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Electric Vehicle Charging Overview

Learn the differences between the three charging station options and find the average costs for charging at home and on the go

Electric Vehicle Charging Basics

Imagine never having to stop at a gas station again – and instead, having an unlimited supply of fuel available at home or wherever you normally park. For many electric vehicle (EV) drivers, this is a reality. Battery electric vehicles never need gas, and for short trips, plug–in hybrids might use no gas.

EV charging is simple, cost–effective, clean and convenient, particularly when you are plugged in at home – filling up your car, even while you’re asleep.

There are three categories of electric vehicle (EV) charging: Level 1, Level 2 and DC fast charging. Levels 1 and 2 charging use a universal connector that can be plugged into any EV. DC fast charging uses three different connector systems called CHAdeMO, CCS Combo and Tesla Supercharger.

Although EV drivers primarily charge at home, workplace and public chargers are increasingly available in communities nationwide. Use our EV Charging Station Map to find nearby charging stations.

Level 1 Charging

Level 1 is the slowest method of charging but is sufficient for drivers who charge overnight and travel 30–40 miles per day. Charging cables usually come with a vehicle and plug into a standard 120–volt AC outlet with no equipment installation required. Level 1 charging works well for charging at home, work or anywhere a standard outlet is available – and when you have sufficient time to charge.

Level 1 charging adds about 3.5 – 6.5 miles of driving range per hour of charging time.

Level 2 Charging

Level 2 charging is considerably faster, but requires installing a charging station, also known as electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). EVSE requires a dedicated 240–volt or 208–volt electrical circuit, similar to what is required for a clothes dryer or electric range. Level 2 is found at many public and workplace charging stations, but also in many homes. It uses the same standard connector as Level 1 charging, meaning any EV can plug in at any Level 2 charger.

Depending on battery type, charger configuration and circuit capacity, Level 2 charging adds about 14 – 35 miles of range per hour of charging time.

DC Fast Charging

DC fast charging, also called quick charging or supercharging, provides the fastest available fill–up. It requires a 480–volt connection, making DC fast charging unsuitable for home use, and not every EV model is equipped for it. Stations offering DC fast charging are found in shopping centers and often along major travel corridors, allowing EV drivers to charge up quickly and take longer trips. DC fast chargers come with CHAdeMO, CCS or Tesla connector systems.

Depending on battery type, charger configuration and circuit capacity, DC fast charging can add up to 100 miles of range in about 30 minutes of charging time.

Electric Vehicle Charging Costs

Home Charging Costs
The cost to charge your electric vehicle depends on your vehicle’s battery size and the price of electricity where you live. Most utilities offer time–of–use (TOU) rates that greatly reduce costs associated with charging a vehicle at home by charging during off–peak hours. Contact your utility to find out more.1

While electricity costs vary greatly, the average cost of electricity in California is about 15¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh).2 At this price point, charging a 40–kWh battery with a 150–mile range would cost about 4¢ per mile (or about $6 to fully charge). Meanwhile, fueling a 25–mpg gas vehicle at California’s average gas price of $3.53 per gallon3 would cost about 14¢ per mile (or about $21 for enough gas to drive approximately 150 miles).

Public Charging Costs
While charging at home is generally preferred, many people also charge their EV at public charging stations. These stations can be free, pay–as–you–go or subscription-based, and prices are set by networks or property owners. Some vehicle manufacturers, such as Hyundai, Nissan and Tesla also provide complimentary public charging.

One popular public charging network charges members $1.50 per hour to charge on Level 2, and 15¢ per minute for DC fast charging in California.4 At these rates, charging a 40–kWh battery with a 150–mile range would cost about 6¢ per mile on Level 2, and 7¢ per mile for DC fast charging.

For more information about public charging networks, here are some popular options available in California:

1 A list of utility providers is at https://www.energy.ca.gov/almanac/electricity_data/utilities.html
2 https://www.eia.gov/electricity/state
3 https://www.energy.gov/eere/electricvehicles/saving-fuel-and-vehicle-costs
4 https://www.evgo.com/charging-plans/

Charging Station Rebates

Rebates for Residential Level 2 Charging Stations
Many California utility providers and air districts offer rebates to make home Level 2 charging stations more affordable. Some of the rebates also help to offset the cost of installing the charging station at your home if additional electrical work is required. Find available rebates where you live.

Rebates for Commercial EV Charging Stations
Property owners can take advantage of rebates for installing commercial charging stations for public use. EV charging is a desired amenity for many California drivers and can attract more traffic to your business, improve tenant or employee satisfaction and generate a new revenue stream (fees for charging). Following are incentives that decrease the cost of charger purchases and installation. Visit the websites for more information on program eligibility requirements and funding availability.

Utility Incentives

Utility

Program Name

Maximum Rebate Amount

Alameda Municipal Power Level 2 EV Charger Rebate $3,000 per Level 2 charger
Anaheim Public Utilities Plug‐In Electric Vehicle Charger Rebate $10,000 per DC fast charger or $5,000 per Level 2 charger
Burbank Water and Power EV Charger Rebate $5,000 per Level 2 or DC fast charger
City of Palo Alto Utilities EV Charger Rebate $5,000 per Level 2 or DC fast charger
Glendale Water and Power Charging Station Rebate $2,000 per Level 2 charger
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Charge Up LA! $5,000 per Level 2 charger
Marin Clean Energy EV Charging Program $2,500 per Level 2 charger
Pacific Gas and Electric EV Charge Network Installs chargers at multi-unit dwellings and workplaces
Pasadena Water and Power Commercial Charger Incentive Program $6,000 per Level 2 or DC fast charger
Rancho Cucamonga Municipal Utility EV Commercial Charger Rebate $4,000 per Level 2 charger
Redding Electric Utility Commercial Charger Rebates $3,000 per Level 2 or DC fast charger
Sacramento Municipal Utility District Charging Forward $1,500 per Level 2 charger or $120,000 per DC fast charger
San Diego Gas and Electric Power Your Drive Installs chargers at multi-unit dwellings and workplaces
Southern California Edison Charge Ready Program Installs chargers at multi-unit dwellings and workplaces

Air District Incentives

Air District

Program Name

Maximum Rebate Amount

Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Program 80% of infrastructure and installation costs for Level 2 and DC fast chargers
Eastern Kern APCD DMV Grant Program Up to $50,000
El Dorado County Air Quality Management District Motor Vehicle Emission Reduction $5,000 per Level 2 charger
North Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District Go Green! $4,000 per Level 1 charger, $5,000 per Level 2 charger or $8,000 per DC fast charger
San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Charge Up! $6,000 per Level 2 charger or $25,000 per DC fast charger
San Luis Obispo Air Pollution Control District Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program 65% of infrastructure and installation costs for Level 2 and DC fast chargers
Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District Electric Vehicle Charging Station Infrastructure Program $10,000 per Level 2 charger or $20,000 per DC fast charger

State Incentives

Project

Project Name

Maximum Rebate Amount

California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP) Fresno County Incentive Project (FCIP) $7,000 per Level 2 charger
California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP) Southern California Incentive Project (SCIP) $80,000 per DC fast chargers