EV Charging In Public: The Ultimate Guide

Electric vehicles (EVs) have become a popular mode of transportation due to their environmental benefits and fuel efficiency. However, owning an EV requires careful planning and management of the battery’s charge. Public charging stations play a vital role in ensuring that EVs remain charged and ready to go.

In this article, we will provide an ultimate guide to EV charging in public, covering important aspects such as the significance of charging, how to locate public charging stations, and what to look for when selecting a station. To begin with, charging an EV is a crucial aspect of owning one. Regular charging ensures that the battery remains at an optimal level, which, in turn, enhances the performance and longevity of the vehicle.

Furthermore, having access to public charging stations eliminates the range anxiety that EV owners sometimes experience. Knowing where to find a charging station while on the road can be a daunting task, especially for first-time EV owners. Therefore, it is essential to note that public charging stations are available, and locating them is relatively easy with the right resources.

In the following sections, we will explore the various types of public charging stations, how to locate them, and what to consider when selecting a station.

Key Takeaways

  • Public charging stations are crucial for EV drivers without home or business charging stations.
  • Different types and power levels of public charging stations should be considered for safe and effective charging experience.
  • Maintaining charge within 20% to 80% range is crucial to ensure longer battery life and more satisfying driving experience.
  • Planning routes to ensure access to necessary charging infrastructure can help reduce range anxiety.

Thing to Consider with Battery Charging

Maintaining the charge of an EV battery within the recommended range of 20% to 80% is crucial. Charging beyond 80% can lead to a slower charging rate, and charging below 20% can reduce the battery’s lifespan.  This is based on a study of lithium-ion batteries.  Most electronic vehicles have some built-in protections so when you see your battery level drop to near zero, it’s more than likely still at 10% or higher.

In addition to battery lifespan, charging within the recommended range can also improve the overall driving experience of an EV. A battery charged within the recommended range can provide a more consistent and predictable driving range, and can also help reduce range anxiety for drivers.

Public Charging Stations

ev charging pad parking public

ev charging pad parking public

One option for charging an electric car while on the road is to use publicly available charging stations. These stations are typically located in public areas such as parking lots, shopping centers, and rest areas, and provide a convenient way for EV drivers to recharge their vehicles while away from home. Public charging stations come in various types and power levels, and it is essential to choose the right one to ensure a safe and effective charging experience.

To help EV drivers make informed decisions when choosing a public charging station, the table below summarizes the different types of EV plugs and charging speeds commonly found at public charging stations. It is important to note that not all EVs are compatible with every plug type, so drivers should check their vehicle’s manual or consult with their dealership to determine which plug type is compatible with their EV. Furthermore, while higher charging speeds can provide faster charging times, they can also put more stress on the battery and may not be suitable for all EV models.

Plug TypeCharging SpeedCompatible EV Models
CHAdeMOUp to 62.5 kWNissan Leaf, Kia Soul, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, etc.
CCSUp to 350 kWVolkswagen ID.4, Audi e-tron, Porsche Taycan, etc.
TeslaUp to 250 kWTesla Model S, Model X, Model 3, etc.
J1772Up to 19.2 kWChevrolet Bolt, BMW i3, Ford Mustang Mach-E, etc.

Note that a new Tesla will come with a J1772 adapter that you can use with your Tesla connector because this connection is the most popular in US public charging stations.  You can also buy one, like the Lectron adapter here.

CHAdeMO is more common in Japan and while some EV’s come with this connector, they are currently being phased out in the U.S. including public charging stations.  CCS connections are fairly common, you can learn more about these here.

Maps of Charging Stations

us ev charging stations

us ev charging stations

In addition, to plug type and charging speed, drivers should also consider the location and availability of charging stations, as well as any associated fees or memberships required to use them. By taking these factors into account, EV drivers can effectively plan their routes and ensure that they have access to the charging infrastructure they need while on the road.  Here are some great resources for finding charging stations:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average cost of using a public EV charging station?

The average cost of using a public EV charging station varies depending on location and charging speed. In the United States, rates range from $0.12 to $0.60 per kWh, with an average of $0.28 per kWh. Some stations may also charge a flat fee or per-minute rate.

How long does it typically take to fully charge an EV battery at a public charging station?

The time it takes to fully charge an EV battery when EV charging in public depends on the station, charging rate, battery size, and state of charge. Typically, it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours.  As an example, a typical 7.4 kW Level 2 charger is the most common and would take a medium-sized 65 kWh battery about 6 hours to charge.   When it comes to fast charging, using a  DC Fast charger that provides 150kW charging can charge the same battery in 17 minutes.

Are there any restrictions on using public EV charging stations, such as limited hours of operation or maximum time limits?

There may be restrictions when EV charging in public depending on the type of charging station.  You may run into limited hours of operation or maximum time limits, which can vary depending on the location and type of station. It is recommended to check for any restrictions before using a public charging station.

Can EV owners use charging stations from different companies or networks?

EV owners can use charging stations from different companies or networks, but they may need to sign up for multiple accounts or payment methods. The availability of compatible plugs and charging speeds may also vary between networks and stations.   Having to use different apps and set ups is currently one of the drawbacks of the public charging infrastructure as many of the apps are a bit buggy.

How does the availability of public charging stations vary by region or city?

The availability of public charging stations for electric vehicles varies by region and city, with some areas having more options than others. Factors such as population density, government incentives, and local regulations can impact the number and accessibility of charging stations.

EV Public Charging Explained Video

Here is a great video that provides even more tips about charging your electric vehicle in a public station.

EV Charging in Public: Conclusion

The rise of electric vehicles has led to a growing demand for quality EV charging in public and improvements to charging stations.  While there are some issues, the infrastructure keeps getting better.  It reminds me of the late 2000s when cell service was spotty due to the lack of good wireless and mobile connectivity.  In 10 years, public charging should be super easy and very accessible.

For now,  EV owners need to keep their batteries charged within a certain range to avoid running out of power on the road. Public charging stations play a crucial role in ensuring that EVs remain functional and reliable, especially for long-distance travel. By understanding how to find and use these stations, EV owners can enjoy a hassle-free driving experience.

Home charging stations with a 240-V charger offer added convenience and flexibility for EV owners, allowing them to get Level 2 charging of their vehicles at any time. These stations are ideal for daily charging, and can even be integrated with renewable energy sources such as solar panels to reduce carbon emissions.


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