EV Myth: You need a smart phone to use a public charging station.

December 16, 2021

Myth: You need a smart phone to be able to charge at a pub­lic charger.

Myth BUSTED: You do not always need an app for that – you can use your cred­it card to pay for your charg­ing ses­sion instead.

As more EV charg­ers are added to the nation­al charg­ing net­work, cus­tomers are expe­ri­enc­ing increased com­plex­i­ties over how to access the pow­er. The adage, “there’s an app for that,” comes into play here but the good news is you don’t always NEED an app for that.

First, I want to note that 90 per­cent of charg­ing hap­pens at home. When you charge on your 110‑V out­let or your 240‑V home Lev­el 2 charg­er, you will be billed direct­ly through your util­i­ty. Some util­i­ties now offer spe­cial­ized EV Charg­ing pro­grams with ded­i­cat­ed cir­cuits that will clear­ly des­ig­nate your EV charg­ing costs from oth­er elec­tric­i­ty costs. Talk to your local util­i­ty about these options today!

If you do need to charge “in the wild,” you can down­load PlugShare or Charge­Hub or sim­ply type “EV Charg­er” into Google Maps to find near­by pub­lic charg­ers. Many EV dri­vers do down­load charg­ing net­work apps like EVGo, Charge­Point, and Elec­tri­fy Amer­i­ca to access charg­ers. Some man­u­fac­tur­ers have their own apps as well includ­ing Ford, Tes­la, and Riv­ian. Using these apps is sim­ple – you cre­ate an account and use the inter­face to reg­is­ter on the charg­ing sta­tion which will rec­og­nize your account and bill you direct­ly. Addi­tion­al­ly, many of these net­works will send you an RFID-card reg­is­tered to your account. Vir­tu­al­ly every charg­ing net­work (of which there are many) has their own app. The ben­e­fit of using these apps would be to accrue mem­ber­ship points and ben­e­fits as a loy­al cus­tomer as well as to pro­tect your per­son­al finan­cial infor­ma­tion, which may be sub­ject to greater vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty with the use of mag­net­ic read­er strips as opposed to con­tact­less payments.

How­ev­er, if you are like me and you are averse to down­load­ing 15 dif­fer­ent apps for one pur­pose, you can access many charg­ing sta­tions with a cred­it card. I per­son­al­ly have used a cred­it card at a few dif­fer­ent EVGo sta­tions. That being said, some charg­ing net­works do not offer this, so it is smart to check before head­ing to one. You can see reviews from past users and ask ques­tions on PlugShare’s website.

Final­ly, because many indus­try experts rec­og­nize the lack of inter­op­er­abil­i­ty between dif­fer­ent charg­ing net­works is a bar­ri­er to access, there are cur­rent­ly efforts under­way to cre­ate a uni­ver­sal­ly acces­si­ble charg­ing net­work using Open Charge Point Inter­face (OCPI) soft­ware. The U.S. gov­ern­ment is help­ing to smooth the wrin­kles here as part of their goal to install 500,000 EV charg­ing sta­tions across Amer­i­ca by 2030.

Writ­ten by Son­ja Meints­ma, Region­al Direc­tor for South­ern Col­orado of Dri­ve Clean Colorado


Blan­co, S. and Nichols, B. 3 Decem­ber 2019. "EV Charg­ing Sta­tions: Where to find them, what type you need, how to pay." Car and Dri­ver. <https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a30031153/ev-charging-guide/>.

Whit­tak­er, Zachary. 11 June 2019. "Card read­ers at elec­tric vehi­cle charg­ing sta­tions will weak­en secu­ri­ty, researchers say." Tech Crunch. <https://techcrunch.com/2019/06/11/electric-vehicle-charging-credit-card-fraud/>.

Yahoo Finance. 22 Novem­ber 2021. "Major com­pa­nies are call­ing for fed­er­al stan­dards ensur­ing open access and sim­ple pay­ment meth­ods for elec­tric vehi­cle charg­ing infra­struc­ture." <https://finance.yahoo.com/news/major-companies-calling-federal-standards-165108789.html>.

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