When it comes to EV charging stations, ChargePoint is considered one of the best. The company has a large network of public and private charging stations and offers hardware, cloud services and support that get top marks from experts.
Electrify America is another big player in the space. Their DC fast charging network is a good option for road trips and is compatible with most EV models.
Home charging stations allow owners to limit or perhaps even eliminate reliance on public charging stations. Typically, these Level 2 chargers provide a full charge in about 10 to 15 hours. Some offer smart features, such as power-sharing, delayed charging, and a mobile app for monitoring and control. Some even enable a bi-directional connection with the electrical grid (also known as vehicle-to-grid or V2G).
There are many options for installing a Level 2 charger in your garage, carport, or other area of your house. Most EV drivers choose to install the unit provided by their automaker, but there are also third-party chargers from companies like eMotorWerks and ChargePoint. The cost to purchase and install a 240-volt, Level 2 charger varies, depending on the amperage needed, how it is hardwired into your home’s electrical system, and any special features that you may want.
Whether you’re shopping for a home charger or considering a business installation, you’ll want to make sure that it is listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Edison Testing Labs (ETL), which indicates compliance with safety standards. You’ll also want to check that it is rated for outdoor use, if necessary. The best EV chargers are also designed to meet UL and ENERGY STAR requirements for energy efficiency.
In addition to ensuring that your charger is listed, you’ll need to determine which charging network you’ll join. Most networks offer a free public charging service, while others have a pay-as-you-go or subscription model. You’ll also need to make sure that your EV supports the network’s connector type, which is either the CHAdeMO or SAE Combo plug.
A 240-volt Level 2 EV charger requires a dedicated circuit of about 25 amps or more. The good news is that most residential electrical systems already have a 240-volt outlet, used for laundry or water heaters. As a result, adding a Level 2 charger to your home is not a significant or expensive project.
Some of the most advanced charging stations are DC fast chargers, which can add a full charge to an electric car’s battery in about an hour. They are expensive to purchase and install, but they can be a worthwhile investment for those who drive long distances. These charging stations can be installed at home or at public charging spots.
There are a number of different EV charging station models on the market, but the best choice depends on your situation. If you own your own home, then installing a level 2 charging station is easy. However, if you live in a condominium or other type of multifamily property, you may have to get permission from the landlord before proceeding. This may be as simple as filling out a form or it might require jumping through a few more hoops, depending on your situation and the rules of the association.
When choosing a level 2 home charger, it’s important to consider the maximum charge rate that your car can accept. This will be listed in the owner’s manual or on a spec sheet. If you’re not sure, you can Google a kilowatts-to-amperes conversion calculator to find out. A charger that can deliver more amps will not damage your car, but you won’t get the fastest possible charge if you choose one that delivers more than your vehicle can handle.
A good level 2 charger will also have a smart feature that can monitor and control your charging session. It can also communicate with your local utility to take advantage of demand response programs and help you save money by charging when electricity is cheapest or most renewable. Some even have voice interfaces that allow you to tell the charger to start charging or stop charging.
If you plan to use a public charging station frequently, it’s a good idea to join a network. This will allow you to locate and use stations that are part of the network, and it will usually provide a smartphone app with information about each charging station, including whether or not it’s occupied. Some networks offer a pay-as-you-go option, while others charge a fee on a per-use or monthly basis.
While it’s possible to charge an EV on a public charger while you’re out and about, a home charger can make a big difference in your EV ownership experience. That’s because you can plug in your car on a regular basis and recharge whenever it’s convenient. You can also charge on a schedule that takes advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours. Plus, you can connect your charger to solar or other renewable energy sources that can save you money on utility costs.
The best electric car charging station are compatible with your EV, and they offer various payment options, including pay-as-you-go and subscription plans. Many also have mobile apps that help EV owners locate and use charging stations. Some have advanced features, like remote monitoring and energy management. Tesla, for example, has a vast network of Superchargers that are compatible with its vehicles. Electrify America and ChargePoint are the second and third best charging station brands, respectively.
Some of the best EV chargers feature smart-home integration that lets you control them via smartphone apps and voice interfaces with systems like Amazon Alexa. You can set charging times, monitor charging stats and track travel costs. Some allow you to load-share two chargers on the same circuit without tripping a breaker. Others can communicate with local utilities to participate in demand response programs or automatically charge when electricity is cheapest and greenest.
You can find EV charging stations at apartment complexes, hotels, restaurants and other public spaces. You can also purchase and install a residential charging station for your home. If you plan on driving an EV for several years, this type of charger will provide a cost-effective way to maintain a full battery.
The most efficient home chargers can charge an EV to 80% in less than an hour, but the best models are faster and are more reliable. If you have a newer EV that’s compatible with fast charging, a DC fast charger from a brand like EVgo or Electrify America can reduce your charge time by up to 40%.
For those relying on the public charging network to help fill up their EV, there are several options. ChargePoint is the largest EV charging network, and they have chargers across the country. You can register with them and use a mobile app or tap to charge-enabled smartphone to access their stations. The company offers both CHAdeMO and SAE Combo plugs, so you can choose the one that works with your car.
Blink is another large charging network with many Level 2 chargers. These appear at apartment complexes, hotels, and stores, among other places. The company recently acquired SemaConnect, a smaller charging network, which increases their footprint. They also have a few fast charging stations, though these only offer 50kW of power.
Another large charging network, Electrify America, has stations in some cities and highway corridors. These can be found near Interstate exits, and they are usually located in the parking lot of a partnering store or restaurant. This network also has some DC fast charging stations that can get you back on the road quickly. You can register with the service and use an app or swipe your credit card to access their stations.
The other big players in the EV charging industry are companies that provide stations and software to make it easier to plug in and recharge. These include ChargePoint, EVgo, and Electrify America. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but they all make it easier for people to drive electric vehicles.
Tesla has its own branded charging stations that are only available for the company’s cars. This makes it easy for Tesla owners to find a charging station, and it ensures that the stations are safe and reliable. The company has also designed its own software to connect drivers with these stations.
Other companies, including EVBox, Enphase, and Wallbox, offer flexible and scalable charging solutions for homes and businesses. These can be hardwired or plugged in to standard outlets, and they typically come with an integrated Wi-Fi connection that allows for remote scheduling, remote start, and reminders. Some EVSEs even support time-of-use metering, which can help you save money by charging at the times when electricity is cheaper.