Public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations aren’t rare anymore. On vacations in tourist towns, we now see zero emission vehicles and EV charging stations as common sites. Cities are transitioning municipal land into charging oases. EV charging stations are situated next to carriage corrals and take-out parking spots at shopping malls, in city garages and beside museums.
Increasing environmental pollution has led to the need to accelerate consumer purchases of EVs. Electric vehicles represent a key technology in the mitigation of transportation greenhouse gas emissions, and ambitious EV adoption targets have been set by many governments by 2030 and beyond.
Simultaneously, the EV charging infrastructure has to co-evolve with the uptake of EV sales. The rollout of EV charging infrastructure is vital in achieving zero emissions goals, as the uptake of EVs is linked to the level of coverage of EV chargers. A successful, comprehensive transition is necessarily supported by networks of robust EV charging stations to accommodate drivers on an as-needed basis.
Although just a few years ago EV charging stations were infrequently and haphazardly located, now more states and private companies have invested in EV charging infrastructure. That collective focus on enhancing EV charging station access is important, as having ample EV public charging stations alleviates range anxiety of EV drivers. It assures consumers that EVs provide similar performance to internal combustion engine vehicles and allows EV drivers to maintain their existing activities.
In fact, research shows that adequate placement and amounts of charging can fulfill 90% EV drivers’ travel demand without having EV drivers alter their daily routines.
With the constantly increasing number of EV charging stations arriving in our communities, it is simpler and more convenient than ever to plan a trip away from home with your EV. Because the market for EV charging is in its early stages, it’s important to know which EV charging stations are the most reliable, well-located, safe, and compatible with your EV.
Let’s take a look at the highest ranked EV charging stations in the US and compare their features.
The Top EV Charging Stations in the US
Tesla Supercharger Network: Tesla owns and operates the largest global, fast charging network in the world. With over 40,000 Superchargers across the globe and the ability to add up to 200 miles in 15 minutes, the Tesla Supercharger network continues to be highly ranked among competitors. As of 2022, you’d find over 2,500 Supercharger locations in North America located on major routes near convenient amenities. Of course, this network is proprietary — right now, only Tesla drivers can utilize it, although that is slowly changing. Your credit card is stored on your Tesla app, so charging is seamless. Some Tesla owners who purchased prior to 2018 may still be eligible for complimentary charging, but new Tesla models don’t qualify for this incentive.
EVgo: Heads turned at CES 2023 when Amazon revealed it was forming a deal with EVgo, a maker of EV charging systems. The joint venture will provide a service to streamline the process of locating, paying, and initiating recharging sessions at an EVgo station. Scheduled for a late 2023 launch, the Alexa-assisted EV charging service is purported to be able to connect drivers to more than 150,000 US public charging stations through EVgo’s PlugShare map. EVgo has 850+ fast charging locations; current fast-charge capable EV models they can serve are listed here.
ChargePoint: With a constantly evolving infrastructure, ChargePoint is one of the best known providers of electric vehicle supply equipment. On the road, you can plug in at any of ChargePoint’s own locations, or use one of their partner stations with your ChargePoint account. The company says it is the “only network with an integrated portfolio of hardware, cloud services and support delivering the smoothest possible experience for all businesses and drivers.” ChargePoint receives high overall marks from experts.
Electrify America: It’s easy to forget the Dieselgate scandal in 2017 that was the precursor to Electrify America. Penalties levied on Volkswagen due to deceptive practices regarding diesel emissions required the automotive giant to invest in EV chargers and promote the adoption of electric vehicles. $2 billion later, there are nearly 3500 EV charging stations around the US. The charging infrastructure is continually modified and improved and, according to reviews, seems to be true to its promise to increase awareness and foster education about EVs, charging availability, and the benefits of electric mobility through various means such as ride and drives, multi-channel advertising, website, social media, and educational programs.
Blink: Blink was one of the first companies to move into the public charging space at scale. Blink launched 5 new products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023. The new products include the Vision, EQ 200, Series 3, PQ 150, and 30kW DC Fast Charger, which are designed to serve the increasing demands of the growing EV markets across the US, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The company states that, as it is “building on 14 years of experience, Blink is the only complete, end-to-end solution for the EV charging ecosystem.”
Volta: Volta has a network of over 2,000 charging stations that are free for the first 30 minutes. The EV charging and media company is collaborating with Imagen Energy, a developer of compact high-power EV chargers, to develop and commercialize the next generation of domestically manufactured DC Fast Charging technology. The project was awarded a grant from the US Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy is part of a subset group that have been determined to be feasible for widespread deployment and commercialization domestically.
Final Thoughts about EV Charging Stations
The rapid growth in the sale of electric vehicles will only increase. Currently, however, the market is in a period of transition, as companies and cities scale up to meet the demands. While the companies chronicled above are at the forefront of EV charging in the US right now, other companies and trends will emerge in the next few years that will certainly change the industry.
For example, EVs can assist the aging US electrical grid as it tries to handle the rising demand for electricity during peak load times through Vehicle to Grid charging technology — the two-way charging in which the EV both charges and discharges.
To respond to EV diffusion forecasts, the charging infrastructure must be further expanded to ensure sufficient and attractive charging options for EV drivers. Once achieved, adequate availability of charging options will smooth consumer reluctance and become a relevant factor in EV purchase decisions.
Over the month of January, we at CleanTechnica will be focusing a bit extra on EV charging as a very important component of the larger transportation electrification picture.
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