While electric vehicle (EV) ownership in the United States is growing, most Americans currently drive internal combustion engine (ICE) – aka gas powered – automobiles. Undoubtedly, if you want to purchase an electric car, it’s first important to know if you’ll have ample charging available.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Alternative Fuel Data Center (AFDC), there are currently 46,657 EV charging stations throughout the U.S. (compared to over 150,000 gas stations). Many state and federal efforts are underway in 2022 to help improve the EV infrastructure, but there’s still much work to do.
- There are three levels of chargers: Level 1, 2, and 3, each having various availability and offering different speeds for charging.
- EV charging infrastructure varies by state – you can explore different websites and apps to find charging stations near you or while you’re on the road.
- EV owners are increasingly adding charging stations at home (especially if they’re powered by solar!).
- Sign up for solar quotes on the EnergySage Marketplace to charge your EV with free solar energy.
What’s in this article?
- What is EV charging infrastructure?
- Where is EV charging available?
- How to find EV charging near you
- The status of EV charging in 2022
- Frequently asked questions about EV charging
What is EV charging infrastructure?
EV charging infrastructure is essentially the network of EV chargers available to use, including the availability of EV charging stations in day-to-day life (at home, commuting to work, running errands) and travel (road trips and vacations).
Here’s a quick breakdown of the various EV charging levels, EV charger availability, and how long it takes to charge on each:
Types of EV chargers
|Charging level||Plug type||Where you’ll find it||Percent of public EV chargers available today in the U.S.*||Average charge range in one hour|
|Level 1||Standard wall outlet/120 volt with J-1772 connector||Homes, offices/retail, public charging||Less than 5% of public chargers are Level 1||2-5 miles|
|Level 2||Outlet commonly used for dryers/ 240-volt or 208-volt with J1772 connector||Homes, offices/retail, public charging||Over 80% of public chargers are Level 2||10-50 miles|
|Level 3, also known as Direct Current (DC) fast charging||208/480-volt, connector depends on EV model||Various networks such as Electrify America, Tesla Superchargers, EVgo, and others||Just over 15% of public chargers are Level 3||180-240 miles|
*According to U.S. DOE AFDC, as of 2020
Where is EV charging available?
EV charging is still growing across the U.S., with most charging expanding outwards from major metropolitan areas and located on major highways and interstates. If you’re making rural road trips, you may still have to take a slight detour for the fastest charging option, but it continues to get easier to find charging.
Top 10 EV charging states
|State||Number of Level 2 and Level 3 chargers|
How to find EV charging near you
There are a few sources you can use for finding EV charging, including some apps and websites:
- Plugshare: one of the most comprehensive EV charger search apps. It’s available as a free download via the App Store and Google Play (there’s a web version as well). Plugshare includes a database of 140,000+ charging stations in the USA and Canada, 2,000,000 station reviews, and 375,000 charging station photos.
- Chargepoint: another free app that shows Chargepoint chargers and also lets you get notifications on charging at Chargepoint chargers. It’s available via the App Store and Google Play.
- Tesla: if you drive a Tesla, you find both superchargers and destination chargers on Tesla’s website. You can also see nearby superchargers and availability and mapped directions with superchargers included directly on your Tesla screen.
- AFDC: the AFDC electric charging station locator tool lets you search online for various types of chargers (Levels 1-3).
- Chargehub: Chargehub’s website shows chargers throughout the U.S. and indicates if stations are busy or offline.
- Electrify America: Electrify America has mobile apps and a website where you can find chargers and monitor your charging on an Electrify America charger.
Want to charge your EV at home?
You can install an EV charger to quickly and affordably charge your EV overnight! To see our list of top EV chargers, visit our EV charger Buyer’s Guide. Bonus: You may even be eligible for tax credits on your EV charger installation costs.
The status of EV charging in 2022
EV charging infrastructure is something that’s expanding in the U.S. So, if you don’t currently drive an EV, it’s definitely something to look into as it’ll only get easier to find quick charging near you and on the go (and there are some great incentives on EVs!). There’s also a lot of attention on EV charging infrastructure this year — both from the government and private companies committing to support it. Learn more about how EV charging infrastructure is expanding in the U.S.
Frequently asked questions about EV charging
There are three main levels of charging: Level 1, 2, and 3. Level 1 chargers are the slowest, but can usually work with any outlet. Level 2 chargers are pretty affordable to install at your home to charge everyday and Level 3 chargers are what you’ll use on longer drives. When it comes to EV charger companies, there are many including Chargepoint, Tesla (via their Supercharger network), Blink, EVgo, and Volta.
It’s free to charge with a Level 1 charger – you’ll just need a standard 120-volt outlet accessible to your garage, carport, or where you park your car. If you want to charge more quickly, you can install a Level 2 charger. The cost varies, but on average you can expect to pay approximately $500-$700. Your exact cost depends on the charger you choose and if you need any electrical work done depending on your home or garage setup. Professional installation can run between $200-$1,200.
EV fast charging is also known as Level 3 charging or DC charging. DC charging stations get their name because they convert AC before it reaches the vehicle, instead delivering direct current (DC) directly to the battery of an electric vehicle. Fast charging is commonly used for road trips as you’re able to charge very quickly – often, you can “top off” a charge in 20 minutes or so and get a full charge in 40-60 minutes, depending on your EV’s range.
Charge your EV with solar
There’s sometimes a misconception that home EV charging is expensive. Still, it’s substantially less inexpensive in most areas compared to buying gasoline—especially if you’re using solar to power your charging. Your exact comparison depends on the cost of electricity in your area and the range of your EV (how far it’ll go on a charge).
One of the best long-term solutions to lower your home EV charging costs is to go solar. You can use the EnergySage Marketplace to compare several quotes from pre-screened installers, helping you find a system that fits your needs at the right price. If you’re planning to charge an EV at home, share that information when getting estimates so an installer can help you build the right size system, allowing you to power your car with free, renewable energy generated at home.