Knowing if your electric vehicle can go the distance is crucial. Fear not—smartphone apps are here to help ease your range anxiety and give you the peace of mind to hit the open road.
The lineup for mobile apps dedicated to EV charging stations is small, and those out there have some quirks, but here are a few promising ones to test drive. These services may save your day, and can get you from point A to point B (and even C and D) with their trip-planning features. Each integrates Google Maps with GPS technology to give you turn-by-turn directions to your charging station of choice.
ChargePoint • chargepointportal.net This app features a simple, smooth user interface and will point you to unoccupied, nearby charging stations that are part of the nationwide ChargePoint network. View the charging station configuration (voltage/current/connector), price to charge, and total cost of a charging session. Drivers aiming to go day-tripping will appreciate the trip mapping tool, which allows users to locate and reserve stations within five to 1,000 miles along a planned route. Available for Android, iPhone, and Blackberry.
CarStations • carstations.com A relative newcomer to the genre, this app is easy to navigate and will intuitively locate the nearest station within its growing network of charging stations—3,300 and counting, with new stations being added by the company and users regularly. Adding a station is an easy process that you can do from within the app. When in need of juice, filter your search by station type, and get real-time updates on a station’s availability. What’s more, share your tips and heed the advice of other app users, such as a charging station’s exact location in a parking structure or good places to bide your time while your EV’s batteries recharge. Available for Android and iPhone.
PlugShare • plugshare.com Unique to its counterparts, this app taps into the kindness of strangers. In addition to locating public charging stations, you can offer up your home charging station for emergency charges and, when all else fails, find a fellow EV driver willing to do the same for you. Simply create a user profile, upload info about your home charging station, and be willing to field inquiries. While this app is more basic than others, we appreciated its simplicity and ease of use. A straightforward map pools 4,500 public and private charging locations worldwide, and users can share photos, comments, and station specs. Available for iPhone and Android.
Recargo • recargo.com Even if this app had a cost, it would be worth every penny. The design is sleek, the features are well-integrated, and the usability is superior. This app stands out for its ability to toggle between street map and satellite views. We liked scrolling the two news feeds: one with the latest EV news from plugincars.com and one from other users sharing photos, tips, and station info. Search by plug type and charge network (ChargePoint, Blink, and unaffiliated); save locations for future trips; and see when the charge stations are in use, available, or off-line. Available for iPhone and Android.