Charging a battery isn’t something you think about on a daily basis unless of course, you own an electric vehicle. When you own an electric car, you don’t have to worry about stopping to fill up with gas on your way home from work. However, you might need to stop and plug your car in.
The problem is that there may not be a charging station close enough to you at all times. While charging stations are growing in number and popularity, other concerns crop up such as how long it will take, how much it will cost and is there is a connection that will fit your particular vehicle.
This article will examine the charging stations, their locations, popularity and give you the information you need to learn how to locate the ones nearest you.
Electric Car Charging Stations
When you first purchase your electric car, you will also need to think about how to keep it charged. There are fast chargers, rapid chargers and standard chargers for your home. Most of these will use a converter box to convert the power from your wall outlet to charge the battery in the car.
However, when you are on the go, you can’t really take everything you need with you. You instead rely on charging stations that companies and manufacturers place throughout your city. These stations work similar to a gas pump except that they refill your electric car’s battery.
One of the initial issues is how long the recharge takes and how much do you need to get where you are going. In a standard charger that you would use at home, it will take about 10 hours to recharge the battery to full. If you require a full charge while away from home, this can be a major inconvenience.
Luckily, there are rapid chargers, such as those provided by Nissan and Tesla. With a rapid charger, you can get about 80 percent charged in just over half an hour. While this is still considerably longer than filling a tank with gas, you aren’t tethered to a single spot for over half a day.
One popular option is to locate a charger near your destination and charge while you are away. For example, there are charging stations located in a lot of parking lots at malls and in central areas to city centers, etc. You pay to park and plug your car in while you go shopping or grab a bite to eat.
While you may not get a full charge, you should receive enough to keep your battery full or at least make it home. Knowing where these charging stations are is vital to electric car ownership. Unlike gas-powered vehicles, if you run out of battery on the side of the road, you can’t just pop the trunk and refill the tank with a gas can.
Charging Stations for Electric Cars
The good news is that charging stations for electric cars are growing in number every day. As of this writing, there are reported stations at over 50,000 locations nationwide. While this may sound like a lot (and it is), it is still not near enough to fill the demand for charging stations away from homes. According to reports, electric car sales are up almost 50 percent in 2017, which saw near 200,000 sales. The demand for public charging stations grows by the day.
Types and Concerns
There are a few types of charging stations and just like with different models of electric cars; there are different types of charging connectors. It is important to know what type of connector you need and where charging stations that use these connectors are.
The good news is that even with competing manufacture of electric cars from Nissan, Ford, Honda and the rest, most of the connector types are the same. So even if you pull into a charging station, you can be almost certain your connector type is available for use.
One of the most popular types, obviously, is the rapid charging stations. These were created and installed by both Nissan and Tesla across the country to get you back on the road quicker. Depending on your battery level you can quickly charge enough battery to make it home or to your next destination.
Solar Charging Stations
Another popular option is a solar charging station. These large stations comprise of solar panels, steel plates and connectors. The idea is that they can be installed virtually anywhere for off-grid charging.
The main issue is their huge cost and installation space. Not many businesses can afford to install them with such limited use. As the sales of electric cars increase, though, this number should improve.
You can use apps and websites to locate all types of charging stations from standard, to quick or even solar. There are websites dedicated to helping you find the closest charging station and getting you back on the road.
A quick search and you will find yourself having a nice lunch or shopping trip while your car recharges its battery for the ride home.
Public Electric Car Charging Stations
Almost all charging stations are public electric car charging stations and can be used by anyone at any time. You will find proprietary use in some instances and prices for charging will vary. However, in a crunch, knowing that a public charging station is nearby can be a huge relief.
Because the electric cars don’t have quite the same range as their gas-powered counterparts, the need for more and more charging stations is crucial. The average range for most electric cars is between 150 and 200 miles.
For daily commutes to and from work or the store or gym, this is plenty, and you can even go a few days without recharging if needed. However, for longer trips, sightseeing or just getting out of town for a few days, you will need to plan ahead.
You will need to carefully plan your route and allow enough time to recharge your batteries while on the road. Knowing where charging stations are located is important. Without careful planning, your road trip may end up being a nightmare.
Until industrial designers and engineers can maximize the battery life and expand the range of our electric cars, we will rely on public charging stations to refuel while we are on the go. In this instance, especially if time is important, gas-powered vehicles will still continue to be the basis of road trips and far travel.
The demand is being met and it won’t be very long before electric car charging stations are as normal and numerous as gas stations. Once we can overcome the charging time issue, it will become even more popular.
While electric cars are still a work in progress, the progress is rapid. With statisticians and industry experts reporting that we will see a major increase in electric cars over the next two decades, we should also see an exponential increase in the number of charging stations and options.
We may even be able to make portable charging stations that we can carry with us like an extra gas can in the trunk. The world of possibilities lies before us and with electric cars gaining momentum, reducing the need for petroleum-based products, not only will we have more economical means of transportation, but a cleaner environment and less air pollution as a result.
Electric car charging stations are emerging based on demand and desire. It is in the publics best interest to continue to join electric car groups and push for legislation that will help increase the numbers of public electric car charging stations.
As long as we continue to maintain standards for connectors, locations and keep various options open, we should see an increase from the current 50,000 stations to well over a million in the next several years.
One of the largest concerns is the initial cost and space required to install these stations. Solar powered charging stations, for example, are easily used and will work on every electrical car. However, the upfront cost is enormous, and the space required for just one is tremendous.
As technology advances, we may see charging stations are replacing gas stations and the ability to recharge come to a head quickly. As it stands right now, though, we still need at least a half hour to charge and with the stations being few and far between, maybe even longer just to get to the next.
In time, charging stations will be on every corner and will rapidly recharge the battery for us. What used to take 10 hours could potentially be completed in less than a single hour. Research and development, as well as continued public demand, will only help to increase the productivity and number of charging stations across the country.