What Is Public Charging?

Public charging

Public charging refers to any form of electric vehicle charging used outside a household or workplace environment. This often includes public Level 2 chargers located at multi-unit dwellings and workplaces as well as DC fast chargers frequently found along highway corridors or at urban charging hubs.


Public charging services can be prohibitively costly if you drive an electric vehicle with a large battery, but overnight charging can help mitigate these charges and make public charging much more manageable. Home 240-volt chargers costing less than $10 can charge vehicles overnight while some parks and workplaces offer free or low-cost public charging options that may help lower charges even further. Please remember that electricity rates in your state will impact how much public charging services cost to use.

Electric vehicle (EV) owners can benefit from smart charging solutions that seamlessly link their car with the power grid to optimize power use, saving both money and lowering electricity demand during peak hours, which in turn lowers electricity bills. Some public charging networks offer this service either for free or at a monthly fee; additionally, smart solutions may help prevent an surge in electricity use that would potentially raise rates by 10 or more points.

Cost of public charging depends on several factors, including car type and size. Smaller models tend to add more miles quicker when charging than larger ones; however, actual charge times depend on battery health and temperature as well. It is also important to take note of whether or not your electricity provider offers reduced-cost public charging or provides one flat rate charge rate across their customer base.

Many states have implemented policies to encourage electric vehicle (EV) adoption, while private companies like Hertz, BP and Pilot EVgo are making strides toward expanding public charging stations networks nationwide and helping bring our nation’s ownership goals within reach. Their plans will increase the number of EVs on the roads while making them simpler to use.

Most charging companies in the US use one of two business models to ensure their services are profitable: 1) Selling electricity directly from public charging stations – though many are underutilized and therefore don’t generate significant revenues – 2) Establishing charging networks at third-party locations such as office complexes, shopping malls and parking garages (this option tends to be less lucrative), though subscription fees might provide better economic returns).


Public charging infrastructure is an essential component of successful EV adoption; yet its availability presents both challenges and opportunities. Due to various modes, costs, and locations that comprise public charging networks, policy makers must prioritize policies which enable drivers to utilize all available charging options with their needs balanced across these options.

EV charging stations can be found in various public locations, including parking garages, airports and city streets. Some stations may be managed by local government while others are operated by private businesses or utilities; depending on who manages or runs them they may charge a fee or even offer free charging services; additionally some stations connect to networks that require membership fees; various resources are available to help drivers locate these networks and determine whether membership fees apply or not.

As of 2021, electric vehicle charging stations in the US were mostly found in urban areas and along interstate highways, and about 1.8 million public chargers (with approximately one third being fast chargers) were publicly accessible throughout the nation – these can be found both publicly and privately – such as parking garages, office buildings and supermarkets – although driveway charging may also occur occasionally.

Many charging stations are operated by private companies that can be identified using resources like Go Electric Drive’s EVSE Products, Charging Network and Service Providers tool or industry associations. These businesses typically run multiple EV charging networks, offering mobile apps that allow drivers to move seamlessly between them; additionally they often manage site-specific EV charging infrastructure while offering usage data for each site they manage.

Some networks charge monthly subscription fees to access their stations, while others use an hourly per-kilowatt rate or pricing structure based on charging times. Some networks even partner with other networks to offer roaming service like cell phones do; additionally these companies often offer an array of EVSE products and services and can advise which is most suitable for each specific site.


When parking your EV at a public charging station, you need to know it is safe. Otherwise, electrical hazards like overheating and electrocution could pose serious threats; therefore public charging services take several precautions to ensure safe charging procedures and educate consumers on how to use their charging stations correctly.

EV chargers must adhere to rigorous safety standards, just like any home appliance. Therefore, regular testing and inspection is necessary in order to make sure that they’re fit for use. If there are any scratches, hardware damage or anything else which looks suspicious it’s best not use that charging station; additionally look out for official markings from an Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).

Not only should a charging network conduct tests, it should also engage site planners early in the planning process to provide technical expertise and build connections to key project stakeholders such as engineers, architects, and contractors. In addition, charging networks should develop training resources for EV installers covering topics like site selection, permitting procedures, installation/operation procedures of charging systems (EVSE), etc.

Some EV owners report feeling uncomfortable while charging at public charging stations at night because the parking lots lack lighting. To address these concerns, Kate Fischer launched the business EV Chargesafe; their 5-star rating system evaluates lighting, security and environmental aspects around each charger; this information is then distributed to mapping services, EVSE manufacturers and any other interested parties.

Many EV owners fear being taken advantage of by hackers who can steal their credit card details while their vehicle is connected to a public charging station, while installing malware that monitors battery status and communicates with other devices. To reduce risk, drivers should use Virtual Private Network when connecting online at public charging stations; update software regularly; keep passwords secure; check financial accounts often to detect any unusual activity; use a Virtual Private Network when connecting at these spots and regularly audit accounts to identify any unusual activities or suspicious transactions.


Public charging stations can be an integral component of the ownership experience for electric vehicle (EV) owners, yet finding and using these stations may be inconvenient – especially if you are new to your neighborhood. Public charging services have taken steps to address this challenge by teaming with businesses to install high-quality chargers at convenient locations and investing in better signage to assist drivers find these stations more easily.

Public electric vehicle charging stations are multiplying rapidly due to investments from governments and automakers, located at malls, restaurants, parking garages and supermarkets across the U.S. Some public chargers offer free use while others require membership fees; EVgo offers various plans that make managing accounts simple with their app interface.

Public EV chargers come in various varieties, with most being Level 2 chargers that use the same 220-volt outlet that plugs into your home. These chargers typically charge your EV from empty in four to ten hours – making charging your vehicle simple when away from home. Many EV owners get this type of equipment installed in their garage for easy charging when out and about.

Some EV owners are concerned about long public wait times for charging their vehicles when traveling, though this problem has not manifested on a large scale yet. To mitigate any such risks, drivers need to ensure they have access to their own charging equipment before embarking on long journeys away from home.

Many businesses are now installing electric vehicle (EV) chargers at their properties to offer customers and attract new ones a benefit and draw new business in. Hotels for instance are including this feature as part of their guest service offerings or in luxury packages; other businesses that provide this feature are restaurants, supermarkets and department stores.

Though EV charging infrastructure is quickly improving, there remain barriers to its widespread adoption, including lack of availability and cost. But this is changing as more people go electric and companies adopt this technology. Governments offer incentives for installing chargers while cities enact policies promoting their use. EVs have also become more affordable allowing more people to afford them while new technologies have also been developed that facilitate speedy charging by connecting between car and charger to avoid straining grid resources during peak hours of charging.