Where Do I Charge My Electric Car?

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Whether you are a veteran Electric Vehicle (EV) driver or recently acquired your new EV, it is important to know where to charge your electric car. Typically, EVs can be charged in a residential EV charging station overnight, in the workplace using medium to high power rate AC EV chargers, or at a public charging station using AC or DC high power rate EV chargers.

Figure 1: EV Charging

If you want to know all the available EV charging options for you, this article will be of great help. Here we tackle important items on the best EV charging places, allowing you to know where to charge your electric car battery the next time you are low on the range, learning about EV charging at home, work, and public charging stations, and even how to find the best public charging stations near you.

Where Is An Electric Car Charged?

If you ever wondered where can I charge my electric car? The answer is simple, electric cars need to be recharged at EV charging stations. These are either AC or DC charging devices that deliver power through an EV connector plugged into the EV charging socket at your vehicle

AC EV charging stations are classified as Level 1 (around 1 kW) and Level 2 (7 – 19 kW) EV charging stations, usually used for residential and workplace charging, but they can also be used for public applications. These types of chargers deliver AC power converted into DC at the on-board EV charger that is installed in your vehicle. This component also limits the maximum power rate for AC charging.

DC Fast Charging (DCFC) stations are classified as Level 3 (50 – 350 kW) charging stations, almost exclusively used for public applications. New residential EV chargers are designed to deliver DC power, but they are Level 2 EV chargers. During DC charging, the AC power is converted to DC externally, and this DC power is delivered directly to the battery, being limited by the Battery Management System (BMS).

Charging At Home

One of the most common places to consider when you are wondering where do I charge my electric car is at your own home. Level 2 residential EV chargers can be installed using single-phase or three-phase connections, delivering 7 kW up to 19 kW, to charge a full Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) in 4 to 10 hours.

Since residential EV charging takes 4 to 10 hours, you can easily plug in your vehicle at night and let it charge overnight until morning. To install a level 2 EV charger you only need to have the available power capacity at your service panel and install a dedicated circuit to deliver power to the charging device.

Level 1 EV chargers can be used for residential purposes, but they deliver around 1 kW of AC power to the vehicle, taking them 40 to 50 hours to charge a BEV. These types of chargers are not usually a suitable option for most applications, being left only for emergencies as portable EV chargers.

Charging At Work

For those wondering where can you charge electric cars aside from home, the answer is: at work! While many residential buildings still do not allow EV charging at the parking lot, several companies are already implementing workplace EV charging for their employees. This allows employees to top-up their EV batteries, especially useful for employees living far from work.

Charging at the workplace requires a Level 2 EV charging station specially designed for it, featuring a high power rate and usually (but not exclusively) operated by an EV charging network operator. To access these charging stations you might need a Radio Frequency ID (RFID) card or access to the app of the network operator.

Workplace EV charging stations take a really short time to charge an EV and will notify you via the app when your vehicle is ready. In most cases, you will have to move the vehicle to grant access to your coworkers to the EV charging stall, allowing every EV driver in the workplace to enjoy this benefit.

Charging Out And About – At Public Charging Stations

Finally, among the places where to charge electric cars we must also include public EV charging stations. There are many EV charging stations located around the U.S., granting your access to relatively cheap EV charging, and the only thing you need is the mobile app of the EV charging network operator.

Some of the most popular network operators in the U.S. include Blink, Chargepoint, Electrify America, EVGO, Tesla, and Volta. To charge at the locations you need to register at the app, set up a payment option, and start charging your vehicle. Some network operators charge by the hour and others by the kWh, but in most cases you need to pay a membership fee to access lower charging fees.

Where Can I Find My Nearest Public Charging Stations?

Now you know where can you charge an electric car in every possible scenario. Residential and workplace EV charging are great options, but if you do not have access to them or if you are on the road, you can just charge at public charging stations.

In case you are wondering where can I charge my electric car and do not know where the nearest public EV charging station is located, there is no need to worry. There are two ways to find them:

1. Use the EV charging operator app. These will help you find the location of the nearest public charging station.

2. Use the map at the website of the U.S. Department of Energy or PlugShare. These allow you to search EV charging stations across all the U.S. and Canada as well as in other countries. To use it, you only need to set the search parameters and you will find the best option near you. 

Nick Zamanov
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Nick Zamanov is a head of sales and business development at Cyber Switching. He is an expert in EV infrastructure space and he is an EV enthusiast since 2012, Since then Nick strongly believed that electric vehicles would eventually replace Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars.

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