As an EV owner, one of the most important responsibilities that you have is to keep your battery charged within a given range. Consistently keeping it between 20% to 80% charge is the general sweet spot, according to the Green Energy Consumers Alliance. Not only does it help you keep your car’s battery running like new, but it also preserves the range capabilities of your EV.

    But what do you do when you’re out on the road and you find yourself dipping below that range? That’s when a public charging station comes in handy.

    Let’s dive into how you can find your closest charging stations and how you can best plan your road trips to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

How many public EV charging stations are in the US?

For most EV owners, residential charging is usually the way to go due to its convenience and cost. In fact, the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy found that 80% of EV owners choose to charge their vehicles at home for this very reason. However, recent developments in public EV charging may shake those numbers up.

In early 2021, President Biden proposed the American Jobs Plan, which aimed to rebuild the infrastructure of the U.S. by investing in different sectors like transportation, public works and job creation. Included in that plan was also a $15 billion investment pledge to build a national network of 500,000 charging stations — of which 100,000 have already been built. With the sudden increase in public EV charging stations over the next few years, charging your EV in public will be much easier.

Where can I find public EV charging stations?

Already, there are quite a few free applications that you can use to find your nearest EV charging stations.

Here are a few that we would recommend using:

An open source EV charging station locator, PlugShare has a database of more than 160,000 charging stations in the U.S. and Canada. Similar to Yelp, a lot of the data on PlugShare is sourced directly from and reviewed by EV drivers just like yourself. Each entry provides the type of charger at the location, how much it costs per charge and station hours. They even have different status flags for special situations that can indicate if your local charging station is in working order and if they’re currently in use.

An alternative to Plugshare, ChargeHub works in a very similar way by providing a detailed map of EV charging stations near you. Sometimes it can help to use two or more apps in conjunction to get a better idea of each charging station, especially since they both rely on data from the public to run. Don’t make the mistake of driving to an occupied EV charging station if an EV driver updates one app but not the other.

Chances are, you’re familiar with Google Maps as a navigation tool. With the rise of EVs on the road, they’ve quickly updated their software to also include charging stations in their database. Simply type “EV charging stations” into your search bar and the closest ones available will pop up on your map.

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Energy runs their own EV charging finder directly on their website? If you want a more authoritative source to get your information from and don’t mind the outdated user interface, this might be your best bet.

If your phone isn’t working or you’re in an area with a bad signal, another great place to look for an EV charging station would be at government buildings, supermarkets, shopping malls or drugstores. In most cities, these locations usually have an EV charging station available in their parking lots.

What should I look for in an EV charging station?

When you finally pick out an EV charging station to go to, it’s important to jot down what type of EV plugs they have and see if they match up with the type of vehicle you drive. There’s no agreed-upon standard for EV plugs, so make sure you’re familiar with the type that you have and only pick the charging stations that are compatible with yours.

Some types EV plug types are:

  • CHAOdeMO


    NEMA 14-50


Also note how powerful the EV charger at the location is, as it will determine how quickly your vehicle will be in and out of the charging station.