Electric cars (EVs) are not new. Battery-driven, they first appeared during the 1880s, and were as popular as gas-driven vehicles through the early 1900s. Now, a century later, EVs are once again beginning to slowly penetrate the motor vehicle market.
They’d probably be more popular, but they’re expensive and, perhaps more significant, have a limited range, of about 70/miles/battery-charge. Until recently, the lack of EV-charging stations further inhibited their use. That’s changing, as stations are becoming more common.
EV-stations remain few, compared to those for gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. Most EV-charging takes place at owners’ homes. If you take to the road, however, here are the five best places to charge an EV in the United States, based on site-availability.
- CHARGEPOINT – With 2918(+) stations, ChargePoint offers the world’s largest networked EV-charging solution. It is largely a West Coast operation; more than 25% of its stations are in California. However, with at least one station is 40 states, ChargePoint in the nation’s most widely-networked EV-charge provider. Users need to establish an account with ChargePoint, which allows access to all the network’s public stations; 24/7 customer phone/online support..
- BLINK NETWORK – Operated by CarCharging Group, Blink has 1,260 current stations, with a goal of 8,300 nationwide. Also primarily West Coast-based, Blink has stations in 24 states. Like ChargePoint, Blink requires an account and offers 24/7 customer service if you need to access a station.
- SEMACONNECT – With 300 stations in 15 states, SemaConnect is the largest East Coast provider. Open an online, credit card-charged account. Phone support, 9AM-5PM EST.
- TESLA SUPERCHARGERS – Tesla has 80 stations situated throughout the United States. However, only owners of Tesla vehicles – the Model S or SuperCharger – can access this free source of EV-power. Toll-free phone support is available.
- EVGO – Equipped with Level 2 or DC quick-charging options, EVGO currently has stations only in Texas, although expansion to California and Washington, DC is forthcoming. A monthly credit-subscription is required; online support is available.
A sixth option, Aerovironment, is also recommended, with 40 stations in Oregon and Washington. Where EV-charging is not free, customer costs assume either a pay-as-you-go or credit-subscription format, depending on the network.
Just don’t get lost!
May we suggest either the PlugShare or OpenChargeMap APIs for those driving their EVs some distance? They provide readily accessible EV-charging locations, making trip-planning easier and more secure. Also, if you’re new to EV charging make sure you have a suitable charger for your GPS or smartphone!