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: the answers are either sitting in our driveway or in the parking lot of someplace we know.
I have driven my fair share of plug-in cars. In my opinion, they are all SUPER chic, VERY trendy, INSANELY futuristic and now, practical.
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 (Electric Vehicle) has an estimated driving range of 0-111 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 vehicles in FL. Boy was I surprised to find out that there are over 35,000 240-volt charging outlets available nationwide. Additionally, you can easily find a station at one of many online resources like, Plugshare and Chargepoint.com, and if you are a Kia EV owner, the company will help you find charging, too.
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!
Yes! Free Electric Car Charging Stations
Charging at FAU is by far one of the easiest I have experienced. There are no fees (COMPLETELY FREE), 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!
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 plan on being 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, because my gal pals followed me to drop it off and then we went shopping, grabbed a coffee, and took in a movie.
DE 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 DE Fast Charging Station (Level 3). Immediately after doing as she requested, I headed out the door to get a charge.
In my experience, charging your vehicle at a station with DE Fast Chargers is a totally different ballgame.
These devices charge much faster than the standard devices 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…
In MOST cases the faster the charge the more expensive the fees. Some stations charge by kilowatts 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 number or your 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 Charging Stations
These charging stations come in handy when I am shopping, meeting the gal pals, 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.
Peeps, if you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle, ensure you 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 and in some states the power company will pay for part of it. Last but not least, inquire about the tax and rebate cash incentives for purchasers of electric vehicles. The incentives can be very beneficial.
So electric vehicle drivers, while hanging out with the besties, visiting friends and/or when you are just out and about, where do you charge your vehicles? Inquiring minds would love to know!