Written by Suzanne Stougie
In your day-to-day life, you probably have your electric vehicle charging needs pretty much worked out. Maybe you drive to work and back, and charge while you sleep. Or maybe you're charging at work. But with Christmas coming up, you may be looking at a longer drive to visit family and loved ones. Find yourself in need of a public charging pit-stop or two, to extend your driving range and make it all the way to that turkey dinner? There are some great apps out there to guide you on your way.
Public Charging at San Francisco City Hall, Photographed by Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz) from Wikimedia Commons

Best For Road Trips

Covering charging stations all over North America, the ChargeHub app includes a clever trip planning tool. New or nervous EV drivers can ease their driving range anxiety somewhat by carefully mapping out their desired charging moments along the route. They can filter for charging speed, type of plug, and charging network too. May peace of mind be yours on your road trip.

Best for Free Charging

Plugshare once started as a way for EV charging unit owners to make the world a better place: by opening up their chargers to the world. Since those early days, Plugshare has expanded above and beyond, providing a comprehensive map of public charging stations all over the US. There’s one big added bonus: Plugshare contains a filter for free chargers. Its tight-knit community of real drivers continuously feeds data into the system. Make sure you read the reviews for the latest intel, including if the charging is still free by the time you set off. 

Best for Fast Charging

Electrify America runs a network of fast chargers and a trusty app to go with it, giving you all the info you need to actually find the charger in question. (If it's in a parking lot around the back, the app will tell you so.) Which can be a lifesaver: if you're about to run out of power, you won't want to be driving round the block twenty times, looking for the darned charger station... The app will also reliably inform you of if the charger is up and running, and if it’s free to use at your ETA.

Best All Around

Their map of the world needs no introduction, and of course they've long since added EV charging stations to their search options. But did you know you can now select for fast charging as well as plug types too? Google Maps isn't quite as slick on the filtering side of things as some of the apps mentioned here. Yet, it offers reliable results all the same. It is also great for those who don't want to register with yet another app.

Best for a Quick Nap While You Wait

This clever app helps you find hotels with or near a public charging station, so you can have a rest while powering up your EV. You can search for preferred hotel chains, customize the walking distance in case the hotel doesn't have an on-site charging unit, and distinguish between superchargers, fast DC chargers and standard units.

EVHotels is available on the App Store only. All other apps are available on the App Store or on Google Play.