Find An Electric-Car Charging Station: How Do I Do It?

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Polar Charging Post and Nissan Leaf

Polar Charging Post and Nissan Leaf

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Here's the situation: You've bought, or are planning to buy an electric car.

You've done the math, figured out the vehicle you want, and know that 80 percent of your charging will be done at home.

But what about the other 20 percent? Luckily, finding those electric car charging stations isn't as difficult as you might think. In fact, some may even say it's pretty easy--but there's no harm in seeking a few pointers.

Internet search engines

If you're reading this, then you're already connected to a vast resource perfect for finding your nearest charging station: the internet.

As long as you know where you want to be, finding a station is easy. Type "San Diego charging stations" into Google for example, and the first four or five hits all provide you with details on exactly where to find the nearest electric car charging location. You'll usually get an address, zip code and information on the type of charger--even information on whether it's currently operational.

In addition, you may find internet searches return hits for charging network providers themselves--a handy future resource you can then access directly in the future.

Mobile applications

If you own a smartphone--and as an electric car owner, we'd be surprised if you didn't--you'll have access to dozens of charging station apps through your phone manufacturer or provider's dedicated application store.

Apple users can access the App Store, for example--and a search for "charging stations" returns dozens of applications dedicated to finding your nearest charger. Most use the phone's in-built location services.

Some are more comprehensive than others, with certain apps (those for dedicated networks, for example) showing only that network's sites. But others, like Open Charge Map, use global, user-inputted data on charging locations for maximum coverage.

In-car data

Finding your nearest charging station could be as simple as getting in your car and switching it on.

Many electric vehicles these days feature in-built navigation systems. Not only do these sometimes show your remaining range on a map scale, but they'll often display the location of nearby charging points too.

Such systems are more of a backup than a definitive reference to fall back on--it's better knowing where you're expecting to charge in advance, rather than using your navigation system as a last resort when you only have three miles of range remaining--but it's certainly convenient.

Word of mouth!

Still struggling to find nearby charging stations, or chargers at a location you're intending to visit?

Good news--as an electric car owner, you're part of a growing community only too happy to help those new to the concept. Head on to internet forums or specialist websites and speak to other owners in the know. They might even be able to inform you of off-the-map locations, and some might even be kind enough to suggest you use their home charger, if you're lucky.

Whichever method you choose, finding a new charging station will soon be no more difficult than finding your local gas station.

And of course, most of the time you'll still be plugging in at home...

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Find An Electric-Car Charging Station: How Do I Do It?
 
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