Can You Charge Electric Cars for Free?


If you are one of the growing numbers of people around the world interested in driving an electric car, you might be interested in knowing if you can charge them for free. This would be a great way to incentivize further owning such a vehicle. Making charging stations more accessible and free of charge would create even more reasons to go electric. 

There are many places around the country where you can charge an electric car for free. From shopping centers to workplaces, it is now possible to get your electric car the extra charge it needs for free. You will just need to know where the stations are and then hope that one is available when you need it the most. 

Finding a free charging station for your electric car is easier than you might think. You will find them in major cities across the country, but they may be limited in supply. While this is a great way to get your EV the range that it needs to be convenient, there are some limitations to keep in mind as well. Continue reading to learn more about how to charge electric cars for free. 

Can You Charge Your Car for Free at Work?

Many workplaces around the country now offer free charging stations for the employees. Electric cars are economical, easy to drive, and great on the environment. The problem becomes range. You must make sure you have enough power to get back home. Having a charging station available at work makes this entirely possible once again.

This is why many workplaces around the country are providing charging stations right in their employee parking lot. Employers offer this as a benefit, meaning that the use of the charging station is free. The only caveat is that you are not guaranteed a spot. However, early indications are that this is rarely a problem. 

Many of the free charging stations actually charge a battery to 80% in as little as an hour. When you are on break, you can disengage from the charger and park in a regular parking spot. This will open up space for co-workers who are looking to take advantage of the free charging perk as well. This is a trend that is likely to continue in the years to come. 

Do Shopping Centers Provide Free Charging Stations?

You will find that an increasing number of shopping centers have free charging stations for the patrons to take advantage. This makes it entirely possible to drive your electric car without worrying about having necessary battery range. To avoid having to return home and cutting your shopping excursion short, it would be nice to have somewhere to plug in along the way. 

Many shopping centers around the country evidently feel the same way. This is why they are now providing free charging stations to their shoppers who have an electric car. An added perk is that they are often located near the front of the parking lot, making it easy to get and out of the store. 

These charging stations are either sponsored by the store or one of the products that it carries. They also tend to be rapid chargers, meaning that even a quick thirty minute stroll through the store will allow for sufficient time for your battery to charge enough to easily get on with your day and not have to worry about range any longer. 

How Do Free Charging Stations Work?

At first glance, you might be confused about how a free charging station actually works. This is because any free charging stations will be configured so that it can be adapted to virtually any type of electric vehicle on the market today. In addition, some will not have a charging cable attached to it. If that is the case, you will need to have your own available. 

Of course, that is a small price to pay to get a free charge for your car. Once the cable is attached, you will just need to select the correct connection that fits your particular car. You will plug it in, and then the charging will begin. Free chargers will not require any other input on your end. However, a pay for use charger will require you to input payment information at this point. 

How Can You Find Free Charging Stations Near You?

It is becoming increasingly easy to find a charging station no matter where you happen to be in the country. If you have a smartphone, just download one of the following applications:

These apps will indicate the charging stations that are closest to you. The best part of these applications is that they can also tell you which stations are already occupied and which have an available spot for you to use. 

The apps just mentioned will also tell you which type of charger is available at the station. The two most commonly used are described below. 

  • Level 2 chargers – These are the most common type of charging units that you will find in use around the country. They are weatherproof and provide lightweight cables that can easily connect to your car. They will get about 25 miles of range for every hour of charging. This is quite good for a free charge and is the time that an average person spends in the grocery store anyway. 
  • DC fast chargers – You are in for a treat if you are lucky to find one of these charging units available for free. Most of them require a fee, but some employers and shopping centers will have them. There is also that style that Tesla uses. You can charge your battery to 80 percent capacity in just 30 minutes with a DC fast charger. 

Which charger is best for you depends on your needs and where you happen to be in relation to your final destination for the day. Keep in mind that most free chargers will be on the level 2 variety. The exception is for Tesla owners who have a 2018 model or earlier and still have free access to Tesla Super Charging stations. Others will need to pay to use a Tesla station. 

Do Free Charging Stations Make Cross Country Travel Possible?

It would be wonderful to be able to drive your electric car across the country. Just think of the benefits to the environment that will be gained from you doing so. If you could make use of free charging stations along the way, that would make it even better. This is already possible in many metropolitan areas, so you might be wondering if you can easily go from one state to another. 

Unfortunately, the availability of free charging stations is not yet sufficient to make this possible. There are still large gaps in distance that will preclude you from being confident enough that you will find an available station before you run out of range. For now, electric cars remain a great option for city driving. Free charging stations are making that more convenient than ever before. 

Wrap-Up 

One of the only inconvenient realities of owning an electric car is finding a convenient way of charging the battery to give you the range you need. It is even better if that charge can be free. As this post has pointed out, that is now quite possible in many locations around the world. Charge up and make great use of your electric car. 

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