Young woman recharging electric vehicle

How Much Are Electric Cars? A Complete Guide

Dan Miller4-Minute Read
August 25, 2021

If you're looking to get a new vehicle, you might have questions about electric cars, including their price range. While an electric car will keep you from having to fill up at the gas pump, you'll still have costs from charging your electric car. Like hybrids or gas-powered cars, electric cars vary in price. , There can be a big difference depending on what kind of electric car you're looking for.

This guide will cover the costs of buying and owning an electric car, along with the pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision.

How Much Does An Electric Car Cost?

According to Kelley Blue Book, the average transaction cost for a new electric car in April 2021 was $51,532. That doesn’t include applied consumer incentives or any tax credits for buying an electric car. This represents a premium over new gas-powered vehicles.

While used electric cars are, of course, cheaper than new ones, a used electric car costs more than a comparable gas-powered one. There also aren’t as many of them on the market as gas-powered cars.

Here is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for some common electric vehicles:

  • 2021 Nissan Leaf – $31,670
  • 2021 Hyundai Ioniq – $33.245
  • 2021 Tesla Model 3 – $34,690
  • 2021 Chevrolet Bolt – $36,500

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What Other Costs Are Associated With Owning An Electric Car?

There are several factors besides the purchase price that contribute to the total cost of owning an electric car. Here are some you should consider.

Power

Electric cars run on power instead of fuel, and the cost of powering an electric car is measured by the number of kilowatt-hours the car gets per 100 miles (kWh/100 miles). Just like with MPG (miles per gallon), the EPA publishes the kWh/100 rating for each new car sold. The EPA also publishes a MPGe number which is a rating that can be compared directly against the MPG ratings of a gas-powered car.

One thing that is very important to note is that the charger cost of your electric car can vary based on location and time of day. The average per year cost of fueling an electric car is around half of the yearly price of filling a gas-powered car.

Installing A Home Charging Station

If you buy an electric car, you'll also likely want to buy and install a home charging station. You might wonder how much electric car charging stations cost. The answer depends on a few factors. Your electricity cost of charging the car at home varies based on location and utility company rates.

You can get a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 home charging station. The higher the level of charging station, the faster your electric vehicle will charge and the more expensive it will be to purchase and install.

A Level 1 charging station uses a standard 120V electrical circuit and should cost $300 – $600. A Level 2 or fast charging station uses a 240-volt circuit, and costs $750 – $2,000. Labor costs would be in addition to the cost to purchase your home charging station.

Level 3 charging stations require direct access to the power grid and are not meant for home use.

What Does It Cost To Maintain An Electric Car?

Maintenance costs on an electric car are generally lower than a gas-powered car. While some expenses are the same as gas-powered cars, such as tires, an electric car doesn't have all the same parts that are required in a combustion engine.

For example, they don't need air filter replacements, oil changes or spark plugs. According to AAA, electric vehicles cost around $949 to maintain each year, about $330 less than a gas-powered car.

The Pros And Cons Of Buying An Electric Car

Potential electric car owners should consider the pros and cons of purchasing an electric car as opposed to a traditional gas-powered cars.

The Pros Of Buying An Electric Car

  • Better for the environment. Electric vehicles are better for the environment because they don’t release harmful emissions. While emissions on gas-powered cars have decreased over the past several years, they will likely always cause them due to their design.
  • Less frequent maintenance. Because electric cars do not have an internal combustion engine, they don't require much of the maintenance that gas-powered car owners are used to providing. Electric car owners do not require air or oil filter changes, oil changes or spark plug replacements.
  • Available tax credits. Electric car owners also have access to several federal, state and local tax credits. These credits can be for the purchase of a new or used electric vehicle and vary by location. Check with your state and local tax offices to see what credits might be available to you.

The Cons Of Buying An Electric Car

  • Shorter range than gas-powered cars. Electric cars typically have less range than a comparable gas-powered car. Electric car manufacturers are developing new technology to lessen this issue, but currently you'll have to fuel your electric car more often than you might expect or rely on public charging stations.
  • Longer fuel time. With a Level 1 charger, it can take several hours to fully charge an electric car. This can be a disadvantage those who might be used to spending only a few minutes at a time at a gas pump.
  • Fewer model options. There are fewer electric car models to choose from. This can be a disadvantage for buyers since there is less supply, driving prices higher.

Electric Cars Vs. Hybrid Cars: What’s The Price Difference?

Plug-in hybrid cars are a combination of gas-powered and electric. Generally, hybrid cars have both a battery and a combustion engine. This can make it difficult to compare the costs of owning a hybrid car vs. an electric car.

Hybrid cars typically have lower initial costs than electric cars, but electric cars cost less in the long-term. This is mostly because electric cars have lower maintenance and fuel costs.

The Bottom Line: Calculate The Total Cost Of Owning An Electric Car

If you're looking at buying an electric car, you must include not only the initial cost of purchasing the car, but some of the ongoing costs as well. You'll need to spend additional money to set up a home charging station as well as be aware of any limitations of the car's range. The costs of fueling and maintaining an electric car are generally lower than those of a gas-powered car.

If you are considering buying an electric car, take the next step and decide whether to lease or buy the car.

Rocket AutoSM is here.

Buy or sell your used car, completely online.

Dan Miller

Dan Miller is a freelance writer and founder of PointsWithACrew.com, a site that helps families to travel for free/cheap. His home base is in Cincinnati, but he tries to travel the world as much as possible with his wife and 6 kids.