If you are considering buying an electric car (or have just got one!), having access to electric charging stations is vital. Most people install a station in their own home for overnight charging, but there are times when you will need to charge your vehicle when you’re out and about. So, how do you easily find electric charging stations?
How Many Electric Vehicle Charging Points Are There?
The number of electric charging stations is growing all the time, particularly with the government pledging investment in the network at the end of last year. According to Zap Map, there are now over 17,000 charging devices, with just over 30,000 connectors, available publicly in the UK.
Compare this to the number of petrol stations, which is currently around 8,000 with approximately 64,000 pumps, and you can see that the number of locations for charging your car is far higher.
However, the locations of charging points are not always as obvious as petrol stations (and while the main service stations usually have charging points available, not all of them do) and this can be an issue when you’re planning your journey.
Where Can I Charge My Electric Vehicle?
The main places where you can charge your electric car are:
- At home – you can install a dedicated charging point for your vehicle, as long as you have off-street parking. You can also use a standard 3 pin plug (although there is a risk of damage to the plug because they are not designed for the sustained use that comes from charging a car).
- At work – many employers now have charging points installed at work premises. This is a great time to charge your car while you are working.
- At public charging points – these include car parks, supermarkets, service stations and other locations. These are useful for charging your vehicle on the go and for longer journeys.
How Can I Find Electric Charging Stations?
Fortunately, there are several resources you can use to locate electric charging stations. Here are some of the most popular.
Google Maps recently added a feature allowing you to easily find charging stations for your electric vehicle. All you need to do is search for ‘EV charging stations’ on Google Maps. The app will bring up a list of public charging points near you and information about the chargers – so you will know if you will be able to plug your vehicle in. The US site shows whether the charging points are in use or available for some stations – and this technology may be rolled out to the UK in the future too.
When you have selected your chosen charging station, Google Maps can direct you to it from your current location.
There are reviews available too, so you can see whether other visitors recommend the charging point.
If you are using Google Maps to plan your journey anyway, this feature makes it really easy to locate a suitable charging station en route so that you can plan your journey to recharge when you need to.
Zap Map is a leading chargepoint platform, and has over 90,000 visitors each month. Its map is available on desktop, iOS and Android.
As well as showing the location of charge points, Zap Map has an efficient fault reporter, so you can easily see if anyone has had an issue with the charging station, rather than deciphering star ratings. It also has a system for showing whether or not charging points are available.
The information provided is best in places where there is a higher usage of electric vehicles and charge points – for example, in central London. This is because there are far more people using the equipment and so the information is more accurate and up to date.
PlugShare is a charging station locator application, and is the official charging station locator for Nissan’s LEAF EZ-Charge, the HondaLink app and the MyFord mobile app. It is a community based app which allows electric vehicle owners to communicate about their experiences at certain charge points.
It also has photos from users which assist in locating the charge point as you approach it.
PlugShare encourages updates and comments from its users, to keep the information as up to date as possible for other drivers.
What Happens If You Don’t Charge Your Electric Vehicle?
If you don’t charge your electric car, you are at risk of your battery running flat. This can damage your battery – it deteriorates the battery cells and diminishes the performance in the long run. Because of this, it is best to charge your car when it has around 20% battery remaining.
If you do run out of electricity, you will need to be towed to a nearby charging station.
How Can I Get A Charge Point Installed?
If you want to get a charging station installed at home for your electric vehicle, you may be eligible for a grant. RES-EV can help you – just fill in our contact form for a FREE evaluation. We install charging stations across Cheshire and the North West and will be happy to help you.