According to the California Energy Commission, there are 79,023 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the Golden State, of which 35,594 are public chargers. You can find the closest ones to you using an online map.
With rising gas prices, electric cars have taken the world by storm—and California has seen some of the biggest jumps in EV usage in the country. As of December 2021, California housed 39% of EVs nationwide, with 563,070 registered.
To incentivize going electric, the Golden State offers up to $7,000 back on the purchase or lease of a new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), battery electric vehicle (BEV), or a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). But the state’s public charging infrastructure must also expand to keep up with the growing interest in going electric.
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Where to find electric vehicle charging stations in California
Charging an electric car isn’t as simple as finding a charging station and plugging in—you’ll need to consider a few factors before you track one down. Before looking for a station, it’s essential to know the different types of charging equipment available and which charger you need.
- Level 1: Equivalent to a 120-volt household outlet; charging generally takes over 24 hours; ideal for plug-in hybrids
- Level 2: 220 volts; charging takes between 4 and 8 hours with a charging rate between 12 and 80 miles of range per hour; ideal for home charging
- Level 3: Also known as DC fast charging (DCFC); 400 to 900 volts; charges at a rate of 3 to 20 miles per minute; ideal for road trips
- Tesla Supercharger: Tesla’s proprietary DC fast chargers; more plugs per site on average
Most of the public chargers in California are Level 2, DC fast chargers, and Tesla Superchargers. Level 1 chargers are reserved mainly for home use, as the charging times are significantly longer and less ideal for those looking for a quick juice-up.
However, you will find Level 1s scattered throughout the state. For example, you can find a Level 1 charger at:
If you’re looking for EV chargers in California, there are a few websites to help track them down:
California cities with the most EV charging stations
Total number of public charging stations
How much does it cost to charge an electric car in California?
While charging an EV will cost less than filling up your gas tank—especially in California—charging isn’t always free. Here’s what your EV charging costs might look like in California.
Although Level 1 chargers are substantially slower than Level 2 and DC fast chargers, they have one significant advantage: they’re usually free! However, if there is a cost associated with a Level 1 charger, it’s typically pretty cheap.
With faster charging, comes higher prices. California is moving away from time-based charging toward a fee structure based on kWh used. Drivers can expect to pay around $0.30 per kWh using a Level 2 charger and $0.40 per kWh for DC fast charging.
For example, a Nissan LEAF with a 150-mile range and 40-kWh battery would cost roughly $12 to fully charge (empty to full) using a Level 2 and $16 using DC fast charging.
Remember that you may have to pay for parking at a charging location. But you can help reduce charging costs with a membership. At specific charging sites, you can pay a small monthly fee and access reduced charging rates.
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California electric vehicle incentives
As the state with the highest number of electric car charging stations, finding one might not be a challenging task, but it still might be difficult in smaller towns. However, California is ahead of the curve, as the government continues to fund initiatives to encourage the adoption of low-emission vehicles.
California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) offers Californians a rebate of up to $7,000 on the lease or purchase of a new electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. They also offer residential Level 2 charger rebates to make home charging more accessible and affordable.
Rebates are also available for business owners. You can learn more about
available incentives in Californiaby visiting the Drive Clean website.
On top of individual incentives, California is also pushing to reach its goal of getting 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roads by 2025. The U.S. Joint Office of Energy and Transportation's signoff on the California Deployment Plan for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program means there is an initial $56 million in funding available for installing charging stations throughout the state that will support the transition to clean, zero-emission electric vehicles here.
How to save on electric car insurance in California
If you’re behind the wheel of an electric car in California, you’re racking in massive savings on fuel costs (the average price for gas in California is $6.196 per gallon). But, you’re probably paying higher-than-average prices for car insurance.
Car insurance for green vehicles—especially more expensive models—is typically more than for gas-powered vehicles due to EVs’ higher costs for parts and repairs.
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