Image of Chevy Bolt charging at EVgo DCFC by John Goreham
John Goreham's picture

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.

Related Story: Big Mistakes To Avoid When Charging an EV In Public

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 Goreham

Charging 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.

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

Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.

Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.


"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...
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
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
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.
If you get a Tesla, you better have a spare vehicle and very, very deep pockets. Repair costs for Teslas are sky high, and things break or fail on Teslas all the time. Out of the top 34 major brands world wide, Tesla ranks 4th least reliable auto maker, and 1st for most defects in a new car. If you manage to find an independent repair shop to fix your Tesla, you run the risk of having exclusive features, like supercharging or autopilot, permanently disabled by the manufacturer. Ask James Klafehn about his Tesla service experience.
Not true. The free electricity at Tesla is a marketing strategy. They do it to sell their cars. It is also at a few stations and charge time is limited. And don't think it is permanent free. Then everybody would be driving EVs. Nothing is for free. By the way, the Mustang Mach E has a much better range and similar charge times than the comparable Tesla model. And build quality is light-years ahead of Tesla. The Mach E is outselling the similar Tesla model by a large margin.
Funny the four mach e owners all got ride of it. And turn it in. Guess you missed the note about mach e needing jump starts cause of 12v battery issies
every time I think about buying the Mach E, I ask myself, how will I use it to go to Florida for vacation. the thought stops there. I'll keep my model 3. I have been all over North America with seamless charging
Every time I think about sitting at charging stations for 4 hours to get from LA to Tacoma I'm glad I have a Honda Civic.
Every time I think about sitting at charging stations for 4 hours to get from LA to Tacoma I'm glad I have a Honda Civic. Electric cars simply move their carbon trail to our mostly coal/natural gas power plants . It's a giant scam.
Tesla stopped offering free supercharging two years ago. Currently, buying a Tesla comes with a trial of 1000 miles of free charging.
LOL ! Keep telling yourself that
Correct. Tesla is not just another electric car, it is innovative at all levels: single punch car chassis, moving beyond induction motors to 20-30% more efficient ones, reinventing batteries with 5x the energy density, over the air software updates, soon linked by Starlink...
But them you have to put up with the crappy build quality if a tesla. I owned one. After 9 months of nothing but problems, I sold it to another unsuspecting person. Tesla is nothing but crappy, overpriced cars with good tech.
Government subsidies don't work Communism at it's best.
True that! We definitely need to stop propping up the oil and gas industries.
Oil & gas companies pay MORE taxes than any others. While green companies thrive off taxpayer subsidies, small oil and gas companies went bankrupt when prices drop as they always have. Go research taxes paid by gas companies.
Tesla no longer offers free charging and Kia's EVs actually get better miles per kW charge than any Tesla (search YouTube for 'we drove EVs until they died').
Stephen, you're comment is incorrect. Tesla doesn't have more advanced charging technology, nor are their chargers free. In fact, since their charging network is closed to other brands, they're able to significantly simplify their design . It's a boon to Tesla and allows them to put on it loads of cheap charging infrastructure quickly, but it does nothing for the plethora of other electric cars out there. Now I'm not saying public chargers should be tripping people off like this, but they are more complex designs so they can provide service to all customers, and more expensive to build, to install, and maintain. That said, Tesla's near monopolization in the US with their closed network and the cast majority of long range BEVs being Tesla is causing huge problems in getting public network the funding they need to upgrade and expand. Tesla is the enemy of public charging infrastructure, and while it may be great for Tesla, it's a headache for the US.
I bought a Dodge Durango RT and I get amazing mileage with it. It’s only the 5.7L HEMI but man, fast as you’ll ever need it, but when you drive nicely, you get excellent gas mileage. I had a 2017 Ram with the same engine and I was getting on average, 700km per tank. Not many cars can do that. I think that’s roughly 14-16mpg?
Your ram has a 26 gallon tank. Every single car in the world can do 700km on a 26 gallon tank, don't misunderstand this as economical or comparable.
14-16 mpg is not good, it's appallingly bad
It's 16.7 .
How big is your tank? :)
How many liters/gallons were in the tank of your Ram? Also, what's the mileage on your Durango?
I own a 2018 Chevy Equinox 1.8L T. When traveling at 80 mph on the highway I get roughly 28-32 mpg, when I lower that speed to 70, I increase to 41 mpg. During my last trip across the country, at night going through texas on i-10, I was able to achieve 55.4mpg at 63 mph. This was on a night with very cold, dense air, and a very smooth brand new section of highway, as well as no head wind. Obviously I will not maintain 50+ mpg consistently, but averaging over 40 seems to be common with my equinox. With a 12 gallon tank, I come right in under at 450m between fill ups when traveling across the country. So, no, the 700km/tank 14-16mpg is extremely low.
Please, can do 800km easy in a 2020 kia hybrid with 12 gal tank and 480 to 800km in a 2nd gen civic hybrid
My Corvette did even better than the referenced Dodge on the highway! This is no surprise to anyone in the know.
And way behind the whole time lol!
Ditto, 09 C6 Penncy to Florida 30 plus always.