Guide to EV Charging Stations
With the U.S. setting a target to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions, more and more EVs will begin to fill up the roadways. Just like your current car needs to stop at a gas station every once in a while, an EV must stop at a similar spot to get it full of energy. These EV charging stations may soon have just as many locations as traditional gas stations, and new EV drivers will need to know what they are and how they work.
What is an EV Charging Station?
An electric vehicle charging station is a device that allows EV drivers to charge up their vehicles so they can continue operating. Think of an EV station like a gas station; in the same way that an internal combustion engine car needs gas for fuel, EVs power up with electricity. Whether installed at someone's home or on commercial property, EV chargers allow electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to fill up their batteries and get back on the road.
So how does EV charging work? Basically, EV chargers send electric currents from a 240v outlet or grid directly into your vehicle. Like plugging your phone into an outlet, you plug your car in and wait for your battery to fill up. These stations charge vehicles at various speeds depending on their charging level.
How Long Does it Take to Charge an EV?
Electric vehicles can take a long time to charge, depending on your vehicle, charger, and a few other criteria. In fact, some electric vehicles take upwards of 60 hours to charge from empty to full, but the average time for an in-home charger is approximately 5-6 hours for a full battery. How fast your specific EV charges depends on several factors, including:
- Charging Station Power: Different stations have varied charging power capabilities. A small in-home station will have trouble with a commercial charger installed by a large company, even if your vehicle has a higher charging rate. The set-up you have at home usually won't have more than a level 1 outlet, while commercial stations can be a much higher level.
- The Size of Your Battery: Some vehicles have larger batteries than others, so they'll need more time to charge than EVs with a lower battery capacity. Your battery's capacity will be measured in kilowatt-hours, or kWh; the more kWh your battery can store, the longer the charge time will be. A bigger battery will also require a higher level of output. Charging a high-kWh battery at your home with a level 1 outlet may take a long time; you'll need to account for this when considering overall charge times.
- How Full Your Battery Is: You wouldn't drive a gas-powered car far past the fuel light warning, and EVs are no different. Most drivers will charge up their vehicles well before their batteries get empty, as doing so could leave them stranded if they can't find a charging station in time. With batteries, the first 20% and last 20% take the longest to charge. So beyond the fact that there is more battery space to charge up, an empty battery will take longer due to the extra effort it takes to get energy from the outlet.
- Your Vehicle's Charging Rate: Depending on your electric vehicle's manufacturer and model type, you'll have a different charging rate than other owners. A battery can only accept so much charge at once, so even if you use higher-level charging stations, the rate at which your vehicle can soak up energy will remain the same. Information on your vehicle's charge rate should be available from your dealership or through the manufacturer's official website.
What Companies Make EV Charging Stations?
Dozens of companies make EV charging stations with different locations and levels available worldwide. These companies include:
One of the most recognizable EV companies on the planet, Tesla is also one of the most prolific electric car charging station creators. Tesla owns and operates a network of chargers located all around the world known as Superchargers. With over 35,000 individual chargers and more than 4500 sites, these Superchargers can be found near most major highways, freeways, and other arterial roads. Tesla also makes chargers for home, office, and retail purposes. For the most part, their charging devices are designed specifically for use in Tesla brand vehicles.
Next to Tesla, Chargepoint has created one of the largest global EV charging networks. In addition to charging stations, Chargepoint integrates hardware, offers cloud services, and maintains a 24/7 tech support line that customers can contact. The company has delivered hundreds of millions of charges, facilitated by its network of over 60,000 EV charging stations.
You've probably seen many Shell gas stations in your life, but did you know they also run EV charging stations? As an energy company with a history stretching over 100 years, Shell has begun to turn their eyes away from fossil fuels and toward the future. With an established network of stations already created, Shell is quickly becoming one of the biggest EV charging companies worldwide. They are also making their way into the home, business, and retail charging markets, as well as mobile chargers for on-the-road battery fill-ups.
Which States Have EV Charging Stations?
As of 2022, hundreds of thousands of charging ports in the United States are servicing millions of EVs of all types. With public charging stations available in every state, here are a few areas with the highest number of EV charging ports.
- California: California currently has the highest number of charging stations, with over 15,000, accounting for over 28% of the U.S. total.
- New York: New York state has the second most charging stations with 3,085, accounting for 5.8% of the U.S. total.
- Florida: Florida has the third most charging stations, with 2,858, accounting for 5.4% of the U.S. total.
- Texas: Texas has the fourth most charging stations, with 2,419, accounting for 4.6% of the U.S. total.
- Massachusetts: Massachusetts has the fifth most charging stations, with 2,328, accounting for 4.4% of the U.S. total.
With More EV Charging Stations Than Ever, EVs are Becoming More Convenient
The adoption of EV technology is spreading, and the market for electric vehicles is growing. If you are looking into buying a used EV, you can get more information about any available model with a vehicle history report. These reports can help you find better deals and give you essential details like accident history, specification data, and the number of previous owners.
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