With electric vehicles (EVs) becoming more popular in the automotive market, many drivers are struggling to master electric vehicle terminology and how electric cars work. There are different types of electric vehicles, different charging levels, and other similar topics that a driver unfamiliar with electric vehicles can find confusing. For example, a question that may arise is the typical cost to charge a vehicle with Tier 1 charging.

Kilowatt-hours (kWh) as a measure of vehicle efficiency

A plug-in electric EV Taxi connected to a charging station on a residential street in London, England
A plug-in electric Taxi connected to a charging station | Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Most of us are used to thinking about the efficiency of vehicles in terms of fuel efficiency: how many miles per gallon of gas does a car or truck get? Of course, since EVs don’t run on gasoline, their efficiency has to be calculated somewhat differently.

That’s where the kilowatt-hour comes into play. As the Alternative Fuels Data Center explains: “The fuel efficiency of an EV can be measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 miles. To calculate the cost per mile of an EV, you must know the cost of electricity (in dollars per kWh) and the efficiency of the vehicle (how much electricity is used to travel 100 miles). If electricity costs ¢10.7 per kWh and the vehicle consumes 27 kWh to drive 100 miles, the cost per mile is about $0.03.”

A breakdown of Tier 1 electric vehicle charging costs

Curious about how much you could end up spending if you charge your electric vehicle using Level 1 charging through a wall outlet? As is clear from the above, charging your EV through a wall outlet doesn’t have to cost a lot. If you can find access to a standard publicly available socket, it won’t cost you anything (other than time, as Level 1 charging is notoriously slow).

At home, charging your vehicle from a wall outlet will modestly increase your energy bill, but probably not as much as you’d expect, given the low cost per mile of electric vehicle consumption. Kelley Blue Book reminds consumers that their charges will vary widely based on energy costs in their state: Drivers in Maine, for example, will spend nearly twice as much per kWh as those in Wyoming.

Where to find Tier 1 EV charging stations

Because Tier 1 charging stations are standard wall outlets, in a sense, you can find them just about anywhere. Whether you’re at home, in the office, or on the go, you’re probably never too far from a Tier 1 charging station.

Of course, the challenge with Tier 1 charging stations is finding the accessible ones for your vehicle. After all, you can’t use a wall outlet to charge your car unless you can get your vehicle close enough to use it, and exterior wall outlets are certainly less common than interior ones. This means that beyond your own garage, it might take some effort to find a Tier 1 charging station that’s practical enough for you to use.

Given the likelihood of public parking restrictions and other accessibility issues, you’ll generally find it easier to charge your vehicle at home if you want to use Tier 1 charging. The slow speed of Tier 1 charging also makes it faster. suitable for night use at home. However, in a pinch, if you can find a public outdoor wall outlet, you can probably use this type of charging to get enough power to get you to a more powerful charging station, or even back home.