Charging Electric Cars Away from Home
Charging Electric Cars
Most owners of electric cars charge their vehicles at home over night or top off their charge while parked at the office. But what about when you need to charge your electric car at the mall, or out on the road somewhere you aren’t familiar with? Fear not, we have the answers in this guide to getting a charge away from home.
As of this writing, there are over 78,500 charging outlets and nearly 25,000 charging stations available for charging electric vehicles in America. Faster charging and more efficient batteries in electric cars means that long distance travel is quickly becoming possible and practical for electric car owners.
How to Charge Electric Cars
Charging in Town
If you need to charge your electric car in a town you’re familiar with, think of where you park most regularly and look for charge points in those locations. You may be able to charge near your gym, grocery stores, schools, libraries or shopping areas and department stores in most towns across America. Frequent top-ups mean you won’t run low or have to wait while your battery recharges from empty.
Level 2 charging stations usually offer 7kW charging, giving 23 to 30 miles of range per hour of charging. Many of these stations are provided to the public free of charge by businesses who use them as an incentive to get you to visit their stores. Remember to always bring along your own charging cable and your smartphone in case you have to download an app to use a charging station.
Charging networks are going out of their way to make it easy to use chargers at locations that are convenient to you. The idea is to make charging effortless for users.
Charging On a Long Trip
On a long journey you may need to stop and recharge your battery. In that case you’ll want to find a Level 3, high-powered DC rapid charger (43-350kW) found at some service stations and car parks. Because they put out a lot of electricity, Level 3 rapid chargers are offered at a cost to the user and can give your electric car an 80% charge in just 30 minutes. The cables for rapid chargers are always tethered to the 43kW-plus units, so you won’t need to use your own cable on these.
However, some Level 3 chargers require that you use an adaptor for different connecting port configurations.
You’ll find electric car charging stations most prevalent in or near areas having a higher concentration of electric cars. They’re typically installed at apartment buildings and public parking garages, retail parking lots, at new-car dealerships, and even on some urban street corners.
Some charging networks require a membership to access their charging units. For instance, Tesla Motors has established an extensive “Supercharger” network of stations at its dealerships and other locations worldwide exclusively for Tesla electric car owners.
If you’re taking an electric car on any kind of road trip, it’s important to plan your route according to where public charging stations are located. You can locate charging stations anywhere in the U.S. by going to the GreenCars Charging Station Map to find stations along your driving route.
Using Charging Networks
There are a growing number of charging station networks such EVgo, Electrify America and ChargePoint to make charging your electric car fast and easy. As an example, by creating a free ChargePoint account online or in the smartphone app, you can find charging stations pretty much anywhere you travel. Once you’re signed up you can charge by using the app or with a credit card.
The app works for both Android and Apple users. Just park your electric car next to a ChargePoint station, use your smartphone to tap it next to the RFID reader. Listen for the beep to unlock the collector, open your charging port door and plug in. Double check to make sure your car is charging before you leave. It’s that easy. You can also check your charging status from your phone at any time. You’ll even get a reminder sent to your phone when your car is done charging. To find ChargePoint stations visit https://na.chargepoint.com/charge_point
You can also find free places to charge using our GreenCars charging network's interactive map.
Getting Charged Up
According to IDTechEx, in 2021 there are over 870,000 public chargers and 4 million private chargers available in the United States supporting over 8.1 million plug-in electric vehicles on the road. By the year 2031, the market for charging infrastructure will rocket to $65 billion to support over 111 million electric vehicles. Charging stations will soon be as plentiful as gas stations across the land to feed our ever-growing need for charging up our electric vehicles. The future looks bright, in fact, it looks electric.
Have more questions? Check out the GreenCars FAQ where we've answered the most frequently asked questions around electric cars.