(home utility rates)...In other words to fully charge up I pay The equivelent of $6.50 which Gets me around 285 travel miles on. Hyundai Kona electric

J David Skinner (not verified)    March 13, 2022 - 11:58AM

In reply to by Lon stachowiak (not verified)

Most kw price comparisons do not include the true cost of electricity. To get true cost you must divide total bill by kw used. In MA 75% of the electric bill is not kw but charges related to delivering electricity unless in a municipal light town

CJ (not verified)    December 3, 2021 - 11:56PM

In reply to by Graham Ferguson (not verified)

I love all the dumb ass comments from clueless people that not only have never owned a EV or a Tesla but know all about them “ from a friend”. Only a fool uses a public for pay charger that charges by the minute. EV’s charge at different rates. Why would anyone pay for energy by the minute when one EV takes 30 minutes to onboard 40 miles of charge. At the same time another “LIKE A TESLA” takes on a 80% up to 100% charge that allow them to go 275 to 300++ miles ( depending on battery pack size) in that same 30 minute time period. The public charging centers are way over priced for the small amount of energy they are providing. I was staying at a hotel that had a public charge out front. It was a level two charger, basically a home wall charger. Which means in the best case it would charge at about 34 mile per hour in a fast charging EV. I was planning on charging overnight to take on 85 kilowatts. The national public charger rate was 15 cents per 30 seconds. A full charge would add up to 18 dollars per hour and I would need 7.2 hous of charge. That would have added up to about 130 dollar for the total charge. You know the public charging company is getting the power at a commercial EV rate, most likely 5 cents per kilowatt. I did not charge and waited until the next morning to charge at a Tesla super charge for 20 minute with a total bill of $10.50
So all you genius’ that say charging EV’s is way more expensive than fill up a muscle car are clueless. EV are way less expensive per mile if you go to a reputable charging station and pay attention to what your doing. The key words here are pay attention to what you’re doing!

You guy that think you muscle car or SUV is less expensive per mile than a EV should keep driving those beauties, just don’t make stupid comments that are clearly out of touch with reality.

Owner of muscle cars, Jags and two Tesla’s.
Yes we own EV’s and we don’t need to talk to a friend who heard from another guy about a EV.

EV Clued In

John Goreham    December 4, 2021 - 9:25AM

In reply to by CJ (not verified)

CJ, first, thank you for your note here validating the story's premise that public charging can be very expensive. Second, thank you for reminding us who charge in public just how much better the Tesla private chargers are for those who have access to them. I think the sentence in your comment that best validates the story is "The public charging centers are way overpriced for the small amount of energy they are providing." Or it might be the line where you say that based on your UNIQUE experience as an EV owner you found that public charging can result in paying"130 dollar for the total charge."

Anthony Nosko (not verified)    February 18, 2022 - 6:15PM

In reply to by John Goreham

Right you are and once everyone has converted to electric power, who will decide the price of the kilowatt hour...and not only will it cost a fortune to charge at a public charger your private power will go up too...the price per kilowwatt hour has jumped significantly here in mn due to the increase in solar power...isn't that supposed to make my power cheaper btw? Anyways I'm sure the cost will go up even more when excel energy puts the axe to all the coal fired power plants. I mean california has brown outs, texas froze last year, but I'm sure the grid is healthy enough to support everyone dumping there gas guzzling cars or electric cars in 3-4 years..and when the hail falls and damages all the solar panels and the wind don't blow we'll be fine.

Sean (not verified)    March 13, 2022 - 6:59PM

In reply to by Anthony Nosko (not verified)

During the TX freeze, the utility was down for 31 hours. With solar and battery I was down for 90 minutes. So, basically, you are wrong. Oh, and was able to keep my car at over 90%.

Paul (not verified)    December 26, 2021 - 8:36AM

In reply to by CJ (not verified)

These articles are written by oil companies and there lobbyists and republicans on the take of big companies. They don’t want their easy money to go away until they find a new source

Jose M. Garcia (not verified)    January 26, 2022 - 2:24AM

In reply to by Paul (not verified)

I agree. Many of these articles are a product of Oil Companies, lobbyist ( Should be illegal) and Republicans, who do not care about clean energy or climate change. In other words the scum of society in the United States .

I have yet to hear anyone who has an electric car (Personal Friends) who would go back yo an Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle.

