The rise of electric vehicles (EVs) signals a shift in how we travel. Yet, for many, the challenge is not owning an EV but charging it. Especially for those living in apartments or places where installing EV charging stations is not possible, finding a solution is crucial.
In this article, we’ll discuss how electric vehicle owners can charge their cars without access to a personal charging station. This includes exploring alternative charging options and technologies that enable EV drivers to stay powered up, even without a private charging point at home. Whether it’s community charging hubs, portable chargers, or public charging networks, there are growing solutions for EV owners facing this dilemma.
Do You Need a Charging Station for Your Electric Car?
No, having a personal charging station for your electric car is unnecessary. While having one offers convenience, other options exist to charge an EV.
What is often referred to as Level 1 EV Charging allows you to use a regular 120-volt outlet at home to power your electric car. This lets you ‘trickle charge’ your vehicle and supplies a few miles of range per hour.
This is the slowest type of EV charging. It can take about 30 hours, depending on the size of your car’s battery and vehicle model. This should be sufficient for average drivers who only use their cars for short distances. Or if there is a public charging station near your workplace or home.
However, if Level 1 EV Charging is the only option for you, get help from a licensed electrician to ensure a dedicated circuit supports the power load.
How to Charge Your EV Without a Home Charger
With the EV market growing worldwide, options for charging without a personal home charger are expanding. This makes it easier for EV owners to find convenient and efficient ways to power up their vehicles even when they’re on the road.
As mentioned above, you can use a standard 120-volt socket to charge your car. EVs often come with a cable that can plug into these sockets without special equipment—much like a kitchen appliance. This method is straightforward but slow. It’s best suited for overnight charging or those who can afford to wait longer for their EV to charge.
However, the good news is there are publicly available chargers you can use to power up your electric vehicle more efficiently. Here are some of them:
Public Charging Stations
Widely available in cities and along major highways, public charging stations offer a quick and convenient way to charge. They range from Level 2 chargers, which are faster than your standard home outlet, to rapid DC chargers that can provide a significant charge in a short period. These stations are often found in parking lots, shopping centers, and public transport hubs.
Some companies provide charging facilities for their employees. This is a great option for charging your EV while at work, making it ready for your commute home.
Many retail outlets, hotels, and restaurants now offer EV charging as a customer service. This means you can charge your car while shopping, dining, or staying overnight at a hotel. Destination chargers usually provide a slower Level 2 charge. This is perfect for topping up your battery while you’re engaged in other activities.
In urban areas, on-street charging is becoming more common. These can be standalone charging points or integrated into street furniture like lampposts. While they may not be as fast as dedicated charging stations, they are useful for city dwellers who park their cars on the street.
Community Charging Hubs
These are chargers shared among residents in a community, particularly in multi-unit dwellings without individual charging points.
Rapid Charging Networks
For long-distance travel, rapid chargers are ideal. Located along highways, these chargers can provide a substantial amount of charge relatively quickly. Ideal for those going on road trips.
Safety Precautions for EV Charging in Public
Electric vehicles, while environmentally promising, come with unique safety considerations, especially when charging in public spaces. Here, we emphasize the importance of safety and provide guidelines for secure EV charging, mainly when relying on alternative methods away from home:
- Choose Reliable Stations – Pick reliable, well-maintained charging infrastructure, be it at work or in public areas. Quality gear, like what EN PLUS offers, with 9,210+ charging stations in 40 countries, minimizes the risk of malfunctions and electrical hazards. They provide a Cloud Smart charging system for real-time status updates, adaptable for home, business, and personalized charging needs.
- Mind Your Cables – Handle charging cables with care. Prevent kinks, knots, or tripping hazards in high-traffic areas. Properly secure cables to prevent damage and reduce the risk of electric shock.
- Inspect Equipment – Before plugging in, inspect charging equipment for visible damage or unusual wear. If issues arise, report them immediately and refrain from using the station.
- Follow Protocols – Adhere to recommended charging protocols. Avoid tampering with equipment or making unauthorized modifications to prevent safety hazards and damage.
- Know Emergency Procedures – Understand and communicate emergency procedures for your chosen charging infrastructure. Familiarize yourself with the safe disconnection of charging cables and handling any unforeseen situations.
- Protect Data – When using public charging stations, avoid untrusted or unknown connectors and charging equipment to prevent data theft or malware infiltration.
- Stay Alert While Charging – Keep a watchful eye during the charging process. This prevents cable theft and tampering and addresses any issues that may occur during the session.
EV Charging Station Cost: At Home vs Public Charging
Charging up your electric vehicle (EV) can be a wallet-friendly affair at home, but it might put a little dent in your budget when you go public.
In the U.S., a Level 2 charging station costs most homeowners between $350 and $1,400 to buy and set up. The electricity expenses depend on your local utility rates, averaging around $3 to $8 for a full charge.
Generally, expect to pay $3 to $8 per top-off for your EV in the comfort of your garage. On the other hand, home charging in Europe typically falls between €10 to €20 per kWh. So, completely charging an 80 kWh battery, which gives around 300 miles of range, can be from €8 to €164.
When it comes to public charging in the US, it’s pricier than home charging, with a range of about $12 to $16 per charge. At a Level 3 charging spot, you’ll gain an extra 100 miles of range in about 48 minutes. But it could cost you anywhere from $6.24 to $16.80, depending on your location.
However, an NREL study discovered that, on average, it costs about 15￠ per kWh to charge an EV nationally. While charging during off-peak hours can save EV owners an average of 24%. On the other hand, public charging costs in Europe can differ significantly.
For instance, in Germany, certain providers charge up to 49￠ per kWh for up to 22 KW. Moreover, charging your EV from 5% to 80% at a public DC fast charger takes around 20-45 minutes, costing about €0.40 to €0.65 per kWh. So, a rapid charge would set you back roughly €24 to €393.
From comparing home and public EV charging costs to staying safe during public charging, we’ve covered the essentials for EV owners. Whether you have a home charger or not, En Plus EV charging stations provide customized, practical, and sustainable solutions. Explore more of our innovative options for a convenient and eco-friendly electric future!