Once you get an electric vehicle, you’ll quickly realize that some of your favorite gas stations don’t offer electric vehicle charging. That’s why Tesla, Electrify America, and many third-party brands have apps to help you locate the best, fastest, or closest EV charging station.
And yes, you can charge your vehicle at home, but when you’re away from home or traveling, you’ll want to take advantage of apps to help you find the best location or fastest solution. So which EV charging station apps should you install and why? This is what drivers need to know.
Benefits of an EV charging app
Electric car owners will quickly realize that they need to plan and prepare to charge the car. And while it’s not easy, it’s not very difficult either. Tesla’s network continues to grow, Rivian is opening new charging stations every day, and there are countless public chargers available if you know where to look.
While we recommend downloading the dedicated app for your manufacturer, like Tesla, Ford, or Rivian, there are also charging network-specific apps like ChargePoint and Electrify America. These show you where each brand has a charger located, and there are countless benefits to using a charging station app on your phone.
These map apps will help you locate the main EV charging networks in your area, give you tips and tricks, show you how far away you are from a charger, and some apps even let you add filters. For example, some apps can show you nearby free charging stations. And who doesn’t love a free load?
The best app to find a charging station
So what apps do you need? Well, that depends on where you live and what vehicle you drive. You can probably use the built-in navigation to find most locations if you have a Tesla. However, these apps will come in handy now that Tesla has released a CSS adapter plug and you can use public chargers.
Whatever electric vehicle you drive, these apps will make your life easier when it comes to charging the battery instead of stopping for gas.
One of the best applications in general is Plugshare. That’s because it offers a bit of everything, has tons of customization and filter options, and is sure to get you back on track as quickly as possible. Plugshare has information on over 620,000 chargers in North America, whether they are public chargers or brands like Electrify America, EV Connect, Tesla, and others. It is a one stop shop app that has it all.
You can also tell the app which vehicle you drive, so it knows which chargers to display based on your needs or compatibility. It’s honestly one of the best options available right now, and every EV owner should have this app. Download it today from the link below.
My favorite is ChargeHub as it has a great interface and lots of useful features. When you first download the app and add your vehicle information, the app has an electric vehicle charging guide for new owners. This will explain the different charging level speeds, connector types, pros and cons and much more for the newbies.
ChargeHub is easy to navigate, with buttons at the bottom to see a map view, trips, community, or your profile. With each tab, you can find nearby stations, schedule a ride, or engage with the community to view reviews, destinations, and other information. Community reviews are great for finding out if a specific charger is fully functional or if you’re better off stopping somewhere else.
One of the largest charger networks besides Tesla is Electrify America. The company is growing rapidly, installing new chargers constantly, not to mention working with automakers to offer incentives to new buyers. And while Plugshare will show you where the nearest Electrify America charging station is, it’s worth downloading the dedicated app.
You can use the app to filter the results to show the closest charger, the fastest charger, whether the charger is currently in use, and more. You can even change the charger output from the app and save money.
Download the app today if you have a KIA or Nissan EV with free charging credits from Electrify America.
Another great aggregation tool that pulls information from all the different brands, networks, chargers, and the community is ChargePoint. It’s similar to Chargehub, so choose which one you like best.
With ChargePoint, you can see a map of almost 200,000 charging ports, filter them by speed, price, location, etc., or see if the charger is currently in use. Many EV owners also have a ChargePoint charger at home, so this app will let you control and interact with it, set reminders, or track usage. It’s a great app that does a little bit of everything.
Finally, we wanted to mention EVgo, as it is an excellent option that improves day by day. And while their charging stations are mostly on the East or West Coast, it will vary depending on where you live.
EVgo has a fantastic user interface, tons of controls and customization, maps, charger type filters, and real-time information about the charging network. Perhaps the best feature of EVgo is the reservation function. You can find a nearby charging station, reserve it up to 20 minutes in advance, then show up and plug it in without waiting in line. It’s quite amazing when you stop at a crowded place.
Is it worth downloading the EV charging station apps?
Yes, you absolutely must download at least one or two different EV charging apps. Not only will you benefit from all of the above, but they are also very useful for other reasons and are an excellent source of information in an emergency. For example, phone apps can often tell you if a charger is a level 2 station or has level 3 DC fast charging available. That will make a world of difference on a road trip. Or, if you’re about to run out of juice, you can find none possible charger nearby.
Some of the apps detailed here today will confirm if the charger is currently in use, which is useful when a location only has one or two available. Plus, some brands will even let you reserve an EV charger in advance, so you won’t have to wait any longer on a road trip.
Owners can check rates before they arrive and choose to go elsewhere, search for free chargers, monitor the vehicle and the charging process, or see the kilowatts available at a specific stop.
Instead of asking Google or Apple Maps where the nearest EV charger is, take advantage of apps with detailed, vehicle-specific information. Try one on your next trip.