Electric cars are becoming an increasingly popular choice for environmentally-conscious drivers, but one of the challenges of owning an electric vehicle (EV) is finding a place to charge them.
Public charging stations are a convenient option, but it can be frustrating if you arrive at a station only to find that all of the spaces are taken or the chargers are in use.
Here are some of my top tips to help you get the best possible experience from public EV charging stations:
Plan ahead: Before you set out on a trip, use a charging station locator app or website such as Zap-Map to find out where the nearest charging stations are located and whether they are in use. These apps will also tell you the type of chargers (e.g., fast or rapid) and how many spaces are available.
Charge during off-peak hours: Public charging stations can get quite busy during peak hours, so if you can, try to charge your EV during off-peak times. This will give you a better chance of finding an available space and will also be more cost-effective, as some charging networks like Electric Juice have time-of-use pricing that is lower during off-peak hours.
Use a charging network membership: Many public charging networks offer membership programs that give you access to a larger network of charging stations and may offer perks such as reserved parking spaces or discounts on charging fees. For example, InstaVolt has a handy app that enables you to build up points that you can transfer to charging credits.
Follow charging etiquette: If you find yourself at a busy charging station, be considerate of other EV drivers. If you've finished charging (80% is a common target), move your car to make room for others. And if you see that a charger is in use, please don't unplug someone else's car without their permission.
By following these simple tips, you can make the most of your experience at public EV charging stations and ensure that you are always able to keep your electric car charged up and ready to go.