The cost to charge electric cars: Your local guide to EV charging costs in WA
As petrol prices continue to fluctuate, a growing number of WA drivers are considering making the switch to become EV owners. The cheapest way to charge electric cars (which are also called electric vehicles or EVs) depends on a range of factors. Here, we’ll explore those costs, including electric car charging at home and typically how much electric car charging stations cost.
The first thing to take into consideration is that EV batteries vary in their size and charge capacity. This means different charging times – and costs – for different EV batteries.
Electric car charging at home
Charging your EV at home is the most common and convenient choice if you’re like most EV drivers. You can simply plug in when you are at home and leave your car to charge during the day or overnight. According to Australia’s Electric Vehicle Council, 80% of the world’s EV drivers choose to charge their EV at home.
Charging your EV at times that are most convenient for you i.e. overnight while you are sleeping, while you are working from home, etc. means that charging happens in the background, and doesn't require you to set aside time for a dedicated trip to a petrol station.
The only thing that you may need to adjust are some habits to make sure that you are charging at a time that is not just convenient, but also when it is most cost efficient, so you could potentially reduce your charging costs.
Depending on what type of electricity plan or tariff you are on, the cost to charge your EV at home will vary. Below are a few typical scenarios to help you explore the potential costs of charging your EV at home.
Charging at home using the standard flat rate electricity price
If you’re on our standard Home Plan, you pay the regulated flat-rate Synergy tariff (also known as the A1 tariff), so it is easy to work out the cost of charging your EV at home (excluding the daily supply charge), as your electricity prices per kilowatt hour (kWh) stay the same no matter what time of the day you charge.
Let’s say you are on the Home Plan (A1) and have an electric vehicle with a 60kWh battery and for comparison purposes you are adding 80%* of the battery capacity during the charge. Based on the current electricity charge on the Home Plan (A1) you can use the following equation:
0.300605 (electricity charge in cents per unit) x 48 (80% of battery size in kWh) = $14.43*^
Charging at home with time of use electricity
Time of use (TOU) electricity plans have different electricity charges or prices at different times of day, so the cost of charging your EV at home will vary depending on the time of day the charge occurs. Using the same assumptions as for the Home Plan (A1) above, you can calculate the cost of charging at home based on different times of day on a time of use electricity plan.
Our Midday Saver Plan# has three time periods with three different electricity charges:
- Super Off Peak (9am to 3pm)
- Peak (3pm to 9pm)
- Off Peak (9pm to 9am)
Along the same lines, our Synergy EV Add On Plan$ has four time periods but is designed for EV drivers, with one additional time period than the Midday Saver Plan available if you prefer charging your EV overnight:
- Super Off Peak (9am to 3pm)
- Peak (3pm to 9pm)
- Off Peak (6am to 9am / 9pm to 11pm)
- Overnight (11pm to 6am)
Below are comparisons of the estimated costs^ of charging at home on the Midday Saver Plan# and EV Add On Plan$, based on a 60kWh EV battery size and charging the battery from empty to 80%* (excluding the daily supply charge):
Midday Saver Plan#
Estimated Charging Cost^#$
|Peak electricity charge – 50.0000 cents per unit||$24.00^#|
|Super Off Peak electricity charge – 8.0000 cents per unit||$3.84^#|
|Off Peak electricity charge – 22.0000 cents per unit||$10.56^#|
EV Add On Plan$
|Peak electricity charge – 50.0000 cents per unit||$24.00^$|
|Super Off Peak electricity charge – 8.0000 cents per unit||$3.84^$
|Off Peak electricity charge – 22.0000 cents per unit||$10.56^$
|Overnight electricity charge – 18.0000 cents per unit||$8.64^$
Another benefit of charging your EV in the middle of the day during the Super Off Peak time periods on either the Midday Saver or EV Add On Plan, is that you will also be doing your bit to help manage peak demand and helping to support the WA electricity grid.
Charging at home if you have a solar PV system
If you have a solar PV system installed at your home, you could charge your EV when the sun is shining to help make the most of the renewable energy your system is generating. Your system will generate the most electricity when the sun is strongest, which is generally between 10am and 2pm each day here in WA. If you work from home or often spend the middle of the day parked at home, this could be the most cost-efficient way to charge your EV, as you are making the most of the renewable energy your system is generating.
Electric car charging at home: Other costs you may need to consider
In general, there are two types of EV charging:
- AC - alternating current, which is slower
- DC - direct current, which is faster
AC is the type of electricity you have at home that you use when you plug your electric appliances such as your toaster, washing machine or kettle into a power point.
