Need to Find an Electric Vehicle Charging Station? Try These Tips

December 5, 2023 • Shannon Flynn


Electric vehicles are becoming much more popular and accessible, but some people still worry about being able to find a charging station when they need it. If you can relate, we’ve got you covered, and you’ll soon learn it’s easier than you might think. 

Use the Government’s Search Tool

The U.S. Department of Energy has a search interface you can use to find charging stations throughout the United States and Canada. As of October 2023, there were more than 68,000 options, with many spread throughout the respective countries. 

You can also narrow the options by specifying different types of chargers or connections to match your vehicle. That’s important since there are three charging equipment levels, and each one has different associated speeds. 

The accessibility and user-friendliness of the government’s interface make it handy if you’re planning a road trip or otherwise need to locate a charging station in areas you don’t know well. 

Find a Private Renter 

As many parts of the world scale up electric vehicle availability, some people have found there are far more cars than charging points. It’ll be a while before public infrastructure expands enough to address those growing pains. 

So, it’s not surprising that some enterprising-minded people have offered charging station rentals from their homes. That usually happens when they partner with a dedicated service that makes it easier for people to advertise or find charging points. 

A representative from justCHARGE, a company headquartered in Slovenia, pointed out how most people only use their home chargers 10% of the time, opening additional income opportunities. 

The peer-to-peer charging market was already worth $35.5 million in 2021, according to a Grand View Research report. The analysis also anticipated a 22.3% compound annual growth rate from 2023 to 2030. 

It’s too early to say whether charging station rentals will gain momentum across the globe. Some people may initially balk at having to go onto a stranger’s property or into their garage to charge a vehicle. But when drivers need the service in areas without sufficient public infrastructure, many may at least give it a try. 

Let the Charging Station Come to You 

People associated with some charging technology companies realize not all customers can find power points in time. That typically happens when drivers miscalculate how much longer a battery will last before it needs recharging. 

So, the most practical solution is to design portable charging stations that people can bring to drivers in need. One trial of a charging station called Ziggy occurred at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas and surrounding areas. 

That product works with geofencing technology, and the idea is that it mostly operates in a specific area. That might mean a particular parking lot at the airport or a nearby apartment complex. However, the key point is that Ziggy can go directly to a car that needs charging. 

Review Crowdsourced Information

Even as charging station accessibility gradually rises within the United States, the infrastructure still needs significant improvements and investments. Consider how a 2023 survey revealed a 16-point drop in satisfaction among people accessing Level 2 public chargers. That shift only happened within a year. It’s also worth noting that Level 2 chargers are the most commonly available around the world. 

Another unfortunate finding from the study was that 1 in 5 people leave charging stations without having their vehicle batteries replenished. Station outages were the main reason. Some people were also dissatisfied by high costs and slow charging speeds, or having to find things to do while their cars charge. 

However, some apps offer crowdsourced details to help potential users learn about things such as an out-of-order charging station. Earlier in 2023, the Waze app rolled out that information. The hope is that people will get updated information more quickly, thanks to fellow users. 

Rent a Car That Comes With Charging Station Access

Many people are interested in electric cars, but they’re not ready to take the plunge by purchasing them. Rental options fill the gap by giving people ample opportunities to test them for days or weeks. They can then use that real-world experience to decide if they could see themselves as future electric car owners. 

Some companies even address customers’ potential range anxiety by giving them access to charging points when they rent electric vehicles. Sixt is a company headquartered in Germany that provides people with access to a charging network containing hundreds of thousands of charging points across Europe. Customers can also receive monthly bills reflecting their usage. 

The company is also making headway in the United States, thanks to a recent partnership with the Chicago Bulls basketball team. Executives have identified the country as one of SIXT’s largest global markets. 

Visit a National Park in the United States

National parks in the United States are arguably among the country’s most valuable resources. They allow people to enjoy nature while exploring trails, looking for wildlife and camping under the stars. There’s also a dedicated campaign to improve charging station access at these destinations.

People created a new interactive tool, taking inspiration from manual data-collection efforts that began in 1991. They built the charging map with 11 APIs that populated the tool more quickly than people could by hand. 

The resulting resource shows users the charging stations associated with or on the way to one of the country’s more than 400 national parks. This tool is like the one mentioned earlier because it allows people to filter the results by charger type. They can also get details about public opening hours for each location. 

Similarly, people have advocated for adding more electric vehicle charges to other well-traveled areas, such as destinations along the iconic Route 66. There’s still more progress to make. For example, the national park charging tool only has 90 locations so far. But the easier it is for vacationers and others to find places to charge their cars, the more adventurous they’ll feel about upcoming trips. 

Charging Station Access Is Expanding

Many people are open to renting or buying an electric car. However, some worry about how charging points are not yet as easy to find as gas stations. These tips show you still have some options, and getting your car’s battery recharged will become even easier with time.