8 Places To Charge Your Electric Car 100% Free

With the growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, more charging stations are needed. Not needing to refill the vehicle with gasoline or diesel is one of the major reasons people switch to EVs.

There are some places where you can charge EVs for free, but these might be difficult to find.

Here’s Where You Can Charge Electric Cars For Free

1. Car Dealerships

If you purchase an EV from a particular brand, they will likely offer you free charging at their dealership or any charging network across the country.

Several automotive brands such as Volkswagen, Nissan, and Chevrolet have dealerships across the country that offer free charging stations for their customers.

But these offers may vary in different regions. These dealerships offer fast chargers that can charge the vehicle in under 15 minutes.

2. National Parks

Many public spots like parks and hotels around the country have installed charging stations on their properties due to the growing numbers of registered EVs in the country.

Between 2016 and 2019, NPS partnered with the automaker BMW to install numerous charging stations in national parks around the country.

Recently, automaker Rivian announced a partnership with the National Park Service to install free waypoint chargers for the public in two big national parks; Yosemite and Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

In addition, the supermarket retailers also offer free charging:

  • Vons,
  • Giants,
  • and Safeway

Volta partnered with many shopping malls in the country to offer free charging stations for the public.

Note that you also often find free parking for Teslas around parks and supermarkets.

3. Lidl

As more and more people begin switching to electric vehicles, users wonder if there are still options for free charging.

Lidl had an old charger that they offered for free because it only worked sometimes.

Now, with new chargers installed at Lidl, the charging speed is up to 60 kW along with CSS cables. There’s also a space in the middle for a type 2 cable. The older charger at Lidl offers a charging speed of 50 kW.

Charging with the older charger at Lidl might take up more of your time, but it’s free.

4. Tesco

In 2021, Volkswagen partnered up with Tesco and Pod Point. They installed 2,400 charging bays across all Tesco stores in the UK.

There are 7 kW charging stations in each Tesco store.

The most you can get at a Tesco charging point is 22.5 miles worth of charge for the vehicle.

The best part is, these chargers are designed not only for Volkswagen vehicles but for all types of electric vehicles driving around the country.

The main aim behind these charging stations was to break any barriers to electric vehicles.

5. Asda

After a partnership with ENGIE, Asda has installed charging stations for its customers that are all available 24/7 throughout the week.

These charging stations are installed in all 19 stores inside the region.

Asda plans to let its customers enjoy free chargers until October 29, 2022. Although the new stations make it convenient for electric vehicle owners to charge their vehicles, after 29 October, customers will have to pay a small fee to charge the vehicles through Asda charging stations.

Right now, Asda plans to install these charging stations in the car parks, so customers can conveniently charge their electric vehicles while they shop.

6. IKEA

IKEA has been working with Ecotricity for the past five years in order to provide free charging stations for its customers.

The idea behind these charging stations is to encourage residents to switch to electric vehicles.

Ecotricity introduces a small fee that customers need to pay in order to use the charging stations available across the country. Some of the charging stations at IKEA sites may also require customers to pay a small expense in order to charge their vehicles.

IKEA also offers a £6 voucher redeemable on the same day to encourage more customers to use an environmentally friendly mode of transport.

7. Aldi

Aldi used to offer free charge to its customers before June 2022, but the range was very limited.

Now Aldi has put a fee on some of its charging stations, so not all locations will offer you a free recharge facility.

Increasing fuel prices worldwide have reinforced the idea of using an electric mode of transport. Compared to the fuel prices, a small fee seems reasonable for all-electric vehicle owners.

In 2015, Aldi was one of the first discounters to offer free electric chargers to its consumers in order to promote the use of environmentally-friendly transportation.

Now that electric vehicles are gradually becoming a norm, many supermarket retailers, along with Aldi, are putting an end to the free electricity offers and charging their customers per each recharge.

8. Beaches

Many beaches across the U.S offer free charging stations for the public.

Manhattan Beach was the first beach in the U.S to house a free charging station for the public. The Hawthorne Savings Bank had paid $3,285 for a charging station at its front entrance to encourage people to drive emission-free vehicles.

Tesla Supercharging Stations

Tesla offers 3 DC fast chargers at their supercharging stations, and contrary to popular belief, these charging stations are not free.

In addition, these charging stations are only available for Tesla owners because the charging connectors are only compatible with Tesla models.

Although early buyers of Tesla Models S and X could charge their vehicles for free with the Tesla Supercharger Network. The same was offered to new buyers of the models a while back.

Here’s how much it costs to use Tesla’s superchargers.

Apps To Locate Free EV Charging Stations

Here are the apps you can use to locate charging stations in your area.

  • ChargePoint
  • PlugShare
  • EVgo
  • ChargeHub
  • EVHotels

Do you pay to charge your electric car at public parking?

Now that EVs are greater in numbers than gasoline-powered vehicles in larger cities, you have to pay a small amount to charge your electric vehicle in public parking.

Although the same rules don’t apply to public parking that advertise “free charge”.

However, you would have to wait a couple of hours before the EV is charged fully or enough to take you home because the charging speed is low at such parking points.

Is it free to charge an electric car at Walmart?

You can’t charge an EV at Walmart for free. But, Walmart does offer fast chargers that let you charge the electric vehicle in about 15-30 minutes while you’re out shopping.

However, not all Walmart stores support charging stations.

You can use apps like Electrify America to check which Walmart stations offer charging stations and which don’t. Walmart charges $0.40 for 8-20 miles per minute.

Is it free to charge electric cars at night?

While it’s not free to charge a car at night, the cheap electricity rates do make a difference in the fee you have to pay for charging the electric vehicle at night.

Nowadays, supermarkets offer memberships for their charging stations, which you can use to minimize the cost of recharges throughout the month.

Is it free to charge a Tesla at a charging station?

Not all, but some public charging networks allow free recharges for Teslas and some other EVs, especially the ones installed by road motorist associations.

Apart from the people who qualify for the free charge on Tesla’s supercharging network, most people have to pay to recharge their cars through the network.

Since January 2017, Tesla has put the free charge limit at 400 kWh per year.

How does payment work at charging stations?

With new charging points being installed, contactless payments have many options. You can pay with your debit or credit card.

You can also use apps like ChargePoint to make online payments per recharge.

Although paying for electric vehicle recharge may vary per charging point, there are multiple convenient online options to utilize. Typical rates of recharging through public charging stations are $1-2 per hour.

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