The Most Convenient Locations To Charge Your Electric Cars For Free (2023/2024 Update)
|Top 8 Most Convenient Locations To Charge Your Electric Cars For Free|
Purchasing an electric car opens up a whole new world of driving possibilities, such as never having to pay for a single drop of gasoline. But just because you bought an electric car or truck doesn't mean you have to waste time and money charging it.
The majority of the 51,000 public electric vehicle charging stations in the United States are for-profit businesses that charge by the kilowatt hour or the length of time you're plugged in.
However, there are ways to get free EV fuel from the manufacturer.
Check out right below the best places where you can charge electric cars.
How To Find Free Chargers In Public Areas
Free chargers are frequently placed in high-traffic areas such as shopping malls, airports, and popular fast-food restaurants and grocery stores. To promote clean energy and encourage drivers to visit downtowns or other commercial hubs, your town or city may operate free charging stations. Using an app to locate charging stations is a valuable resource for any EV owner.
Even if a charger is not free, keep in mind that the EV you purchased may come with some sort of charging incentive. Tesla owners who purchased their vehicle prior to 2017 have unlimited access to the automaker's network of Supercharger stations.
Electrify America, one of the largest charging station providers, has partnered with several automakers to offer free charging for a limited time.
How long does it take to recharge an electric car?
It depends on what type of cars you are using.
Let’s check the table below!
Empty to full charging time
Nissan LEAF (2018)
Can't charge on this kind of charger
Tesla Model S (2019)
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2018)
Can't charge on this kind of charger
What affects charging speed?
There are five major factors that influence how long it takes to charge an electric vehicle.
-Battery size: The larger the capacity of your vehicle's battery (measured in kWh), the longer it will take to charge.
-Battery status (empty vs. full):It will take longer to charge if you start from scratch than if you start from 50%.
-Vehicle charging rate maximum:You can only charge a vehicle's battery at the maximum charge rate supported by the vehicle. For example, if your vehicle's maximum charge rate is 7kW, using a 22kW chargepoint will not speed up charging.
-Chargepoint maximum charging rate: The maximum charging rate of the chargepoint will also limit the time it takes to charge.
Top 8 Most Convenient Locations To Charge Your Electric Cars For Free
1. Shopping centers
As a customer perk (and to keep you in the store longer), some larger chain businesses provide free charging. There are no-fee stations, for example, at dozens of Macy's department stores and Cinemark movie theaters.
Kohl's, as well as Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Kroger, and Whole Foods, provide free charging at select locations.
Read more to know what supermarkets offer free charging.
The most well-known example is Mercadona, which currently has over 1,700 charging points in their stores. are up to 7.4 kW, allowing us to charge a portion of the battery while we shop.
The recharge is completely free, but in order to take advantage of it, we must make a minimum purchase in the establishment.
Lidl is another supermarket chain that has done its homework on electrification. In Spain, the Germans already have 120 stores where we can recharge our vehicles for free and with a maximum power of 22 kW. Of course, each customer has a 30-minute time limit.
Carrefour has also jumped on board, though they still have a long way to go. The French chain has only recently begun deploying charging stations in parking spaces, so they have not yet reached the hundred available stations. Of course, Carrefour chargers are powerful (22 kW), and they intend to enable stations with maximum powers of 300 kW in the future.
In terms of Ikea, many of its locations have 7.4 kW charging stations.These points are completely free and must be activated using the Iberdrola app.
Iberdrola points can also be found in other chains like Leroy Merlin.
The English Court
El Corte Inglés has done a good job with electrification. Almost all establishments with parking have designated areas for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. As long as the relevant requirements are met, any client can benefit without having to pay. The type of connector in that square affects charging at El Corte Inglés. There are slow charging points that work with Schuko and fast charging points that can reach 22 kW (Mennekes Type 2). Furthermore, some centers have Tesla-only charging stations.
2. Check in at a hotel
A number of hotels and inns, including select Marriott and Hilton properties, provide free EV charging for guests. When Tesla owners stay at Radisson hotels, they can charge their vehicles for free.
Check the status of nearby stations on PlugShare or ChargeHub before making a reservation.
More than half of iberostar's hotels already have charging stations, but enough in most cases to recharge the batteries during the night. Customers can use the service for free, and the group hopes to expand the number of charging stations as the popularity of this type of vehicle grows.
