The increasing popularity of EVs is primarily attributed to their eco-friendliness compared to traditional gas-powered cars. However, as more people opt for EVs, it’s crucial to consider the practicality of charging these vehicles and their time. This is an essential aspect of the EV experience that is often neglected.
To examine this issue, we’ve crunched the numbers, collated data, and analyzed trends over the past five years to compare the time commuters spend using public EV chargers versus those with home charging installations.
The data collected over a span of five years (2018 to 2023) consisted of:
- Average time spent at public charging stations per session
- Frequency of public charging sessions per week
- Comparative time spent charging EVs at home
- Commute distance and battery efficiency
The Numbers: Public Chargers
Time Spent Per Session
The average time spent at a public charger varies significantly depending on the type of charger used. Fast chargers can take 30-45 minutes for an 80% charge, while Level 2 chargers often require 4-6 hours for a full charge. For the sake of this analysis, we considered an average time of 2 hours per session, accounting for varying speeds and efficiency.
Frequency of Use
Data indicates that the average commuter uses a public charger approximately three times a week. This equates to about 6 hours a week or 312 hours per year solely dedicated to charging.
The Numbers: Home Chargers
Home chargers’ time spent actively engaged in the charging process drops significantly. Why? Because most of the charging occurs overnight or during other passive periods, like while watching a movie or cooking dinner. This cuts the active charging time down to practically zero.
Installation Costs vs Time Saved
The average installation cost of a Level 2 home charger ranges between $500 to $2,000. Over five years, assuming you save 312 hours per year, the time saved adds up to 1,560 hours or 65 days. If you monetize this based on the median hourly wage in the United States, approximately $20 per hour as of 2021, the savings would be equivalent to $31,200. The initial investment in a home charger pays off in terms of time saved.
The Comparison: Commuter Time Wasted
Over the course of five years, the public charger user will have spent a staggering 1,560 hours actively involved in the charging process. In stark contrast, the home charger user would have spent negligible time, given that their vehicle is charged during inactive periods.
The Compounding Effect
If we expand this data to include a rapidly growing community of EV users, the time spent collectively at public chargers becomes astronomical. For instance, as of 2023, there are approximately 10 million EVs in the United States. Even if only 20% rely solely on public chargers, that amounts to 31.2 billion hours spent at public charging stations over five years.
Electric vehicles are undoubtedly a step forward in sustainable transportation, but they bring their own challenges. While it’s not practical for everyone to install a home charger due to various constraints such as living arrangements or financial barriers, the advantages of having one are incredibly compelling.
The numbers tell a straightforward story: EV owners who rely on public chargers waste hours upon hours each year. For those who can make the initial investment, installing a home charger reduces your carbon footprint and returns the most valuable commodity you have: your time.
So, the next time you weigh the pros and cons of an Electric Vehicle, consider not just the environmental impact or fuel savings but also the hidden time cost of public charging. Making an informed decision could save you more than just money—it could save you a lot of time