The 7 Best EV Charging Apps for Electric Car Owners
These days, electric cars aren’t hard to find: You’ll find new and used EVs available for sale all over the U.S. — although they’re easier to buy in some states than others.
EV charging stations, on the other hand, can be a little harder to spot, with an estimated 100,000 chargers available at 28,000 charging stations in North America. That’s fewer than the number of gas stations in the U.S. — there are around 168,000 of them — but the good news is that electric vehicle charging infrastructure is increasing rapidly.
For now, the best way to keep your EV battery charged and reduce range anxiety is to download an EV charging app. The best EV charging apps will show you where to find charging stations and can even remind you when you need to charge your battery.
Why Do You Need an EV Charging App?
If you only use your electric car for daily commuting and have installed an electric car charger at home, then you may not see a need for an EV charging app. After all, you already know where all of the charging stations are in your neighborhood, right?
Well, the best EV charging apps do more than just tell EV drivers where to find public charging stations. You can use them to set a reminder so you don’t forget to plug your car in at night, start or stop your charge remotely using your smartphone, and even schedule your charge during off-peak hours to benefit from lower energy prices.
Plus, the best apps for EV charging stations really come in handy on road trips. Sure, you can look up charging locations on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, but with the right EV charging app, you can see which individual charging stations are available to use in real-time and look up current prices.
What to Know About EV Connector Types
Before you download an EV charging app, it’s worth double-checking which connector type you have. This will determine which charging networks you can use, and whether you need to buy an adapter to access other networks.
For example, Tesla has its own Supercharger network and connector type, but it has begun to open up access to other EV drivers. Non-Tesla cars have either a CHAdeMO charger or a CCS (Combined Charging System) connection, so you’ll need to get an adapter in order to access the Tesla network.
If you use public charging stations frequently, you may save money by joining up with a specific charging network and paying a monthly membership. Some automakers, such as Ford, offer complimentary fast charging at some charging stations.
7 Best EV Charging Apps Available to Download
With that in mind, here are our picks for the best EV charging apps that EV owners can download on their Android and iOS devices:
Chargepoint has one of the largest EV charging networks in North America, with pricing options available for businesses, fleets, and individual EV owners. You can use the app to find charging stations near you — both inside and outside the Chargepoint network — and pay for your charge with the tap of a smartphone.
The app even lets you look at pictures of charging stations and read reviews from other EV drivers so you know what to expect when you get there.
Chargepoint is compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and more, and you can connect it to your home charging station to control charging times and preferences.
PlugShare has a database of over 400,000 electric vehicle charging stations around the world, making it easy to find the right charger for you no matter where you are.
You can filter search results based on power level (such as Level 2 or fast chargers), by charging network, and even by the type of EV you drive. For example, you can look for all DC charging stations in Canada that are compatible with the Nissan LEAF.
PlugShare also has a trip planner, so you can look up the best charging spots before your trip, or check out their real-time availability along the way.
This app is designed for Tesla owners, but with the opening of the Tesla Supercharger network to non-Tesla drivers, it may be worth having it on your phone. You’ll need it if you want to charge your non-Tesla vehicle at a Supercharger station.
In addition to showing you where to find EV charging stations, this app offers plenty of other tools for Tesla drivers, such as the ability to unlock your car remotely, “summon” your car from its parking spot, and control the heating and cooling system.
You can also use it to control your Tesla Powerwall — a home energy storage system that uses solar panels — and download data on your energy usage.
This app may come as a surprise, because it isn’t focused specifically on electric car charging. But if you already use Google Maps to find hotels, restaurants, and other roadside destinations, it makes sense to use it to find EV charging stations too.
You won’t get as much information about charging options or real-time availability as you do with some of the other mobile apps on our list, but you can use it to plan your route and get directions to charging stations along the way.
In fact, there’s one EV that comes with Google built right in: if you drive a Polestar 2, you can find a charging station near you using the Google dashboard.
EVgo is another charging network with a dedicated mobile app for EV owners. You can use it to check availability, reserve a charger, and estimate your charging costs.
EVgo has fewer stations than other charging networks, but offers Partner Roaming if you need to charge your car somewhere where EVgo isn’t available. They’ve also teamed up with General Motors to expand their reach across North America.
EVgo is notable for sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources, helping you charge your car as sustainably as possible.
EVHotels takes a slightly different approach than the other EV charging apps on our list. While most of them are focused on public charging stations that you can stop at along your route, this app helps you find hotels that have EV chargers nearby.
It’s great for road trips, since you can choose from hotels that have chargers on-site or are within walking distance of a standalone charger.
The app costs $2.99 to download from the app store, but you can accumulate loyalty points from over 170 partner hotel brands.
Open Charge Map
Finally, there’s Open Charge Map, an open-source app that’s free to use and driven by user contributions. While it’s not associated with a specific charging network, you can use it to look up any of the major networks and filter by connector type.
Users can post reviews and photos from existing charging stations, and if you find a charging station that isn’t on the map, you can add it yourself.
There’s also an EV Trip Planner that you can use to put together a route that takes your preferred charging stations into account.
Find the Right EV for You
Using the right EV charging app can help you save time and money by finding a place to charge your EV without going too far out of your way. You can even use these apps to set charging reminders and monitor your charging habits over time.
If you haven’t bought an electric car yet, it’s not too early to find out how many charging stations are available near you. That will help you decide how much range you need, and whether you’re better off buying a fully electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid.
Check out our guide to the best EVs and hybrids of 2022 here, or use this tool to find great deals on used electric cars near you.
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