How to Charge Electric Cars in Public?

How to Charge Electric Cars in Public?

2 7 月, 2024

In today’s growing electric vehicle market, knowing how to charge an EV charger in public places has become an indispensable part. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to let you know how to find a charging station, verify compatibility, start the charging process, and complete the charging safely and efficiently.

What Is Public EV Charging?

Public electric vehicle charging stations, including commercial EV chargers, are facilities that provide charging for electric vehicles in public places. These stations are typically located in areas such as city streets, shopping centers, parking lots, and highway service areas, making it convenient for electric vehicle owners to charge their vehicles when they are away from home. Public charging stations are divided into two types: fast charging (DC EV chargers) and slow charging. Fast chargers can fully charge the vehicle battery in a short period of time, suitable for long-distance travel or emergency charging needs, while slower chargers, such as Level 2 charging stations, are more common in areas where vehicles are parked for longer periods.

Where Can I Find Public Charging Stations?

You can find public charging stations in various places, providing ready access for electric vehicle (EV) owners. Common locations include:

  1. City Streets: An increasing number of charging stations are being installed on public streets in urban areas, providing EV owners with a convenient option to charge their cars while running errands or during the workday. This allows you to easily charge your car while visiting nearby stores, offices, or attractions.
  2. Shopping Centers and Malls: Parking lots at large retail complexes often have dedicated commercial EV chargers, allowing you to charge your EV while shopping. Charging stations are usually located near entrances or in designated green parking areas, making them easy to find.
  3. Parking Lots: Commercial and municipal parking lots often offer Level 2 charging stations. These stations are suitable for people who park their cars for extended periods, such as during the workday or overnight.
  4. Highway Service Areas: Why it’s convenient to travel long distances, highway rest stops and service areas are equipped with fast charging stations. These high-powered chargers are able to provide you with a quick charge of your vehicle’s battery, helping you get back on the road with minimal delays.
  5. Hotels and Restaurants: Many hotels and some restaurants now offer charging stations for the convenience of their guests and customers. This allows you to charge your car during the night or during a meal.
  6. Workplace: Some companies provide charging stations specifically for employees to charge their cars during the workday. This benefit not only supports employees who drive electric vehicles but also enhances the green corporate image.

To find a specific charging station, you can use various online maps and mobile apps designed for this purpose, such as PlugShare, ChargePoint, and Google Maps, which provide real-time information on location, availability, and charger types.

Public Charging Stations

How to Use Public Electric Car Charging Stations?

Using a public electric vehicle charging station is easy. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Find a Charging Station: Use apps like PlugShare, ChargePoint, or Google Maps to find nearby charging stations. These apps provide detailed information about the types of chargers available, where they are located, and whether they are currently in use. By using these apps, you can plan charging stations more effectively, ensuring that charging stations are always available when you need them.
  2. Check Compatibility: Make sure the charging station is compatible with your vehicle. Most sites support multiple connector types, such as CCS, CHAdeMO, and Tesla Superchargers, but it is best to verify in advance. This will avoid inconvenience when arriving at the charging station.
  3. Visit the Website: Some charging sites require a membership card, app, or contactless payment method to start charging. If you don’t have a membership, it is recommended that you sign up in advance to avoid delays. A simple registration process may be provided through their app or website. Having a membership can provide lower charging rates, access to exclusive stations, detailed charging records, etc.
  4. Park and Connect: Once you arrive, park your car at the designated charging point. Make sure to park properly and avoid blocking other locations or obstructing access. Turn off your vehicle and open the charging port. Connect the charging cable to your car, ensuring the connection is secure and properly aligned.
  5. Start Charging: Follow the website’s instructions to start charging. This process involves using an app, swiping a card, or tapping a contactless payment method. Additionally, some stations have a touchscreen that provides step-by-step instructions. Following these instructions ensures proper charging.
  6. Monitor Charging: Follow the charging progress through the station’s display or app. Most apps will notify you when your car is fully charged or if there is a problem. The app can monitor the charging process, which helps you stay informed and ensure you can resolve any issues in a timely manner.
  7. End Charging: Once your car is fully charged, stop charging through the app, card, or touchscreen. Be sure to note when you end charging to avoid being charged an additional fee. Disconnect the charging cable from your car and return it to the charging station holder.
  8. Pay: Payment is usually processed automatically through your app or account. If neither of these methods is available, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the transaction. Make sure you check the charging cost and confirm the payment details to avoid any discrepancies.
  9. Move Your Vehicle Away: To be considerate of other electric vehicle drivers, move your vehicle away from the charging point when charging is completed, especially if the charging station is busy. This will increase the availability of the charging station and promote cooperation in the electric vehicle community.

By following these steps, you can effectively use public EV charging stations and ensure your vehicle is ready for your next journey.

Electric Vehicle Charging App

How Do I Pay for the Charging Station After Charging?

Paying for a charging station after you’re done charging is usually simple. Most charging networks use apps like ChargePoint or PlugShare to automatically process payments through your registered account.

You can also use contactless payment methods directly at the charging station, such as credit/debit cards or mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

If you have a membership card for a particular network, you can swipe or tap to pay. Some charging stations also provide on-screen instructions for manual payment entry.

Additionally, if you have a subscription plan, you may receive an email invoice or monthly charges. Be sure to disconnect and move your car promptly to avoid inactivity fees.


We learned about all aspects of charging an electric vehicle in public places, including how to find a charging station, check compatibility, start the charging process, and complete the charging safely and efficiently. This ensures that electric vehicle owners can charge their cars conveniently and quickly. In addition, various payment methods at charging stations are explored. By understanding these, electric vehicle owners can better utilize public charging facilities and enjoy the convenience brought by electric vehicles.

Related Reading: Are Public EV Charging Stations Free?