The Essential Things You Need to Know for EV Charging in Public | EN Plus

The Essential Things You Need to Know for EV Charging in Public

Last Updated: 23/04/2024

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The Essential Things You Need to Know for EV Charging in Public


EVs have grown considerably in popularity over the past decade. In 2020, EVs made up 4% of total vehicle sales worldwide. By 2022, these vehicles had a 14% share of the market, which means that their share of the industry has more than tripled in the last few years. As electric vehicles become more popular, you must understand how to charge your vehicle in public and how it differs from home charging.

a women in an EV

Where Can I Find a Public Charging Station?

Finding a public charging station for your electric vehicle is easier than you think. Here are some quick tips:

  • Use an App: There are apps designed to show you the closest charging points, their availability, and sometimes even the charging speed.
  • Check Maps: Your car’s navigation system or your smartphone’s map app often includes the locations of public charging stations.
  • Look for Signs: Keep an eye out for EV charging signs at parking lots.

Many public places now offer charging stations. You’ll commonly find them at shopping malls, hotels, supermarkets, restaurants and cafes, and public parking areas. If you’re going on a long trip, plan your stops ahead of time.

charge map app

Public EV Charging Levels

There are three distinct charging levels that you can find when charging your vehicle in public, which include level one, level two, and level three charging stations. Each station varies in charging times and capabilities. Here’s a breakdown of these three levels of charging:

Level 2 Charger

When you charge your EV for one hour with a level 2 charger, you can get around 10-75 miles of additional range. This is the most common charger at a public charging station. You should be able to fully charge your vehicle in around four to six hours, which makes it possible to gain a full charge overnight.

Level 3 Charger

Level three public chargers are usually known as Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC). This is currently the fastest EV charging solution around. While your vehicle is plugged into a level three charger, it will convert AC to DC, which ensures that your vehicle’s battery will receive quicker power delivery. It’s possible to charge an EV in just 20-30 minutes with this type of charger.

turbo charging station

How to Choose the Right EV Public Charging Station

To identify the right EV public charging station for your vehicle, it’s important to determine your preferred charger level as well as the type of connector that works with your vehicle. You should avoid charging your vehicle at a level one charging station because of how slow they are. A level three charger is the way to charge your vehicle quickly.

Keep in mind, however, that a DCFC station can only be effective if the state of charge for your battery is lower than 80%. Charging times become significantly slower once the charge is higher than 80%. You could switch to a level two charger for the final 20%. Level two chargers are less expensive, which allows you to effectively control how much you spend when charging your vehicle.

The most common type of connector is currently the SAE J1772 plug. Every EV in the U.S. and Canada can use this plug. Tesla vehicles are available with an adapter for the J1772 connector as well. For level three connectors, the most common options include SAE and CHAdeMO connectors. Identify which port is connected to your vehicle to determine which connector you require.

How Long Does EV Charging Take at a Public Charging Station?

Each charging level has average charging times that you should take into account before you start using one. Keep in mind that numerous factors can impact your charging time, which include the current charge level, the health of the battery, and the vehicle’s battery size.

Charging time for a level two charging station takes about 5-11 hours to give you enough power to drive 125 miles. For level three charging stations, the charging times drop to around 30 minutes to an hour.

Parking spot for electric verhicles

Cost of EV Public Charging Stations

Since each charging level provides a much different charging time for your EV, you can expect to pay higher costs for shorter charging times. The EV public charging station cost is based on kWh of electricity. If you use a level one charger, your costs should be around $0.15-$0.20 per kWh. A level two charger costs around $0.20-$0.25 per kWh. When you opt for a level three charger, the cost can range from $0.40-$0.60 per kWh.


As electric vehicles continue to gain popularity, understanding how to effectively use public charging stations becomes essential. The key is to choose the right charger level and connector type for your EV. Level two and three chargers are the most practical choices, with level three being ideal for rapid charging, especially when your battery is below 80%.

Also, be aware of the costs associated with different charging levels, as faster charging often comes at a higher price. Learn more about the charging solutions we offer at En Plus.

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