EV Charging Networks are companies that operate and maintain public EV charging stations. These networks often partner with each other to offer greater coverage and convenience for EV drivers.
Most networks require EV drivers to sign up for an account and then give them a card to wave in front of a charger to activate a session. From there, charging couldn’t be easier.
EV drivers need access to a variety of charging station types. The type of charger required by your EV depends on the power capacity of your battery and its operating range, which is generally determined by your driving habits.
Rapid DC chargers, which supply 50 kW of electricity using either the CCS or CHAdeMO connectors and are indicated by purple icons on our live desktop map, are currently the most common public stations in North America. They allow you to charge your EV to 80 miles in about an hour.
Networked chargers offer advanced capabilities, such as limiting who can use the station, how often and how much electricity they can consume. These features are ideal for workplaces where employees may be paying for their charging sessions or multifamily dwellings where tenants share the electricity bill with others. They also provide the ability to participate in utility demand response programs. Some networked chargers can also be managed remotely.
Aside from charging stations at home, EV drivers need access to charging at work, the airport, and other public destinations. This is a major reason why the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes a provision to provide federal funding for state electrification planning and EV charging network buildouts.
A popular EV charging network like EVgo is making big moves to ensure this occurs. The company is building a solar farm in the hopes of fueling its charging stations with renewable energy and implementing a mobile app that allows users to locate nearby charging stations, start their session, track its time, and see how much they’re saving.
EV charging stations are also great marketing tools that can showcase your business’ commitment to sustainability and helping the environment. Plus, when paired with smart energy management capabilities (including dynamic load balancing), your charging station can help smooth the demand curve and provide power back to the grid during high-demand periods.
EV charging stations should be accessible to people with disabilities, including individuals using mobility devices. They should also be located in an accessible parking space that meets ADA requirements and provides a safe route from the vehicle to the charger.
Many EV charging stations have websites and mobile applications that can be used to locate the station, pay for electricity, start/stop charging, and provide notifications. These should be designed to comply with ADA and Section 508 accessibility standards.
Networked EV charging stations connect to a larger infrastructure system and can be remotely managed and operated by their EVSE network provider. This allows them to charge a fee for the electricity consumed and produce detailed reports about usage and activity, such as when a vehicle is charged or how much energy it has used. These features should be compatible with TTY and/or support sign language. PAS 1899:2022, a new international standard, also includes guidance on accessible communications for EV charging stations.
Residential charging stations may charge by the hour, per kilowatt-hour or a flat fee. Commercial charging networks also offer membership plans that optimize power allocation, enhance payment processing and provide valuable data insights.
EV owners can save even more money by charging their vehicles at home, especially with Time of Use (TOU) plans that offer lower electricity rates during off-peak hours. Investing in a dedicated home charger can cost between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on the technology and manufacturer.
The Biden-Harris Administration is deploying proactive policies to ensure that the national charging network can grow fast enough to meet consumer demand for electric vehicles. The administration’s EV Infrastructure Investment Formula Program is supporting state-based projects that will help expand the availability of fast charging stations to a wide range of EVs. This will allow consumers to drive longer distances, with confidence, knowing that there are charging options available along the way.