The best way to find electric car charging stations

There are a number of apps that can help you find electric vehicle charging stations along your route, including Open Charge Map, ChargeHub, EVHotels, and EVgo.

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Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

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Looking for an electric vehicle charging station isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a new EV owner. There is a gas station on almost every corner, but finding a public charging station is much more difficult. Luckily, there’s an app for that. 

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The same way you can download an app for your car insurance or a GPS navigator, there are a number of apps designed to help you find a charging station. Whether you are on a long road trip or just on your way to work, an app that shows you where you can charge your car is a vital part of being an EV owner.

Key takeaways

  • There are more than 108,000 EV charging stations across the United States.

  • Apps like Open Charge Map, ChargeHub, EVHotels, and EVgo can help you find EV charging stations.

  • While some of the apps may be more current than others, no one app is perfect, so it is important to research the best app for your car.

  • You can also adjust the settings on your Google Maps account to show you where to find EV charging stations along your route.

Where are most charging stations for electric cars?

Electric vehicle charging stations are being installed all over, with more than 108,000 in the U.S. alone. [1] With more than 34,000 charging ports, California has the largest number of charging stations in the country. 

But California isn’t the only place to charge an electric vehicle — even Alaska, which has the lowest number of public charging stations in the country, has more than 50 charging stations. 

You are likely to find an EV charging station in any number of places, including:

  • Schools and universities

  • Malls

  • Casinos

  • City centers

  • Rest stops

  • National parks

Even some employers have started adding a workplace charging station or two for their employees, making it easier for drivers to have an EV charging session during the workday.

What are the best apps for finding electric car charging stations?

There are multiple apps available to help you find EV charging stations for your electric car and each one is designed slightly differently. For example, some apps are designed for people traveling long distances, while others are designed for people who are looking for 100% renewable energy when charging their car.

Here are some of the most popular mobile apps for finding EV charging stations:

Open Charge Map

Open Charge Map is a non-commercial, non-profit, electric vehicle data service. Unlike other apps, Open Charge Map is easily accessed on the internet, no downloads required. The service is run by volunteers to openly provide information to anyone who wants it (for free!) rather than creating a commercial product.

ChargeHub

ChargeHub aggregates all the charging stations across the country into an app with a customizable profile, allowing you to save filters and customize your notifications. It also provides users with a message board where they can chat with other EV owners, allowing you to reach out to someone and find out if you can unplug their car if they are fully charged so you can use the charging station while they are gone.

EVHotels

EVHotels is an app designed to help electric vehicle owners find hotels that offer charging stations for their guests. They also have additional features, such as finding hotels within walking distance of an EV charging station or finding a freestanding charging station along your travel route.

EVgo

EVgo is a company that builds charging locations across the country that use 100% renewable energy sources. They have more than 850 charging locations and you can use their app to find the ones closest to you.

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Is there one app for all EV charging stations?

There are multiple apps for finding EV charging stations, many of which claim to be the most comprehensive and up-to-date when it comes to finding charging stations across the U.S.. 

While some of the apps may be more current than others, the location and availability of charging stations is constantly changing. New locations are installing charging stations every day, while some current charging stations are adding new features and expanding the types of EV charger they provide. 

No one app can say with any certainty that it is the only one constantly updating their information to make it as accurate as possible, so you can simply choose the app that works best for your needs. EV drivers who want to have the most options may benefit from having an EV charger adapter so they can use more than one style of electric charging station.

What are the different types of EV chargers?

There are a few different types of EV chargers, so when you’re looking to charge your electric car, here’s what you should know:

  • Level 1 and 2 connectors: All electric cars sold in Canada and in the US can charge using this type of plug, including Teslas. The J1772 connector is only available for level 1 and 2 charging.

  • Level 3 connectors: The SAE combo charging system (CCS) and the CHAdeMO are the most commonly used connectors by electric cars manufacturers. These chargers offer fast charging, but they aren’t interchangeable, so it is important to know what type of charger your vehicle has and make sure you are using a compatible charging station. 

  • Tesla charging stations: Tesla also has a unique charging connector used on Tesla charging stations, which means electric cars that aren’t made by Tesla aren’t able to use a Tesla charging station.

How do I get EV charging stations on Google Maps?

Your first step is to let Google Maps know what type of plug your electric car has so it can help you find charging locations that will work with your vehicle. The best way to do this is:

  • Open Google Maps on your device, tap your profile icon in the search bar and select “Settings.”

  • Scroll down and select “Electric Vehicle Settings.”

  • Tap the plus icon to “Add Plugs” and choose the plug type you need for your vehicle.

Once you’ve updated your plug type in Google Maps, you can use the categories listed under the search bar to find EV charging stations along your route. Simply scroll all the way to the right, select the option labeled “More”, and scroll to the services section to find EV charging stations.

You can narrow your search further by sorting the results based on your needs. For example, you can search for EV charging stations that are open now, the top rated EV charging stations, or by distance.

States with the most EV charging stations

There are EV chargers in every state, but with 13,934 stations, California has the most EV charging stations by a huge margin. The map below shows the number of EV charging stations located in each state.

StateNumber of EV chargers
Alabama218
Alaska52
Arizona893
Arkansas169
California13,934
Colorado1,568
Connecticut472
Delaware131
District of Columbia252
Florida2,573
Georgia1,497
Hawaii369
Idaho104
Illinois993
Indiana325
Iowa275
Kansas458
Kentucky224
Louisiana150
Maine368
Maryland1,205
Massachusetts2,183
Michigan979
Minnesota523
Mississippi98
Missouri983
Montana85
Nebraska186
Nevada483
New Hampshire156
New Jersey679
New Mexico179
New York2,827
North Carolina1,041
North Dakota71
Ohio1,027
Oklahoma302
Oregon941
Pennsylvania1,131
Rhode Island262
South Carolina365
South Dakota59
Tennessee617
Texas2,239
Utah850
Vermont323
Virginia1,076
Washington1,626
West Virginia98
Wisconsin394
Wyoming64

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Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

It depends. There are many places that offer free charging for your electric car, so EV owners who charge in those spaces won’t spend anything at all. Other places allow you to charge your vehicle either for a flat fee or a per kWh cost, usually at a much lower cost than filling up an equivalent car with gas.

Can you charge your electric car for free?

Yes, there are some places that offer free charging for your electric car. Some places, like casinos and malls, may offer free charging because they want you to come in and spend money while your car is charging. Other places, like museums and national parks, sometimes offer free charging as a way to entice people to visit.

Can you plug an electric car into a regular outlet?

Yes, electric cars come with a charging cord that allows you to plug them into a regular wall outlet. However, this method of home charging typically takes much longer than plugging into a charging station, so drivers may still want to charge their vehicle away from home from time to time.

Is charging a Tesla cheaper than gas?

According to EnergySage, charging a Tesla is 3.6 times cheaper than filling a gas tank, with average charging costs between $9 and $18 for a full charge. Charging any electric vehicle is typically cheaper than buying gas, but the cost varies based on where and how you charge your electric car.