How expensive is an electric car to charge? It’s a question we get asked a lot by our readers, keen to know just what the impact of electric car ownership will have on their pocket books.

With gasoline cars it’s really easy to keep track of fuel costs. Filling up at the gas station is a discrete process requiring separate financial transactions every time you visit the gas station.

But until smart grid technology allowing for differentiation between electricity used for charging an electric car and electricity consumed in the home, your car’s fuel bill will be part of your household electricity bill.

While cars like the 2011 Nissan Leaf track power usage both when driving and charging, many consumers want to know costs before they make the choice to buy.

Enter Southern California Edison. As part of the utility company’s support of plug-in vehicles, it has just launched a website offering help and information to anyone who already drives, or is considering a plug-in vehicle.

Along with a plug-in ready checklist to help customers get their homes ready for the arrival of a plug-in car, the site allows customers to schedule checks on their home to ensure it has sufficient capacity and space for charging equipment.

But for us, the most helpful part of the site is the Plug-In Car Rate Assistant Tool.

Southern California Edison's Plug-In Car Rate Assistant Tool

Southern California Edison's Plug-In Car Rate Assistant Tool

Opening in a new window on your computer, it asks some simple questions about your home, current vehicle and proposed plug in vehicle to suggest the best package for EV use.

To start the process, enter your Zip code to check that you are within Southern California Edison’s supply area. Then answer questions on your daily power usage now, vehicle type, mileage, use and when you’d like to charge.

The resulting advice only applies to Souther California Edison’s supply area, but it does give some a comparison of how much money you could save when using one of the company’s dedicated EV rate plans.

Here’s hoping more utility companies publish clear plans for EV owners, ensuring the cost of owning an EV is kept simple and predictable.


[Southern California Edison]