AC can be used for EV charging at home using a standard home power point. Something to keep in mind is that you will only have access to 1.4kW to 2.4kW of power flowing through at any given time. An EV with a 60kWh battery size, means it would take between 25 and 45 hours to fully charge.~
With a charging time that roughly equates to about 15km per hour of charge, AC charging may only be suitable for ad-hoc ‘top-ups’ rather than full charges. It may also work well for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) where the batteries are a lot smaller than a fully electric car. A PHEV’s driving range is also impacted by their internal combustion engine (ICE) and regenerative braking.
If you’re looking for a faster method of charging at home, you could explore investing in a EV charger installed at your home, which might suit your home, budget and type of EV. These types of EV chargers are often referred to as ‘Level 2’ or wall-box chargers and provide AC fast charging for EVs. They are sometimes offered as part of a bundle with the purchase of an EV, however they can often involve an upfront investment, but it could be worth it in terms of convenience if you prefer to charge your EV at home.
Installing an EV charger at home increases the rate of electricity flow for an AC charge, meaning that your EV will charge at a faster rate compared to a standard power outlet or wall plug. There are a number of different sizes of home EV chargers available, including 7.2kW options, which use standard 240V single-phase wiring with costs from around $1,000 to buy. Using a 7.2kW EV charger could reduce your charging time to around 15 hours for an EV with a 60kWh battery size.~
Before you decide which type of AC fast charger to get, it is important to keep in mind that some EVs, predominantly PHEVS, will only charge at a maximum rate of 3.6kW or 7.6kW, so investing money into a larger EV charger may not be worth it. Just remember, the AC charging capacity of an EV is variable, so these figures are only a guide.
When you buy an EV, your salesperson should be able to advise the type of EV chargers that could be most suited to your driving and charging habits, and those that are compatible with your EV make and model.
Charging your EV away from home
If you’ve been wondering what EV charging stations cost, it depends where you go and what kind of EV you own.
A public EV charging station may not be as easy to find as a petrol station when you’re on the road – but the number of public EV charging stations is quickly growing. Many EV drivers use mobile apps such as Plugshare which can help you find your nearest EV charging station.
Just like petrol stations, EV charging stations are owned and managed by different companies, so the cost to charge your EV can vary depending on where you charge. The cost can also vary depending on what type of EV charger you use, in the same way that unleaded petrol and premium unleaded petrol are charged at different rates.
To help you compare the costs of charging your EV, here are some example costs associated with some of the most common EV charging provider companies in WA to help you to compare%:
Charging Type and Rate%
Cost for an 80% charge for a 60kWh battery%^
|Chargefox||0 - 30c/kWh for Standard AC chargers (up to 22kW per hour)%||Up to $14.40%^|
|Chargefox||45c/kWh for Rapid DC chargers (up to 50kW)%||$21.60%^|
|Chargefox||60c/kWh for Ultra-Rapid DC chargers (up to 350kW)%||$28.80%^|
|Tesla||Free Destination AC chargers (up to 22kW)%||$0%^|
|Tesla||63c/kWh for Superchargers (120kW or 250kW)%||$30.24%^|
|Evie||40c/kWh Rapid DC chargers (up to 50kW)%||$19.20%^|
It is important to note that the cost to charge an EV at a public charging station are subject to change and vary between providers, charger types and locations. Using an app like Plugshare can be a great way to find out more information on current charging costs and convenient charging locations near you.
Most EV drivers charge their car at home overnight and use public charging stations for top-ups or when driving long distances. It’s rare for EV drivers to complete a full charge when they’re out and about.
Understanding different EV chargers
You may have noticed that chargers charge per kWh (kilowatt hour) but say that they work up to a certain kW amount, such as the Chargefox Rapid DC chargers, which cost on average 45 cents per kWh up to 50kW in Australia.%
A kilowatt-hour (kWh) and a kilowatt (kW) are both units of measurement for electricity – but the important difference is that a kWh reflects the total amount of electricity used, while a kW reflects the rate of electricity usage.
For example, if you were using a Chargefox charger which runs up to 50kW, when you are charging, that maximum amount of energy it will be charging with at any one time is 50kW. So if you run the charger for an hour, your battery will be topped up with 50kWh.