Endesa has a contract with the Barceló Hotels. Customers pay no fee for the 22 kW charge at these points. On the other hand, some of this company's hotels provide parking and recharging services to drivers who are not hotel guests. It is priced per day, and there is no additional charge for recharging.
Finally, the Meliá hotel chain has over 100 charging stations in its Spanish hotels. Meliá Hotels signed an agreement with Wenea, and they have 7.4, 22 and 50 kW places.
3. Visit a national park
According to KOA, there are more than 140 chargers available to the public at parks across the country. Some are free, such as the six Level 2 charging stations at California's Oasis at Death Valley, which are powered by the resort's onsite solar field.
Rivian is sponsoring dozens of Waypoint chargers in Yosemite National Park and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California. The EV automaker is funding 10 years of operation and maintenance costs for both through a partnership with Adopt a Charger.
Rivian announced plans in January 2022 to install 10,000 more Waypoint chargers across the United States and Canada by the end of 2023, including in the majority of Tennessee and Colorado state parks.
A map of EV charging stations is available on the National Grid website.
McDonald's is collaborating with Iberdrola and Endesa. These points are being installed in "free standing" restaurants that are located in open areas. The only disadvantage of the Ronald McDonald's house is that not all of the points are free, as everything is subject to charging power. In any case, the space must be reserved using the appropriate applications.
Popeyes Chicken and Burger King
The same strategy is used by Burger King and Popeyes, which are owned by Restaurant Brands Iberia in Spain. The charging stations are being installed in open-air restaurants in collaboration with Iberdrola. The minimum charging speed is 22 kW, and some points can provide super fast charging up to 150 kW.
5. Go to school
On-campus EV charging is available at many colleges. Some campuses make it free for students, professors, and staff, as well as visitors.
In collaboration with ChargePoint, Santa Clara University, the University of Florida, and the University of Oklahoma, for example, all offer free fueling.
There are usually restrictions: the University of Florida has a four-hour time limit, and you must have a university parking sticker if you charge before 4:30 p.m.
Follow these steps to use PlugShare and search for E-car charging locations:
Look up PlugShare.
In addition to the options mentioned above, hundreds of libraries, museums, government offices, nonprofits, and private businesses provide free EV charging.
PlugShare has a user-generated map of charging stations across the country, as well as a free charger setting. Simply go to the filters and uncheck the box next to "Show Locations That Require Payment."
You'll also learn how many minutes you can charge for, at what level, the station's status, and more.
Because this information is primarily crowdsourced, you should double-check its accuracy.
7. At workplace
Workplace charging is an appealing way for EV owners to keep their batteries charged without making a separate trip to the charging station. It's like having someone drive your car to the gas station while you're at work.
Some companies have begun to offer free charging as an affordable perk; for our Best Mobile Networks 2022 story, we charged at a free ChargePoint location at Meta's Menlo Park headquarters. The cost is minimal for large corporations. "Offering workplace charging to employees can be as little as $1.50 per day with Level 2 charging and as little as $0.60 per day with Level 1 charging—which is less than a cup of coffee," Plug In America explains.
Check out the parking options at your workplace, but don't make any assumptions.
8. Charging stations
Many new EVs come with some amount of free charging, often at Electrify America stations. They are essentially charging credits that can be redeemed. Check out your car's free charging options if you haven't already, and start charging before the offer expires. Edmunds has a comprehensive list of all EV models that include free charging. Here are a few examples:
Volkswagen ID.4: Electrify America stations provide 30 minutes of free level 3/DC fast charging and 60 minutes of free level 2 charging.
The Ford F150 Lightning has a capacity of 250kWh at level 3/DC fast charging at Electrify America stations.
Chevy Bolt: With the purchase of a 2022 model, you will receive free home installation of a level 2 charger. While this isn't "free" charging, it will save you up to $1,000 in charges as well as time waiting on a level 1, snail's pace charge. Time is currency!
Early adopters of Teslas received free Supercharging for life, which means quick level 3 charging at the company's network of Supercharger stations. This offer for new Tesla buyers expired in 2017, though the company claims its fees are four times less than buying gas. It also offers promotions like free Supercharging during the holidays.
The good news is that there are several easy ways to recharge without spending any money — and an important first step is to use the power of your smartphone. For example, the PlugShare app allows EV drivers to search for charging stations of all types, including free ones.
As Evs are increasingly popular around town, you can also easily find charging services offered for free at your workplace, supermarket restaurants.
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