Charging in Public
1 min read
What Are The Steps to Charging an EV in Public
May 3, 2024
Martin Hamedani
VP of Partnership @Bluedot
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EVs or electric cars are all in the range these days, and as their popularity grows, drivers expect more public EV charging stations at various locations for easy charging on the go. 

While charging overnight at home is the fastest EV charging method, this might not be an option if you live in an apartment, and older homes' electrical systems may not work with the charger. If you’re facing such a problem, a public EV charger is a great option. 

Let’s dive into all the steps and things you need to know when charging your electric car in public.

What is Public EV Charging?

Sometimes, when you’re out on a long journey or just want the convenience of charging your EV away from home, public EV charging is the way to go. Unlike private EV chargers, you just plug in the charger and then remove it when your car is charged. Generally, they are free to use. 

The infrastructure for EV charging is growing, and usually, these stations are located in areas like parking lots, highways, shopping centers, etc. Currently, New York and California have the most public EV charging stations. 

Moreover, most charging stations are free to use. There are also paid stations that offer faster charging, etc. Furthermore, seven different networks provide 91% of the public EV charging stations in the US. 

As such, drivers have to download different types of apps and payment methods to pay for charging. Plus, charging expense reports for fleet managers are then fragmented across different apps and cards. Fleet managers need these reports to reimburse drivers. This is a hassle for both drivers who use EVs and fleet managers who manage EVs. 

Steps for Charging an EV in Public

Follow the basic steps given below for a seamless public EV charging experience. The tips and tricks below will help you out a lot; trust me on this. 

Step 1: Finding the Charging Station

The basic steps for charging are simple: simply take out your cable - it comes with your EV -plug it in, and unplug it when done. But, before anything else, you need to locate your charging stations. 

While there are many apps to locate charging stations, you don’t have that clutter on your mobile. Instead, the Bluedot for Fleets app has a network of over 120,000 public EV charging stations, making your process of locating available EV stations much easier. 

Step 2: Connect the Cable

So, after you’ve found a station, you need to connect the cable to your car’s charging port. Free stations often do not have cables, so you can always use your car’s cable that comes with your EV. Most cars have different chargers for regular and rapid charging. Most cars support fast charging, so if the plug fits, your vehicle should be compatible.

For beginners unfamiliar with EVs and different EV charging cables, Bluedot for Fleets provides support to drivers by explaining the different types of connectors and what to use with which EV public station, etc. 

Step 3: Start and Ending a Charging Session

To start the session, you will first need to authenticate yourself, and this can be done with a keycard, fob, or a mobile app for some charging stations. Then, after authentication, you pay. In some, you can start the session directly by touching your credit or debit card. To end the session, simply swipe your card or fob again or stop using an app. 

Instead of downloading different apps for starting sessions and payment, you can simply use Bluedot, an all-in-one app for tracking, managing, and optimizing EV charging. Since both locating and tracking are in one app, you can keep track of your spending and also automate the reimbursement process. 

Things to Know Before Charging

While public EV charging seems like a simple process, there are multiple things you need to know and take care of for a seamless and error-free experience. 

What are the Different Types of Connectors? 

There are 3 types of connectors for EV charging. The most common is SAE J1772, which can charge all-electric cars in the US with both level 1 and level 2. Then, there is the SAE Combined / J1772 CCS Combo connector, which enables DC fast charging for vehicles. 

Meanwhile, the third type of connector is currently only compatible with Tesla vehicles, but this will change soon, too, according to USNews.  However, in the current scenario, most of the electric vehicle brands are offering their customers an adaptor that connects the non-Tesla EVs with the Tesla charging stations.

In addition to this, some of the EV manufacturers have also altered their charging ports to make them compatible with Tesla’s EV chargers. With this altered port design, they are negating the need for an adapter to charge a non-Tesla EV via a Tesla’s connector.

Bluedot for Fleets connects you with charging stations that are compatible with your electric car. 

What are the Different Charging Speeds/levels?

There are basically 3 levels of charging speeds. You can find details about each below, along with their power output (kW) and power capacity (average KWh). 

  • Level 1: It’s the slowest level and provides over 2-5 miles of range per hour, and it usually takes 8-12 hours to charge an EV battery. The power outputs of Level 1 charging can peak up to 2.3 kW.
  • Level 2: It’s faster and offers around 10-60 miles of range per hour, and charges a battery in 3-6 hours using a level 2 charger. The level 2 charging can feed the EV with 22kW on the go. However, the average power consumption of an electric vehicle is usually 0.20kWh.
  • Level 3: Also called DC fast charging, it offers 300 miles per hour. An EV battery can go from 0 to 80% in 20-30 minutes when charged with a DC charging port. The 3rd charging level supplies an output power of 400kW to the EV.

How to Pay at EV Charging Stations? 

Charging an EV is a self-service task, and you can’t use cash for it. There are basically two ways to pay for EV charging.

The first method involves an account with a charge point operator or mobility service provider, who will provide you with an RFID card or a fob. You can use this card or fob to pay for charging. 

The other method is paying directly via debit/credit card or a charging app. This is a flexible method if you often use different charging networks. Moreover, Bluedot covers 80% of the nation’s charging network, and you can easily pay using the Bluedot app at most stations. 

EV Charging Étiquettes

If you have just shifted to an electric vehicle, you are liable to some social obligations as an EV owner. When charging your electric vehicles, you should always act as a responsible citizen and adhere to the moral values that society expects from you.

For instance, when you are charging your vehicle, you should keep an eye on your car's charging status. After your car is completely charged, you must move to let the others waiting in the queue to charge their vehicles.

Furthermore, when you plug in your vehicle, you should ensure the car is accurately plugged in. Some technical glitches may intervene within one or two minutes of you plugging in your electric car. Hence, you should be careful to avoid any inconvenience and keep people waiting for their turn.

After charging your car, you should neatly coil the charger and place it on the designated stand. That way, you can ward off tripping hazards and help keep the charging tools in good shape. Likewise, if you find a dysfunctional charger, you should immediately inform the authorities so that it can be replaced or repaired.

From finding a compatible power station, to knowing the level of EV charging, there are many things you need to be aware of for efficient and hazard-free charging at public EV stations. 

With Bluedot, users can access over 120,000 EV charging points nationwide with a single app to find, pay, and access each charger. If you are interested in learning more about the nation’s largest charging aggregator, connect with us at