How To Find Free EV Charging Stations Near You

EV charging stations are an incredibly important part of the experience of EV ownership. Electric vehicles cost less to maintain and drive than internal combustion engine vehicles, however, charging costs can vary greatly depending on local electricity prices and the schedule that you keep for charging. 

Setting a charging schedule is one important feature that you can incorporate into a Tesla and many other electric vehicles to cut down on the cost to keep your vehicle ready for each day's commute. But with electricity price spikes occurring across the world (via Council of the European Union), electric vehicle owners are looking to a unique resource that doesn't exist for gasoline powered automobiles.

Free charging exists in many communities, and can dramatically increase the cost effectiveness that an electric vehicle brings to your home. With the ability to recharge your car without paying for the service directly, or plugging the vehicle in at home with the added cost to your electricity bill, you can make the car even more valuable for daily driving.

The benefits of an EV rest heavily on the reduced cost of operation

The benefit that an electric vehicle brings rests largely on the cost of adding range to the vehicles existing reserve. Gasoline prices are beholden to a wide variety of external factors that consumers have no control over and cannot predict. Conflict in the international marketplace and global stage can translate into wild price swings at the pump that can last for weeks or months at a time.

Similar factors can augment electricity prices, but the impact is far less extreme because electricity can be produced through a plethora of avenues, while gasoline is a refined product that only comes from the extraction and processing of crude oil — a resource that experiences unique trade and diplomatic-related pressures. Investopedia also suggests that the supply and demand curve of crude oil is relatively inelastic, meaning price shifts are slow to respond to developing circumstances.

Electricity can be a cleaner alternative, and adds a price reduction for most that makes EV ownership a simple choice. Still, managing the costs of charging infrastructure in your living space can be challenging if you're a renter, potentially making the price of a top off notably higher than it would be otherwise. Free charging stations eradicate this concern, though. Figuring out where to find free and cheap charging options in your community can be a godsend for all EV owners.

PlugShare offers a simple map view

Perhaps the most useful option for EV owners is PlugShare. PlugShare makes finding free EV charging stations a breeze, as the site offers a map with known charging infrastructure, labeled with a plethora of helpful information. One filter offered by PlugShare's map highlights stations that offer free charging (via PlugShare). The map covers the entire globe, so it can be useful for American drivers, as well as those living virtually anywhere else on the planet.

Viewers can easily browse through noted stations in their local area, or use the map to plan out a route for an upcoming road trip. This asset makes charging your car for free a simple endeavor, and with a bit of planning, you could even add a short stop into your daily commute on the way home every few days to take advantage of what your community has to offer.

For renters, this is particularly helpful. Renters don't have the same capacity to make changes to the home they live in, so installing charging equipment may not be in the cards unless you own your home. With the need to stop at a charging station to replenish your vehicle's range anyway, a free station can help drivers save cash.

The community aspect of PlugShare's resource is magnetic

Another important feature of the PlugShare platform is the community engagement that it fosters. Not only does the site offer a littered map of great information, but the community that adds context and information about each location is active and immensely helpful (via PlugShare). 

The site notes that it's a community space designed to help EV owners get the most out of charging, "wherever you go." The community adds a wealth of knowledge about specific station information. For instance, one location found in Springfield, Colorado is listed as being within a police department lot. The charge price is noted as "currently free, but still requires [Chargepoint] RFID card" to initiate a charging session, and the location is also listed as offering free parking and 24/7 access (via PlugShare). 

There's also pictures associated with each charging location, uploaded by community-minded PlugShare users who have visited these sites to charge their own cars. These minute details help immensely when planning out a route in an unfamiliar part of town, or while out on the road in a different part of the country.

Without the community spirit that powers PlugShare, the resource perhaps wouldn't be as valuable as it is now.

The site also suggests the locations of future stations and gives crucial information about availability

One last feature built into the PlugShare environment is the listing of future station locations and information about sites that are undergoing repairs and/or are out of service. There's nothing quite so frustrating as an arrival at a service location that you thought was open, only to find out it was closed. 

With the PlugShare community map always being updated with the latest information from users around the world, you are unlikely to run into this cruel fate any time soon. Similarly, you can keep track of the progress being made on sites near your home or office, and be the first to know when a new charging service has launched in your area or along your commute.

The service offered is incredibly helpful for EV owners, and it showcases the power of community-minded thinking that we can all look toward as EVs become ever more commonplace.