Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Charging direct current is more expensive than alternating current

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Von: Sebastian Oppenheimer


Anyone who wants to buy an electric car usually asks themselves: How much does charging cost? We have calculated a few examples.

For anyone who has driven a combustion engine for many years, the large price boards at the gas stations have been part of everyday life up until now. Until the 1990s, the numbers were sometimes even reassigned by hand. Fuel prices have long been displayed electronically – there is no other way, as they now seem to be changing every minute. Everything is different with an electric car: There are no big price tags at the charging parks, instead the Stromer drivers can use the corresponding apps. And in contrast to the combustion engine, you can also fill up the Stromer at home – if you have installed a wall box. But for many it is still difficult to assess: What does a charge of electricity actually cost?

A Charging Plug In An E-Car Charging Socket
The prices for charging electric cars can vary greatly. (Iconic image) © IMAGO / Panthermedia

Charging an electric car: How much does it cost to “refuel” once

Unfortunately, the answer is: It depends. The most important variables in the equation are, of course, the price of electricity, the consumption of the vehicle and the size (capacity) of the battery. As with combustion engines, the consumption values ​​​​of electric vehicles differ greatly: economical vehicles need between 15 and 20 kW per 100 kilometers, more powerful models sometimes allow more than 30 kWh per 100 kilometers. Depending on the vehicle, the same route can cost an electric car driver half or twice as much.

Charging an electric car: Significant differences in battery sizes

There are also big differences in the battery: Smaller electric vehicles are mostly on the road with batteries between 30 and 65 kWh. Large Stromers, on the other hand, have batteries with a capacity of up to 100 kWh or even a little more. Accordingly, a full charge for a large electric car is logically more expensive than for a small car with a mini battery.

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But the electricity prices at the charging stations also differ significantly in some cases. In addition, the choice of charging card usually plays a role here. It is currently relatively cheap (as of the beginning of September 2022), for example at the columns in the parking lots of Lidl and Kaufland: A kilowatt hour of alternating current (AC) costs 29 cents here. So if you use Stromer 20 kWh per 100 kilometers, you pay 5.80 euros for this amount of electricity. 50 kWh would cost 14.50 euros here. However, refueling with slow alternating current takes a relatively long time.

Charging an electric car: Faster charging usually costs more

If you drive a larger e-car – and don’t want to wait hours for your vehicle to be fully charged – the only option for you anyway is a fast charger with direct current (DC). The quicker refueling with electricity is usually also more expensive than with AC chargers: Here, a kilowatt hour can sometimes cost more than 70 cents – however, the charging card or the corresponding framework tariff is very important here. If you pay a higher basic fee, you usually fill up cheaper. For example, with an electricity price of 0.75 euros, 20 kWh would cost 15 euros, 50 kWh 37.50 euros and a full charge of 90 kWh 67.50 euros.

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