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5 Ways to Charge Your EV For Free

EVs are excellent alternatives to ICE vehicles, and they can also exert significantly less stress on your wallet. Weekly trips to the gas station are a thing of the past with the purchase of an EV, and if you play your cards right, it’s possible to charge your EV free of charge.

There are quite a few options out there for the frugal EV owner looking to recharge a vehicle for free, ranging from manufacturer incentives all the way to completely free charging stations.

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1. Charge Your EV With Volta

Many people are still asking themselves which charging network is superior, Tesla’s Supercharger network or Electrify America. But there’s a great alternative out there for the frugal EV owner in the form of Volta. Volta offers an innovative concept that allows them to offer its charging service free of charge to the client in exchange for advertisers presenting their ads on the charging station.

Volta offers L2 (Standard) and L3 (DC Fast Charging) services free of charge. Customers can expect to recoup up to 35 miles of range after an hour of L2 charging. Their fast charging service is more limited in availability and is only available for 30-minutes free of charge. After the 30-minute window expires, the client must pay a fee.


Regardless, you get amazing returns after the free 30-min window because Volta offers up to 50-60kWh charging for its fast chargers. So if your vehicle supports fast charging, this is an excellent way to charge your EV up quickly in a truly free way.

The only downside to Volta is the limited number of charging stations and that almost a third of them are located in California. Regardless, the concept is a great one and is slowly expanding.

Download: Volta for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

2. Manufacturer Incentives

If you’re planning on purchasing a new EV, you should check out which manufacturers offer free charging services for your new EV. VW’s Electrify America is working hard to improve its charging infrastructure to offer clients a better experience, and this includes partnering with manufacturers to offer great charging incentives.

At the very top of the list of remarkable charging perks, you’ll find Audi’s e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT, with Audi offering three years of free charging for both EVs through the Electrify America charging network.

Porsche also offers three years of free charging for the Taycan via Electrify America, but the sessions are capped at 30 minutes for fast charging and 60 minutes for regular charging.

BMW’s i4 and iX also offer generous charging perks in the form of free charging during the first 30 minutes of a fast-charging session. BMW offers this free charging through Electrify America, and it is good for two years. Mercedes also offers the same plan for its EQS and EQE sedans.

Hyundai is another manufacturer offering free charging incentives via Electrify America’s network. If you purchase an IONIQ 5 you can also expect to receive two years of complimentary 30-minute fast charging.

3. Adopt a Charger

Another option for free charging is Adopt a Charger, a non-profit organization that partners with sponsors to offer free charging (mostly L2-type electric vehicle chargers) to promote the adoption of electric vehicles. Adopt a Charger recently announced a collaboration with Rivian to install multiple Rivian Waypoint charging stations in Yosemite National Park and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. All of these charging stations are free to the public.

The great news is that 13 charging stations located at Yosemite have already been upgraded to Rivian Waypoint stations, and more are on the way. The only downside to this free service is that it’s only available in ten US states at the moment. Regardless, with the proliferation of electric vehicles, this service will continue to expand throughout the country.

4. Charge Your EV During Your Hotel Stay or Supermarket Shop

Many hotels currently offer EV charging stations for guests, and the future promises many more EV charging stations at your favorite hotels with companies like Marriott and Hilton investing in charging infrastructure. If you’re looking for free charging and own a Tesla, Radisson announced a partnership that allows Tesla owners to charge their vehicles at Radisson locations free of charge.

The caveat is that you must park in their establishment and be a guest in some capacity. The bright side is that you don’t necessarily have to stay at the hotel; you can pop into the restaurant for a drink while your Tesla enjoys a free fill-up.

Other businesses, such as supermarkets and fast-food outlets, also offer free EV charging, but like hotels from the same company, this isn’t yet a universal feature.

5. Charge Your EV on Campus

Many universities are adding EV chargers to their campus in order to support sustainable transportation. Specifically, the University of Florida offers free charging for students and staff via the ChargePoint network, although you must create a ChargePoint account to utilize the charging stations.

The University of Florida also enforces a strict four-hour time limit for users charging their electric vehicles to ensure different people are continuously using the charger. Although the university requires UF parking decals to be present while charging the electric vehicle, decal enforcement measures are lifted after 4:30 pm.

Many universities across the US currently offer charging stations for their students, but many require the user to pay a charging rate, so the University of Florida stands out.


Free EV Charging—If You Know Where to Look

There are various ways to charge your EV for free, but free charging stations aren’t ubiquitous at the moment. If you’re shopping for an EV and you really want to enjoy free charging, the best bet is to go with a new EV that offers manufacturer incentives such as the ones mentioned in this article.

Regardless of the current infrastructure, the future is definitely promising when it comes to the development of more charging stations, especially free ones. In addition, as EV sales continue to soar, more and more commercial locations will begin to offer complimentary EV charging to lure customers.

Free charging stations, such as Adopt a Charger and Volta, will also continue to pop up all over the nation as the demand for electric vehicles continues to rise. It is feasible that EV owners will be able to operate their EV completely free-of-charge while simply going about their daily routine in the future.

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