How to find EV charging stations

Deveshi Gupta
Deveshi Gupta June 25, 2022
Updated 2022/06/25 at 8:07 PM

Are you looking for EV charging stations in your area? Finding a charger requires some knowledge, whether you are thinking about buying one of the best electric cars or you are an existing EV owner traveling to a new territory. EV charging stations, unlike gas stations, do not advertise themselves with large signs.

Finding an EV charger is not difficult if you know where to look, and it is a skill that will only become more useful over time. Many automakers have announced plans to go electric, and at some point, all new vehicles may be required to plug in. You may as well be ahead of the pack.

The good news is that the number of EV charging stations is increasing, especially now that federal funding is being provided to support the construction of new ones. While the situation is far from ideal, you should be able to find a variety of EV charging stations within a driving distance no matter where you go. However, if you suddenly find yourself with a rapidly depleting battery and a car that requires 40-plus minutes of charging before you can get back on the road, it pays to be able to locate an EV charging station as soon as possible. You might even be able to locate a free EV charger, saving you money in the process.

What type of EV charger do you need?

Before you go looking for an EV charger, you should first determine which types of chargers are compatible with your vehicle. This includes understanding what type of charger your vehicle supports and how much power it can handle.

The CCS charging standard is used by the majority of cars, but there are many electric vehicles that do not. Tesla is a notable example, with its North American vehicles employing a proprietary charging connector. That means Teslas cannot use CCS charging stations, and CCS vehicles cannot use Tesla Superchargers. CHAdeMO rapid chargers are used instead by some electric vehicles, most notably the Nissan Leaf and older Japanese EVs.

Because cars and chargers communicate to ensure the correct voltage, charging speed is less of an issue. Make sure you know how long it takes to charge your electric car, and if you have to choose between multiple chargers, go with the one that is best suited to your vehicle. There is no reason why you should not take advantage of faster charging speeds if your vehicle is capable of it. If not, there is little point in taking up space that someone else could use better.

You can find EV charging stations with your car

Electric cars are very modern vehicles with a plethora of high-tech features. The infotainment display is one of them, and it almost always comes with navigation software preinstalled.

In general, that software can direct you to EV charging stations. You need to look for them like you would a gas station or another landmark. Some higher-end EVs can also account for battery levels and will automatically redirect you to a compatible charging station in the middle of your journey.

Tesla is one of the most notable examples, as the automaker makes using anything other than the in-car navigation system extremely difficult. However, if your vehicle has this feature, it makes finding a charger during a long road trip a breeze.

Apps to help you find EV charging stations

While services such as Google Maps and Apple Maps can help you find an EV charging station, the information is often incomplete. These apps are useful in a pinch, but the information is likely to be incomplete or out of date. As a result, you should install a separate app designed specifically to help you find EV chargers.
PlugShare is one of the most popular apps for finding EV charging stations, with 70 percent of EV owners reportedly having this app on their phones. It is available for free on Android, iOS, and the web, and it includes over 140,000 charging stations in the United States and Canada.


Plugshare’s most valuable asset is its community, which has over 300,000 monthly global users who contribute to the app’s information. When combined with the company’s own moderators, this means that everything is generally up to date. Plugshare also includes filters to ensure that you only see the chargers you want to see, a trip planner to make recharging less of a chore, and the ability to pay for power at specific locations without leaving the app.

If Plugshare is not for you, ChargeHub might be worth a look. It functions similarly, but one of the app’s key advantages is that it displays availability information for a large number of chargers in the United States. ChargeHub also has a ‘Passport,’ which allows you to use the app to activate over 3,000 EV charging stations. That means you will not have to install any additional apps or figure out how you are going to pay for anything else.ChargeHub does not appear to be as comprehensive as Plugshare, but it does list all relevant information about each charging station. This includes things like opening hours, price, plug type, and, in some cases, payment methods.


The entire premise of Chargeway is to make finding the right EV charger quick and easy. As a result, the charging station icons on its map are all color-coded. The colors correspond to the type of plug that is available in each location, while the numbers indicate how quickly you can recharge.

There are seven numerical levels, with the higher the number indicating faster-charging speed. Levels 1 and 2 are standard home and public AC chargers that take several hours to recharge. Levels 3-7 are DC rapid chargers that charge in less than an hour. If you have a preference, you can even filter by the network.

So, if you are having trouble understanding all of the new terms and information associated with EV charging, Chargeway may be the simplest way to find a compatible charger.

Charging network apps

If none of the above options appeal to you, you can obtain your information directly from the source. Charging networks rely on drivers paying to recharge, which will not happen if you are unsure where to go.

The disadvantage of using a network-provided app is that it usually does not include chargers from competitors. They will occasionally appear, but it will never be an exhaustive list. However, there are some advantages to using this method. Specifically, in terms of the information available through the apps.

You are almost certainly going to get the most up-to-date pricing and availability information, so you know exactly what to expect when you arrive. Some networks, such as EVgo, will even let you reserve a slot for later in the day, ensuring that you will be able to recharge when you arrive.

In some cases, these apps may be required to pay for your charging session. While this practice is becoming less popular, it still occurs, and it pays to be prepared. Electrify America(opens in new tab), ChargePoint(opens in new tab), EVgo(opens in new tab), Volta(opens in new tab), and EV Connect(opens in new tab) are the most popular charging networks with their own apps.

Tesla’s app(opens in a new tab) also includes a map of destination and Supercharger locations, but these are currently limited to Tesla vehicles. So, if you do not own a Tesla, do not try to plug in.

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