Askwer (not verified)    March 12, 2022 - 3:52AM

In reply to by Jose M. Garcia (not verified)

Lol energy produced by plants using coal or oil. Or are you thinking of when we clear every forest in the country for the vast solar ajd wind farms we would beed to green energy the entire country. Why do democrats not care about forests? Shut your ignorant self up

Bryan Fullerton (not verified)    March 13, 2022 - 12:09AM

In reply to by Jose M. Garcia (not verified)

Only liberals think conservatives don't care about clean energy. Just because we don't follow the latest trend of hyping ourselves silly over the latest changes in the climate doesn't mean we want to write off clean energy. This article is honestly typical of the narrow minded ways of the liberal mindset. His tunnel vision is typical of liberal rantings based on less than the whole picture. Your liberal sensational ranting of electric or be labeled stupid scum(not in so many words but implied) is not much better. I wanted an electric car from before I could even drive. The fact of the matter is electric cars cannot exist on their own for everyone at this time and not even for the immediate foreseeable future. So you better be glad many people cannot afford electric or prefer gas. It gives you the ability to have functional electric cars.
And yes I have an electric car I charge at home and use for short trips which are the most common thing they are good for. Short city driving trips. 2015 Leaf for those interested.
We also have crewcab dually for hauling everything from hay to car hauling trailers and a full size van for camping and off-road recovery work. Both diesels.

Bob (not verified)    December 26, 2021 - 9:53AM

In reply to by CJ (not verified)

You're not making a good case for owning an EV. Why would someone go through all that? Just to BRAG? EVs suck, the cold eats range, cant tow shit, have to find "the right charging station" in your description to avoid getting ripped off. EVs are great for city folk who drive 4 miles. Try hauling a trailers 500 miles a week in sub zero temps in flyover country with an EV. Not gonna work. Also why would you want to put your freedom of movement into the hands of a car company? Imagine being accused of wrongthink so they just deprogram your car and now you can't drive or charge.

Bob (not verified)    January 25, 2022 - 4:15PM

In reply to by Bob (not verified)

Haha. For the 7 people in the USA who haul a trailer 500 miles a week in sub zero temps in flyover country, an EV isn't a great choice. For 90%+ of the population, it's great.

It maybe crazy to you, but cherry picking situations doesn't mean adoption of EVs will change, or that you have to buy one. Playing the "imagine game" is the argument of a 12 year old.

12 valve diesel (not verified)    February 15, 2022 - 5:08PM

In reply to by Bob (not verified)

Your assuming everyone also drives with just the pinky toe. While 80 percent of us are GTFO of the way an floor it which we all know drops milage. Ev are good for city's and that's it! Not good for working with heavy weights, or cold, or heat. Nor do they like long sustained drives with head winds going over 75mph. Our speed limits are 80mph on freeway average summers over 115 degrees most ev out here can't make it more then a few hundred miles without a full recharge at .23c per kw. So after basic math of the price of a new ev with home charger install and solar an battery back up as that's what code calls for now from tesla. Your into almost 200k. Used diesel pick up, maintance and fuel it would take more then 20 years for the ev to catch even! Basic math wins it for the diesel yet again.

Sr (not verified)    February 16, 2022 - 9:35AM

In reply to by Bob (not verified)

A nice you clearly don't tow this much shouldn't you not comment on things you don't do or know about? Look at the ev owner comments earlier. That towing scenario is done by many every day.
I would love an ev truck but I tow all the time and no EV does that yet.

Kevin Kloha (not verified)    March 12, 2022 - 8:49AM

In reply to by Bob (not verified)

7 people..we're do you live that no one has construction work done ? Up north here we have farms workers truckers ect that pull trailers in bitter cold and we have very few charging stations out here in rural Michigan. We're just not ready out side of major city's

mcdillio (not verified)    February 18, 2022 - 6:46AM

In reply to by Bob (not verified)

You're exactly right, but no one is marketing EVs to people that do that kind of driving, they're marketing them to the exact group of people you mentioned - people with short commutes that can recharge every night. Regarding "deprogramming", they could do the exact same thing with new internal combustion vehicles soon don't really get that argument.

Jacqueline M P… (not verified)    February 18, 2022 - 10:37AM

In reply to by Bob (not verified)

Exactly! Only sad to say this power to shut down car is quickly coming to gas powered cars too. With all car manufacturers trying out lease to use options on cars u BUY. WANT to use that cruise control or heat seats installed on ur vehicle? Welcome to monthly subscription fee to do so. It's not just cars but all appliance , electronics everyone e looking for a way to get everlasting g monthly income from buyers

John Nichols (not verified)    February 19, 2022 - 8:31PM

In reply to by Bob (not verified)

Who ever said the current EV's are perfect for every vehicle need. They aren't, but a Ford F350 isn't perfect for a city commuter either, right? If you've paid attention battery advancements are happening fairly quickly. Five minute charging and very impressive trucks that match towing needs for anyone. I'm sick of hyperbole. We can't escape it.