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As electric vehicles (EVs) are more and more popular, the most common problem or worry that EV drivers have is how to charge their electric cars; where I find electric car charging stations near me; if EV charging stations are widely available in my area; what kind of car charging stations I should use.
Before you ask about where to find electric car chargers nearby, you should get to know about these charging stations more. So read on to find out everything you need to know. Firstly, Let’s go through some charging basics that you need to learn about.
What is an EV charging station?
A charging station is used for electric vehicles to recharge their on-board batteries. An electric vehicle charging station is also called an EV charging point, electric charger, car charger, and EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment).
People would normally assume that “charging stations” and “chargers” are the same things. Technically speaking, the “chargers” are referred to be as the on-board chargers built in the electric cars. We call them “chargers” or “charging stations” in this article because that’s what the public understands. We don’t want to confuse people, but we’d like to clarify that.
Different DC fast charging stations have different charging capabilities varying from 7-270 KW, even up to 350 kW. The charging capability is also limited by the maximum charging power that your vehicles can take.
For example, some vehicles such as Nissan Leaf can only do 50 KW max to charge the batteries and this leads to a longer charging time. But higher-end vehicles such as Porsche Tycan can charge at a whopping 350 KW.
Should I Charge My Car On a DC Fast Charging Station or at Home?
The answer depends on your need, such as how fast do you want to charge your car or how much money are you willing to pay for charging your car?
There are Level 1 and Level 2 chargers that you can install at home. You can use Level 1 chargers at your home by plugging them into your regular household power outlets, but their charging speeds are quite slow.
An improved version, level 2 chargers, are also available to be installed into your garage that can use 240-volt outlets to charge your vehicle with 16-50 amps current. Both of these chargers are cheaper to use than public fast-charging stations, but they take much longer to get your car fully charged. So if you are on a road trip and would like to refill the battery relatively faster, then you would probably want to use a public DC fast charging station.
What Kind of EV Charging Stations are Available When You are On a Road Trip?
EV Charging Stations Near Me
DC Fast Charging Stations – There are multiple kinds of charging stations available so that you are not short of choices: Tesla Superchargers for Tesla vehicles and third-party fast chargers for non-Tesla EVs. The lowest charging power that public chargers can offer is 7 KW. The most frequently used chargers are DC 60KW to 150KW fast chargers that usually takes about 30min-45min to give you a realistic range for your next stretch of the journey.
Shared Home EV Chargers – There are also home charging stations that you can use along your road trip. Because some people add their home charging stations to the PlugShare map and invite you to come charge at their home, so if you are in need of a charge but you can’t make it to the nearest public DC fast charging station, you can charge your EV on those shared home EV chargers.
NEMA 14-5 Electrical Sockets – When there are no public EV charging stations and shared home chargers available nearby, RV parks could be used to charge your electric car as a last resort. Generally, the RV parks have NEMA 14-50 outlets, so you can use almost any Level 2 EV home charger such as ChargePoint Home Flex, Enel X Juicebox Pro 40, Tesla Wall Connector, etc., instead of standard household connections to charge your EV.
Generally, the DC fast chargers are the primary option when you’re travelling long distances. On the other hand, even though it could take potentially hours for a charge on either shared home charging stations or at NEMA 14-5 electrical sockets from RV parks, these charging stations are good alternatives under some circumstances.
What Type of Charging Connectors and Adapters are Used On EV Charging Stations?
In North America, there are two charging connector standards (J1772 and Tesla connectors) for Level 2 charging and three different standards (Combined Charging System (CSS) Combo, CHAdeMO and Tesla connectors) for Level 3 charging.
Charging Connectors and Adapters
Level 2 Charging
|J1772 to Tesla Adapter|
|Tesla to J1772 Adapter|
DC Fast Charging
|CSS1 to Tesla Adapter|
|CHAdemo to Tesla Adapter|
|Level 2 & DC Fast Charging||
J1772 Connector – Firstly, let’s take a look at the J1772 connector, which is the standard connector for all electric cars sold in North America except Tesla.
There are two pins that are used to deliver power. When your electric car is connected to a 120-volt outlet, the three pins of the J1772 connector become hot, neutral, and ground wires separately. When connected to a 240-volt outlet, the connector has two hot pins, a proximity detection, a control pilot, and a ground pin.
The proximity detection is used to detect if a car is plugged in. The control pilot is what is used to negotiate the highest power standard between the charging station and the electric car.
CSS Combo – The CSS Combo, an extension of the J1772, has been adopted by the vast majority of manufacturers, like Ford, GM, Volkswagen, Jaguar, Porsche, etc.
CHAdeMO – The CHAdeMO is a Japanese standard and Nissan Leaf uses this connector type. In the USA, CHAdeMO had been for a long time, but CSS is beginning to outnumber CHAdeMO at a rapid rate.
Tesla Connector – Tesla has their own proprietary connector, which can be used for both AC charging (Level 1 and 2 charging) and DC charging (Level 3 charging). By contrast, The CSS Combo and CHAdeMO are only used for DC fast charging.
To determine which connector your car is compatible with, check your owner’s manual and the manufacturer’s official website, or open the charge door and see which port your car has.
