A Good EV Charger Map App and Free Charging
Plugshare has the largest comprehensive map of chargers across the US, it gives you what level or wattage they are, reviews of the location with customers’ experience, and real time data on the availability of all the chargers at the particular station. It has all major charging station networks including Tesla Charging Stations which makes this a great backup app to Tesla’s. The app is free.
Consider charging your EV in the state of California. Since CA is green friendly I am sure it’s a great tool for any part of the state. I don’t drive often into the Central Valley or along the coast on Pacific Coast Highway, or from LA through Death Valley or on the way to Barstow, however, but those are the only three or so areas I can think of where you might want to exercise a little more care between chargings to keep an eye on your fuel gauge and this map app. If not mistaken I recently a remember one of my readers telling me I believe on TorqueNews.com about EV driving through Death Valley can be a bit challenging but not impossible. So whether around town or through Death Valley always beware of range.
Now warning: before you folks blow up my Page, I’ve researched the app, I took a look at it on IOS App Store, but I haven’t used it yet. But from what I read, if I had to put a charging app on my phone other than a house branded charging network like Tesla if I owned a Tesla, this probably would be the one for at least a backup that I like to do with all my apps.
So I haven’t reviewed PlugShare as an experience, but I looked into it see if I could get a sense of it. Okay?
But I do know that my colleagues over at Engadget, Clean Technica, and Green Car Reports all have nice things to say about it and with that it gets my vote. I hope this answers the question!
Another issue someone else asked me and let me make this clear it wasn’t Patrick: If there is such a thing. and if so, where can you get free EV charging?
In my journey with electric cars I have yet to hear of a place where EV charging was unconditionally free. Nothing in life is free, and if there is you have to look real hard to find it, and expect it to not last long. Readers chime in if you know otherwise but that might be about killing a tree that no one will be able to get fruit from it ever again:
By asking about free charging, at least for me, that’s the equivalent of asking for free gas, stuff like this doesn’t come free! Juice might be cheaper than gas but giving it for free restricts access to those who are willing to pay and need it. Now the closest thing to free that you might have with EV charging is hooking your car up to a destination charger at a hotel as a guest. Some hospitality places may make that a free amenity, others may charge a guest for use of it.
Let me address the issue of “free” charging on networks like ChargePoint and Volta. Yes technically that’s free charging but not necessarily at the same place at the same time always. These networks give these chargers to the property owners to determine the prices. Sometimes they’re not free all, the time. You need to use their app to find the locations where most of those stations are free and at the right times. Usually but not always, publlic charging stations run by a government entity are free. This is what I mean by you have to sometimes look hard to find something for free and it’s not always guaranteed. Sometimes the locations are so limited it entails leaving your home state to go elsewhere to charge. If something were free all the time then pepople would expect it to be free all the time, as if it were an entitlement. Keep that in mind.
I have heard rumors and again, these are rumors I heard by sources close to the car rental/sharing industry, and one of the things those folks seem to be knocking around is the idea of free charging for anyone at airport car rental locations during the day hours. With a coffee lounge, snack bar etc., you can come in and charge your car free while you wait for a friend or relative to clear customs, you charge your car while you pay and drink coffee or snack, recharge your cell phone, or go to the customer service desk and ask about car services available. This is something similar to the Starbucks and Amazon Bookstore brick and mortar business models. It seems the rental and sharing businesses are looking for a business model where they can make use of the chargers at non-peak times to make money elsewhere. But this is all in speculation idea phase. Again, nothing confirmed or written. And I wouldn’t consider this unconditionally free. The problem and point I’m about to make is that others would.
This reminds me of the peculiar things I’ve seen at Starbucks over the years. I remember one time sitting and drinking coffee when someone came in with a steroided e-bike, and this thing looked like it almost could be either a scooter or motorcycle. The rider actually pulled out an extension cord and began charging! I know that won’t fly at other locations and it wouldn’t surprise me if this rider with a straight face would tell the next Starbucks manager that the last place let him do it!
My point is there’s a difference between an establishment letting you do such a thing, and getting away with it for them to turn a blind eye once. It’s a fine line between amenities and abuse. Please don’t try to push envelopes. That’s being selfish and ruining it for others.
My expertise is in the area of electric and autonomous cars. If you folks have any questions for me about any kind of car, insuring, buying, or financing cars, or the things that can happen while driving in them like when you get ticketed or towed or booted or arrested or broken down come ask me!
Anyone want to chime in about your favorite charging app or PlugShare? Please let us know.