Owning an electric car is great not only for the environment, but also also for your wallet. However, some owners suffer from range anxiety. It's true that EVs don't cover the same distances as combustion vehicles, but that doesn't mean you can't go on a road trip without worries! To help you, we've compiled a list of mobile and web apps which you can use to locate the nearest charging stations, to check if they have the right ports for your vehicle and even to see if there are available slots in real time. Drive worry-free!
Yes, Google Maps can truly help you find anything, including EV charging stations. The feature was introduced in October last year. All you need to do is search for keywords like "EV charging" and the stations nearest to you will pop up on the map. You will find information on the types and number of ports available and their charging speeds. Of course, as many other locations on Google Maps, you will also find reviews, ratings and photos from other drivers. Unfortunately, the ever-popular map app doesn't provide information on pricing or slot availability.
If you own a Tesla, one of the best ways to find charger stations is through the official Tesla app. Thanks to the latest major update, you can now view nearby Supercharger stations in the Charging screen. From there, you need a single tap to start navigating to the location of your choice. You can even push the navigation from the app directly to the car. Once you plug in your Tesla vehicle, you can remotely check its real time status and you can even start or stop the charging process through the app itself. There are a ton of other features too, so if you own a Tesla and still haven't given the app a chance, now is the perfect moment.
We must note, however, that for some of the above features to work your car software needs to be version 2018.48 or above.
One of the most comprehensive apps on this list, PlugShare claims to offer the world’s biggest and most accurate public charging map. It covers more than 140, 000 public stations, including most major networks in Europe and North America. It not only allows you to find the nearest station to you, but to filter for compatible chargers without having to manually check each station.
You can also plan your journey ahead of time with all charging stations en-route visible. PlugShare has a large community of EV owners, which have contributed photos and reviews. Unlike Google Maps, you can even check pricing and availability in real time, with stations that are in-use being greyed out on the map. The benefits don't stop there - you can also pay for charging via your phone at participating locations, add new stations as you discover them and even share your home charger. It's an essential app for every EV owner.
Open Charge Map
Although it's a web app, we included Open Charge Map on this list because it is constantly updated with new locations. It is a non-profit service dedicated to providing a high quality, public and free database of charging equipment locations globally. At the moment of writing, you can find 139, 296 charging stations across 68, 782 locations on Open Charge Map. The service is developed and run by volunteers and it's also one of the few on this list which has a built-in navigation function, making your journeys easier to plan. You are also able to check what equipment is available at a station, but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be information on prices.
Finally, we have an app for our UK readers. Zap-Map enables electric car drivers in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland to find and navigate to the nearest electric charging stations, with over 5500 locations mapped. It offers filtering of charge points by connector type, network, location, payment and access. You can also save your preferences or vehicle model, so the filtering is done automatically.
Zap-Map also has the most detailed charging station status pages - you can not only see the port types available, but which ones are taken and the remaining charging time of vehicles currently using them. The app is also social - you can post updates and tips for other EV drivers. Finally, just like PlugShare, you can add your Home Charger to enable peer to peer sharing - for free or for a charge. It's one of the best, if not the best app for UK EV drivers.
This is our list of the best apps to help you locate the nearest charging stations. Have we alleviated your range anxiety? Are there any great apps we missed? Let us know in the comments.