J1772 to Tesla adapter – A J1772 to Tesla adapter comes with each Tesla vehicle so that when you need to charge your Tesla on a third-party home charger, you can connect the adapter and the home charger, and the charger will turn into a Tesla compatible charger instantly.
Tesla to J1772 adapter – A Tesla to J1772 adapter allows you to connect Non-Tesla electric cars to Tesla charging stations. However, the adapter is compatible with Tesla Wall Connector, Tesla Destination Charger, and Tesla Mobile Connector, but it doesn’t work on a Tesla Supercharger.
CHAdeMO / CCS 1 to Tesla adapter – You drive a Tesla, and you can charge your car at a Tesla supercharger, but if there is an emergency on a long road trip, such as you visit a relative or a friend or you have a house somewhere in the mountains where there are no Tesla superchargers, a CHAdeMO to Tesla or CCS 1 to Tesla adapter could help you charge your Tesla on a CHAdeMO/CSS DC fast charging station. Of course, it won’t charge as fast as superchargers do.
Compared with other DC fast charging networks, Tesla is better, but having more options is good. If you needed a few extra miles and maybe in between superchargers or just in an area where there aren’t that many superchargers, it would have been more convenient for you to stop on a road trip at a CCS fast charging station.
Of course, whether it’s worth purchasing a CHAdeMO/CCS 1 to Tesla adapter or not depends on how often you go on road trips and where you drive.
Best Charging Networks Used on EV Charging Stations
Some of them, such as ChargPoint and EVgo create partner roaming agreements to make it convenient for EV drivers to charge their cars wherever they go.
Partner roaming agreements between charging networks allow EV drivers to access other networks without roaming fees and the need to sign up for any additional accounts. For example, if you have an account of ChargePoint network, you can use the network app to charge at an EVgo station; vice versa.
How can I Find a Tesla Supercharger Near Me?
Most people will take Tesla vehicles into considerations when they purchase an electric car. Tesla offers their fast-charging solutions to their customers and they work brilliantly. Most Tesla superchargers are 150 KW V2 chargers which can give you most of the range in under 30 min. Then the natural question that pops up is how I can find Tesla charging stations near me.
Tesla’s supercharging stations are all over the country. Tesla drivers usually plan their trip by using their on-board Trip Planner in their cars and the system will list all the Tesla superchargers that you need to visit to recharge your car along the way to your destination. Or you can use the PlugShare app to locate the nearest Tesla chargers. Each charging session usually takes less than 30 min.
How to Locate the Third-Party DC Fast Charging Stations?
There is a variety of fast DC charging stations available for non-Tesla EV drivers. You can use a smartphone app such as PlugShare to find the fast chargers near you.
The most well-known suppliers of these DC fast chargers are Electrify America, EVgo and ChargePoint. They have their DC fast charging station networks all over the country. And you can conveniently see them show up on a map with the specs of the charging station and whether they are currently available or not.
How does the Electric Car Charging Stations Locator work?
The embedded map is powered by PlugShare.com. PlugShare app is a widely used smartphone app for EV drivers that can help you find charging stations that suit your need.
PlugShare is a map-based EV charging station locator and you can zoom in to find the specific charging station near you. Information of different charging stations includes charging port types, charging power, charging station status, charging station operator, and more.
You can also put your vehicle information into the system to show charging stations that you can use. An integrated payment system for different charging stations is also included in the app.
For example, you are using Electrify America stations at this stop but you are using EVgo charging stations at your next stop, you can pay both of your charging sessions in the PlugShare app without the need of opening a different app.
Just type in a charging station name, or desired location into the search bar, either enter an address, or city, or simply a zip code, and all the charging stations will then be presented in that specific area.
Best Electric Car Charging Stations Maps
Electric car charging stations are being installed constantly. The following charging maps offer extensive search functions to locate public EV chargers.
The PlugShare app is highly recommended to both current EV drivers as well as people looking to get into their first electric car. It is one of the best apps to find EV charging stations nearby.
Open Charge Map is an open-source map for electric vehicle charging locations that some nonprofits, companies, and users support. It’s an awesome alternative way against PlugShare to locate the nearest EV charging stations.
The Alternative Fueling Station Locator service is run by the US Department of Energy. This map app helps you find fueling stations so you can use this app to locate EV charging stations. You may not use this app as your primary map, but it could be an option.
Alternative Options to Find Charging Stations
You can also search EV charging stations near you on Google Maps, but there is much less information about these charging stations and some of them are not even listed on the map.
Some companies like ChargePoint, Flo, and even Tesla provide the availability to find charging stations on their network.
However, PlugShare and Open Charge Map win a higher score on high-quality user experience and become much better options when people try to find the nearest EV charging stations.
All of these applications are available on the web or on iOS and Android. They can help you find the charging stations where you need them.
Notice: Errors and omissions may happen in any of these apps.
When you plan to take a road trip, you’d better plan ahead and make sure where alternative charging stations that work on your EV may exist, so go ahead and give it a shot on our EV charging stations locator
You may also want to know how long it takes to charge your EV to a desirable range on different charging stations; how much it costs to charge your electric car.
We hope this article can help you find electric charging stations wherever you need them.