Electric cars — great, fun, quick, clean, smooth, quiet, convenient to charge at home and work. But wait, what’s life like with an electric car? How do you charge? Where do you charge? What do you need to charge? How do you protect the most valuable component of the car — the battery?
After living with an electric car for a month or two, there are a handful of basic intro points regarding charging an electric car that I think help to get anyone new to electric car life rolling.
1. Home Charging & Workplace Charging
At home, there are basically two options for charging your car. First of all, you can plug into any normal electricity outlet. Yes, a normal electricity outlet. That’s what they call “trickle charging,” because it just offers a trickle of electricity at a time, but it can still charge your car!
A preferred option for most electric car drivers is to get a “home charging station” or “EVSE.” One of these can charge the car considerably faster, and can basically assure that your car is at 100% every morning … except that you probably don’t want it to be at 100% every morning (it’s best to keep the battery charge between 40% and 80% — not that it’s not okay to charge to 100%, but like your computer, tablet, and smartphone batteries, the battery will hold up better in the long term the more you keep it around 50%).
You can check out home EV charging station options here.
Approximately as convenient as home charging is workplace charging. Many employers are now installing charging stations for their EV-driving staff. If you work a normal workday, like home charging, simply plugging in when you get to work and unplugging when you leave would probably cover ~99% of your charging needs.
2. Other “Destination” Charging
The convenience of an electric car is that you can charge it at your destination. The vast majority of charging is done at home and at work since those are the places people spend the most time. If you have charging options in these places, you just spend a few moments plugging in and unplugging whenever you need to.
Other places where you spend a considerable amount of time are increasingly putting in charging stations as well — hotels, shopping centers, grocery stores, IKEA, etc. Again, one of the core benefits is the ability to charge at your normal destinations (if they are progressive enough to put in charging stations by the time you are driving electric).
3. How to Find a Charging Station
Of course, you need to find these charging stations in order to be able to charge at them. The most popular service for finding charging stations is surely PlugShare, but EV Charge Hub is a very similar option with its own set of pros and cons. Choose your favorite — or use both!
Basically, these apps/websites show you charging stations of all types, varieties, flavors, and colors. If you need to find a charging station when you’re out on the road or planning a trip, they are the place to go.