I'll divide this post into two sections:
1. Home charging stations (Beyond the travel cord)
2. Public / workplace charging stations
HOME CHARGING STATIONS:
There are two types of level 2 (240 volt) charging stations (also called EVSE) for the home:
1. Those that supply up to 16A (amps) and require a 20A circuit breaker. These will cut the charge time roughly in half vs the 120 volt cord that comes with the car. If you have an older home with limited additional electrical panel capacity, this may be your only option.
2. Those that supply up to 30A and require a 40A circuit breaker. These will cut the charge time to 1/4 of what it takes the 120 volt cord that comes with the car. This is preferred if your home electrical system can handle it. If not, go for option 1.
Let's say you have a 20 mile one way commute. With the 240 volt, 30 amp home charger, you can replenish the energy used for your daily commute in about an hour and a half. That's handy if you want to head to the city 30 miles away for a night on the town. This assumes no charging at the workplace or in public. I'll go into that later in this post.
You can get a home charging station for about $800. Installation costs will vary widely and electricians will often paint a pessimistic picture about the scope of work and costs involved. Often it's not as bad as they say it is. My ChargePoint CT500 was successfully installed in a home with a 60 year old 100A panel...all legal with permits and city inspections.
Basically, if you have a panel that has switch type breakers and not screw-in fuses, the odds are good. If the panel is "full" with no space for extra breakers, ask your electrician about replacing some of the breakers with "twins" that fit two breakers in the space of one. Some panel manufacturers will allow some, but not all of the spaces to be occupied by twins. This will free up space for the large 40 amp breaker you will need for the EVSE.
The other big factor is the distance from the panel to the EVSE. If your panel is in or near the garage, life is good. If you have to go from the other end of the house, that will add another couple of hundred to the cost.
PUBLIC / WORKPLACE STATIONS
Good news for the EV driver: There are over 9000 public and workplace charging stations
and more are being installed daily. Most require a smart card
to operate them, but you can also call the 800 number on them ans the person on the other end will unlock it for you remotely.
Most public stations are free, but some are charging by the hour (like a parking meter) or the kiloWatt-Hour. The idea is that if the station owners can get paid back for their investment in refueling infrastructure and the juice itself, more businesses and municiplaities will be willing to install stations.
You can use a smartphone app
to find stations and the Focus Electric navigation system will also help locate them. The advantage of using the smartphone app is that it gives you real time status, showing if a particular station is in use or available. Some stations allow you to reserve them in advance so you'll be assured of availability when you get there. When charging at some public stations, you'll get a text when the car is fully charged or if someone unplugs the car.
Many employers have installed charging stations in their employee parking lots to encourage employees to buy EVs. If your employer has not done so yet, be sure to ask. There are often tax benefits for them to do that. Some do it for the green cred. Either way, it's a win for us EV drivers.