EV Charging issues

If you live in California, you can pretty much charge any EV, nearly anywhere. About 1/3d of all EV charging stations in the U.S. – are in California.

This is not the case, though, in other parts of the country. The other 49 states have only 2/3ds of all available charging stations in the country!

I have been researching EVs since last fall. One EV I like uses the J-1772 standard plug for Level 2 charging (up to about 7 kwh or may be 25 miles per hour of charging) and the CCS/SAE (or Combo) standard for up to 50 kwh charging (up to 90 miles in 30 minutes of charging).

Looking around, I discovered in my area, CCS/SAE chargers do not exist. In fact, there are none at all in my town. There are 4 chargers at one location in the next town, 20 miles to the south, and 1 about 35 miles to the north.

If I were to head south from my house, the next fast charging station is about 230 miles down the road – which may or may not be do-able due to crossing mountains. The alternative is to stop for quite a bit at Level 2 charger. Do-able, but not a quick trip.

I found other places in the broad western U.S. where EVs may be difficult, for now – because of a lack of charging stations. From Rapid City to Sioux Falls is 350 miles. This map, from PlugShare, does not show any compatible chargers (J-1772 or SAE/CCS). (See below – there are some hidden options, like RV parks, where you can access a 220 v outlet.)

Some of these – green icons – are typically located at hotels. If you stop overnight, that makes for a decent charging option. But if you were planning to drive through? Probably not going to work out for you as you’ll need to stop for most of a day to fully charge an EV at a Level 2 charger.

In some cases, there are some Level 2 options hidden along these routes – such as 220 v outlets available at some vendors and at RV parks, which are often accessible for a parking fee. Suitable for an overnight stop but not for straight through type driving – you’ll want a fast charger for that!

Presumably, charging networks will continue to expand their footprint.

And of course, it depends on how one uses an EV, where you live, and where you travel. I live in parts of the sparsely populated wide open spaces of the west – which works against me for an EV! But it does have other advantages 🙂