How to Charge an Electric Car: Grab A Coffee With Friends

Electric Vehicle
Kia Soul EV. Photo: Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

The world of electric and hybrid electric cars is now. 

I was wary of the idea of owning an electric car. The thought of getting stuck with a dead battery, having to sit at a highway rest stop charging my car, or forgoing road trips because my battery wouldn’t get there was a non-starter. Well, that is no longer the case. With the advancement of battery technology, charging spots and fast chargers, all of the above are moot: You can charge an electric car by either sitting in your driveway or in the parking lot of someplace you know.

I have driven my fair share of plug-in electric cars. In my opinion, they are all SUPER chic, VERY trendy, INSANELY futuristic and now, practical.

Read More: Meet the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV: What It’s Like Inside the Electric Car Cult

Electric Vehicle

Kia Soul Electric Car. Photo: Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

Learning How to Drive and Charge an Electric Car

I remember when I was scheduled to receive my first electric vehicle loaner. Although really excited, I was a bit nervous. You see, the Kia Soul EV (for electric vehicle) has an estimated driving range of 111 miles before it needs recharging. Can you say EEEKKKK?!?!?! This bit of news was a little unsettling, because 111 miles is nothing to someone who is always running errands and on the go.

After wallowing in annoyance for .234543 seconds, I decided to google places to charge electric cars in Florida. Boy was I surprised to find out that there are more than 108,000 240-volt charging outlets available nationwide (compare that to 130,000 gas stations. YUP.)  Additionally, you can easily find a station at one of many online resources like, Plugshare and, and if you are a Kia EV owner, the company will help you find charging, too.

Electric Vehicle

PlugShare’s site shows charting stations, and will even show you free charge stations! Photo: PlugShare

When I clicked on PlugShare and typed USA in the search bar, I was happy to see all of the available charging stations pop up. I then narrowed down the search and typed in Boca Raton. I was relieved to find out that there is a charging station at FAU (Florida Atlantic University), which is only .4 miles away from my home. Yippeee!

Read More: Plug In and Charge Up: BMW’s Electric Cars are the Foundation of Its Future

Electric Vehicle

FAU (Florida Atlantic University)’s Charging Station. Photo: Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

Yes! You Can Still Charge an Electric Car for Free

There are many free charging stations around the country. I found charging at FAU is by far one of the easiest I have experienced. There were no fees, the charging devices are not locked and there are several devices.

I just pulled right up to the station, opened the vehicle lever, removed the handle from the charging device and plugged it in, and in a matter of seconds, the vehicle was charging. I knew it was charging because an indicator inside the vehicle lights up when the charging process is in session. #SuperUserFriendly!

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Electric Vehicle

Charging an electric car can be easy, especially when the plug is up front, as in the Kia Soul EV. Photo: Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

Charging can Take Time… So Make a Plan

User-friendly, yes! Slow as molasses, another yes! The station I used was equipped with standard charging devices (Level 2). Meaning it will charge up to about 20 miles of driving distance in an hour. Since the Kia Soul has an estimated driving range of 0-111 miles, it took about 4 to 5.5 hours to fully charge, depending on how low the battery was at that moment. Needless to say that smile I originally had on my face disappeared pretty quick. ????

Now don’t get me wrong, this scenario is perfect for students and faculty because 4 to 5.5 hours is nothing when you live on campus or will be there all day.

However, in my case, I spent most of the week at FAU getting the vehicle recharged. Although there were a couple of days that it didn’t bother me at all. My gal pals followed me to drop it off and then we went shopping, grabbed a coffee and took in a movie.

Electric Vehicle

My friend @crueltyfreelucy and I. Photo: Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

DC Fast Charging Stations/ChargePoint

After struggling with this entire process for the first few days, it got really old and I finally decided to do the smart thing and contact ChargePoint. I told the representative that I was in desperate need of a faster charging station. She not only found several for me, she also walked me through the ChargePoint process.

She informed me that it would be a good idea to download the Mobile ChargePoint app and create an account before heading over to a DC Fast Charging Station (Level 3). Immediately after doing as she suggested, I headed out the door to get a charge.

Electric Vehicle

My friend @PrettyInPigment and I. Photo: Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

DC Fast Charge Changes the Game – Completely

This is a totally different ballgame.

DC Fast Chargers charge much faster than the level 1 and level 2 chargers and had the Soul fully charged in just over 30 minutes. Awesome, right!?!?!? Yes, I totally agree, but charge time is not the only difference between the devices.

Keep reading to see what I mean…

Electric Vehicle

Kia Soul EV Key Fob / ChargePoint Tag. Photo: Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

How Do Charge Stations Charge YOU for the Power?

In MOST cases the faster the charge the more expensive the fees. Some stations charge by kilowatt hours and others by the session. The DC fast chargers station(s) that I frequented have a flat-rate of $5.00 per session/charge. I personally didn’t mind paying $5.00 per session. Yes, I know free is awesome, but sometimes free does not always fit into what you have going on at the moment.

Note: The first time you use a station with a fee, ChargePoint will bill $10.00 to fund your account. When the balance falls below $5.00, it will be automatically replenished. So basically, you have to provide them with a credit card or paypal account information, and when your balance falls below $5.00 they will pull the funds from the payment information on file. #NoMonthlyFee #NoDownloadingFee

Electric Vehicle

Top Right and Left: Clive Daniel Home Decor Store – Boca Raton  and their charging station. Bottom Right and Left: The charging station at a friends apartment building in Boca Raton. Photo: Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Were Easier to Find than I Thought

These charging stations come in handy when I am shopping, meeting my friends, having brainstorming sessions with the besties or running errands. I love that public charging is very accessible. As you can see from the pictures above, you can find them pretty much anywhere.

Electric Vehicle

Kia Soul EV. Photo: Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

A Few More Things to Know Before Taking the Plunge

If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle, ask the dealer as many questions as possible about the process before driving away. I would even ask them to provide a quick tutorial.

Additionally, ensure you are fully aware of the ins and outs of having a charger installed at your home. The cost for installation can vary from cheap, for a dryer outlet and no smart phone connection, to expensive systems that do it all for you. But in some states the power company will pay for part of it. Last but not least, inquire about the tax incentives for purchasers of electric vehicles. The incentives can be very beneficial.

A lot of us will be making the transition to driving and charging an electric car. Once you do it, it’s easy. Sort of like anything else in life: if it’s worthwhile, you’ll figure out how to make it work.

Dawn is a sassy South Florida lifestyle influencer with a love for travel, music and stylish/sleek cars. Additionally, she... More about Dawn Thigpen