Start with David Herron's article What charging networks exist? ChargePoint? Plugshare?
Benswing Rich has a lot of experience with finding charging at RV parks- see his videos on Youtube about his rides across the USA. With regards to finding reliable J1772 "J-Plug" stations, he says "ChargePoint is definitely my favorite. In large part because I can track charging via their app. That way I know when my charge is done or has been interrupted. I rely on PlugShare reviews to inform me which stations are unreliable and that has worked well for me. I also like ClipperCreek, Inc. chargers and SemaCharge because they sometimes are higher powered (7.2kW). Problem stations (for Elcons) were old style GE Wattstations (the new ones work fine) and Eaton. But I think both work with the Supercharger v2. Blink stations have a 50% success rate over 4 years of long distance journeys, so I avoid them like the plague. Also, they are underpowered even when they work."
ChargePoint is a large EV charging network with good reliability, and particularly an excellent software service for knowing whether a station is working and taken before you arrive, queuing to use a station, and for monitoring a charge remotely while your EV is using a station.
If you're traveling, ChargePoint should be the first mobile app to check while planning your next trip leg.
PlugShare is not a charging network, but an information-sharing service for EV owners and those making their EV chargers available to the public or on a request basis.
Their service is very good for cross-service discoverability and a certain amount of basic route/travel planning.
EVgo highlights their DC fast charging which is inaccessible to Zero owners for now. Their AC charging is relatively reliable, but as a second tier service, it does not get the attention that the DC charging gets, so your experience may vary.
Blink is an early EV charging network startup company that had reliability and rollout troubles. Their chargers often work serviceably but with low power capacity in the 3kW range with a mis-calibrated J1772 signal.
RV Parks and Campgrounds (US)
- David Herron's Charging Etiquette covers a great deal of the issues involved with EV charging as a social problem.
- Take Charge And Go Hangers
- "Take Charge and Go EV Charging Hangers are an excellent way to indicate to other Electric Vehicle drivers know how long you will be charging and to share proper etiquette. Simply plug your car in with the hanger on the charging port or dashboard of your car and let others know when you can share the spot."
- Take Charge And Go Etsy shop with bundled packs of tags
- EV Frisbee
- Put this on your "dash" to give contact info and basic charging estimates for others to notice.
- EV-Frisbee etiquette website
- EV Etiquette Kit
- evEtiquette Etsy shop
Here are some scrounged notes on how to deal with other EVs by model.
Generally, you want a field guide for whether the vehicle is actively charging or done charging, so that you don't interrupt a charge, but can also get a charge without inconveniencing a stranger.
Some stations share capacity, so knowing the default charging rate of the other vehicle at a station helps determine whether pairing will work.
|Manufacturer||Model||L2 Charging Rate (kW)||Location||Appearance||In Progress||Not Charging||Notes|
|BMW||ActiveE||6.6 (governed to 5.5)||Bottom of center rear-view mirror||Blue light||Blinking||Off|
|i3||3.3-7.7||Inside the charge port flap||Colored lights||Blue flashing||Green on (charging complete) or white on (charging cable can be disconnected)||
|Volt||A long flashing light indicates delayed charging, which should never be used in a public charging spot when others may be waiting.|
|Fisker||Fisker Karma||3.4||Instrument cluster||On||Off||
|Ford||C-Max Energi||3.3||Around charge port||Blue ring||Lights up in four blue quartered segments||Off|
|TH!NK||Dashboard||Two green lights||Both on and linked||Only one on|
|Fiat||500e||6.6||Dashboard||Row of LEDs||Single LED flashing||Off||
|Honda||Fit EV||6.6||Next to the charge port||Green LED||On||Off||If it's flashing, the charging rate has been reduced because of a problem.|
|Mercedes||E-Class||10||None||Must check station|
|Mitsubishi||i-MiEV||3.3||Dashboard||Red electric plug symbol||On||Off|
|Nissan||Leaf||3.3-6.6||Dashboard||Three blue lights||Any flashing||All on or all off||
|Smart||Fortwo ED||3.3||None||The only indication is on the Tesla UMC|
|Tesla||Roadster||Inside of charge port||Lighting around||Flashes amber||Solid green|
|Model S||10 (20 with dual charger)||Around the charge port||Multicolored light||Pulses green||Solid green||If the vehicle is locked during charging, the charge port light does not illuminate but the vehicle continues to charge. ref|
|Toyota||Plug-in Prius||3.3||Next to the charge port||Amber electric plug icon||Off|
|RAV4 EV||10||At the bottom of the back side window above the charge port on the driver's side of the car||Two amber lights||Both solid or off|
|Victory||Empulse||3.6||Instrument cluster||LCD display||Time, kW, amps||Off or shows full|
|Zero||S,SR,DS,DSR||1.3 (3.8 or more with a tank J plug)||Bottom of instrument cluster||Green light||Blinking||Solid or off||