To work out how long a certain charger is likely to take, you can use the following equation:
Duration = Battery capacity (kWh) divided by charger power (kW)
As an example, a car with a 60kWh battery using a 22 kW charger would take this time to fully charge:
Duration = 60 / 22 = 2.7 hours~
With an EV battery size of 60kWh, in this example it would take 2.7 hours using a charger running at 22kW to charge, assuming it runs at full rate the whole time.~ If you wanted to charge at a faster rate, you could choose an ultra-rapid DC charger which runs up to 350kW. This could potentially charge your 60kWh EV battery in just over 10 minutes.~ It is important to note as well that EV charging best practice is that you don’t let your battery drain to below 20% and that you charge up to 80% rather than to full to reduce the risk of battery degradation.
With either charger, you are still receiving the same amount of electricity, but the costs would vary depending on the time it takes to charge your EV.
Cost to charge electric cars compared with buying petrol
Different costs can apply to EV charging at home and at public EV charging stations. Now, you might be curious to learn how this compares to buying petrol to fuel an internal combustion engine (ICE) car.
Using our examples above, for an average sized EV with a 60kWh battery to be fully charged, the cost could vary between $3.84 when charged at home on either the Midday Saver Plan# or EV Add On Plan$ at Super Off Peak rates, up to $30.24% with the most expensive public charging option (Tesla Superchargers).
If we look at the cost compared to fuel, the cost of unleaded petrol continues to fluctuate – but in this example let’s consider a cost of around $1.70 per litre in Perth. Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) release on fuel consumption showed that in 2020, passenger vehicles in Australia used 11.1L/100km on average, so if we use the average driving range of a 60kWh EV – which is roughly 400km – it would cost around $75.50+ for petrol to fuel a car to achieve a similar driving range:
Number of litres of petrol to drive 400km: 11.1x4= 44.4 litres
Cost of petrol to drive 400km : 44.4 litres x $1.70 = $75.48+
This is based on a petrol price of $1.70 a litre, which can be at the lower end of the scale of the petrol price fluctuations we’re seeing here in WA.
The number of EV owners across Australia is set to keep growing. Many car manufacturers are transitioning from ICE vehicles to electrification to help meet emissions standards imposed by Governments and regulators over the next decade – and many countries already have plans in place to eventually phase out new ICE vehicle sales altogether.
In WA, the amount of public EV infrastructure is growing, with Australia’s longest electric vehicle network now under construction in WA. The WA EV Network is set to add 98 EV charging stations across the State.
In the future, as more WA drivers become EV owners, we expect EV prices will drop as competition increases and technology evolves. Along the way, the common concerns about EV driving range, and charger location and availability are also likely to become less of an obstacle to EV ownership.
The cost to charge your EV compared to refuelling an ICE car is just one of the many reasons why people chose an electric vehicle for their next car. Explore more reasons why you should consider switching to an EV.
* EV charging best practice is to not let your battery drain to below 20% and only charge up to 80% rather than full. Draining an EV battery empty or charging to 100% regularly can put strain on the battery and can cause degradation.
^ Estimated cost to charge provided for illustrative purposes only based on the facts stated for comparative purposes only and does not include daily supply charges and other applicable costs, fees or charges that may be payable.
# The Midday Saver Plan is available for residential customers only, and to be eligible a compatible meter or reprogramming of an existing meter is required. The Synergy Standard Electricity Agreement Terms and Conditions apply to the Midday Saver Plan. All prices are correct as at 1 March 2023, include GST and are subject to change at any time. Synergy calculates its tariffs to four decimal places. Electricity is charged in cents per ‘unit’ unless otherwise specified. A ‘unit’ is one kilowatt-hour (kWh).
$ Eligibility criteria and the Synergy Standard Electricity Agreement Terms and Conditions apply to the EV Add On Plan. All prices are correct as at 1 March 2023, include GST and are subject to change at any time. Synergy calculates its tariffs to four decimal places. Electricity is charged in cents per ‘unit’ unless otherwise specified. A ‘unit’ is one kilowatt-hour (kWh).
% Cost sourced from article published by Drive.com.au available at https://www.drive.com.au/caradvice/how-much-does-it-cost-to-charge-an-electric-car-in-australia/ as at 23 March 2023. The cost to charge at a public EV charging station are subject to change can vary between providers, charger types and locations. Pricing information may not be current. Check EV charging station provider websites prior to use for current pricing information.
~ Calculated charge time is an estimation provided for illustrative purposes only and does not take into account real world factors.
+ The example is provided for illustrative purposes only based on electricity and petrol prices and characteristics of new vehicles recently observed by Synergy. All costs are estimations based on the facts stated for comparative purposes only. Actual running costs, driving range and fuel / energy use are dependent on a number of factors including how vehicles are used and will vary across all vehicles.
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