Find a station
With the increasing popularity of EVs, as well as clean energy goals of municipalities, businesses and some government agencies, the nation’s EV charging network is growing – and that’s only going to continue. In 2020 there were some 43,000 publicly accessible EV charging stations nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center. You can put range anxiety to sleep knowing there are tools to locate your next charge.
If you already have Google Maps on your phone, you’re ahead of the game. In late 2018, Google announced it would support searches for EV charging stations on the Google Maps app. All you need to do is type “EV Charging Stations” or a related term into the search bar, and you’ll see a list of stations near you. Also included: the plug type, whether it’s free or paid, and how many chargers are available.
PlugShare is one of the more popular apps for EV drivers. It provides information about public charging stations around the world and allows users to post check-ins, ratings and reviews. It also allows you to filter by your charger type and even provides a trip planner tool.
ChargeHub is a communityaugmented charger finding app that allows you to see charge type, find out if a charger is available, add your own personal charger to the network to share the love, and even pay for charging using the app. The ChargeHub website offers discounts on EV products, savings calculators, a trip planner and lots of EV-related content.
If you’re a Tesla owner, you’re really missing out if you’re not using the Tesla app. Not only does it link you up with Superchargers on your route, it also works as a veritable remote control for your car. It allows you to check charging progress and start or stop charging, heat or cool your car before getting into it, lock or unlock your car from afar, and more. Non-Tesla owner, the only reason to download this app is to stoke your Tesla envy.
Join these charging networks
One of the main complicating factors in EV charging on the road is that many different companies own and operate their own charging stations, and many of those companies require you to be a member in order to use the station. Those memberships are often free, but you’ll want to sign up for them in advance and either get the membership card or download the company’s app. You’ll preload your credit card info so that when you get to the charging station, you can scan your card or the app and get charging.
There are also some free stations available – often at governmentowned facilities like libraries or recreation centers, or at grocery stores. But they tend to be popular, so you shouldn’t rely on them as your only option for on-the-go charging.
Here are some of the most popular charging networks. See which ones operate near you and decide which one you’d like to sign up for.
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