One of the best things about electric vehicles is the flexibility you have in charging them. You could charge the battery conveniently at home, or search for opportunities to charge in public, especially when your battery is going low, and you are a distance from home where your charging station is.
This article will look at how charging an electric vehicle in public works and the options available.
EV charging is better than refueling an ICE because literally, anybody can offer you charging facilities. Businesses try to attract you as a customer by letting you charge your car while you carry out other activities. For instance, a restaurant could let you plug in and charge while you have your meal, or a hotel could offer you a charger when you stay overnight. Other public buildings or facilities offer chargers as a way to promote zero-emission mobility. This is known as destination charging.
When you detect your battery is running out, you can quickly locate the nearest business with a charging station and top-up your battery. The best part is, destination charging is often free since the business hopes to make money from sales or payment for their services and not from the charging itself.
As more businesses get on the destination charging train, you will have more opportunities to charge your car in public.
Some workplaces offer their staff free charging. Many companies do this to enhance their corporate profile as an environmentally responsible entity or as part of their net-zero carbon emission policy. Sometimes, they offer this as a perk to retain their talented workforce.
If you work in an office with such policies, all you have to do is to plug in when you get to work and get a full battery before the close of work.
This helps keep charging costs low because, with a five work-days week, you will always have enough battery in your car.
It gets better if your car has bi-directional charging tech. This is because when you get home in the evening, you can change your household power source from the grid to your car until you leave for work the next day, meaning you pay less for your domestic electricity consumption!
Public charging networks
Sometimes, you just need to charge your electric car rapidly. This could be necessary when you are on a long trip, perhaps an interstate journey to visit family or a road trip. It is no different than stopping over at a filling station to put more gas in the tank.
Third parties offer a combination of AC and rapid DC charging, and they often run their operations through a network. You can get up to 80 percent change in less than half an hour with the fast chargers.
Popular public charging networks are ChargePoint, EVgo, Electrify America, Volta Charging, Nuvve, etc. Since they usually operate for a profit, you could be required to pay to charge your car.
However, if you own a Tesla car, the company runs its global network called Superchargers. Still, it has committed to opening up it’s more than 25,000 chargers to other brands of electric vehicles.
How to locate public chargers
According to data from the US Department of Energy, there are about 43,000 public charging stations nationwide, with about 120,000 charging ports. The majority of public chargers are Level 2.
While they represent a huge opportunity to charge in public, these chargers are not evenly distributed, and you could have a hard time locating them.
Some businesses list their chargers on the map, and you can locate the closest ones to you that way. However, third-party public charging operators offer smartphone apps that let you find public chargers easily, even with extra info like availability and working status.
Tesla cars can help you plan your route, so you are never too far from a charger.
In the US, all Level 1 and Level 2 chargers use the same connector, forming the majority of destination chargers.
However, when it comes to DC fast charging, there are two types, namely CHAdeMO and CCS. It is essential to know which type your car charging port takes.
Tesla cars use a proprietary connector, but you can get an adaptor to use non-Tesla public chargers.
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