How To Use A Public EV Charger?

If you’re new to the EV industry, you may not be familiar with charging, especially in public.

In this guide, we look at how to use a public EV charger, where to locate them and safety tips to remember when charging.

Let’s not ramble on any longer…

Locating Public EV Charging Stations

two public charging stations

One of the easiest ways by far is to download an app such as ZapMap, which helps you locate all the charging stations in and around the UK. They show you what ones are available and what power output you can expect, so you will never have range anxiety again. You can plan your trip by highlighting where you want to stop to charge.

If you have a navigation system built into your car, this will also have features that let you know your near a charging station. You will be able to search for them and then ask for directions, this again is another handy way.

Good old-fashioned signposts, if you know what you’re looking for, you can follow the signs to the nearest charge point. This will likely be at a shopping centre, motorway services, supermarkets or public car parks.

Initiating a Charging Session

Firstly, you need to make sure you have signed up to a charging network, then you can download their app and use it to find relevant charging stations. You can then follow the instructions on the app to initiate your charge.

Some stations will also accept payment through a contactless or RFID card. You just have to swipe the car before you begin and this will let you know whether it accepts guest users, if so, you can follow the instructions on hand and payment will normally be taken via a credit card.

Connecting Your EV to the Charger

It’s vital that you identify the correct charging connector, below are the four different types you can expect to see and a little bit of information about each:

J1772 Connector – This is a standard connector for many EVs, providing AC slow to fast charging. It’s not often used in the UK and is mainly just for the US.

CCS Connector – Used nationwide, this connector supports fast charging AC and DC. It has two additional DC pins on the lower part for high-speed charging.

CHAdeMO Connector – This connector provides DC fast charging. It’s less common than CCS, but it can be used with an extensive range of electric vehicles in the UK.

Tesla Connector – This connector is used exclusively by Tesla vehicles. You can find it at Tesla’s Supercharger stations and it provides fast charging. Adapters allow the use of other connectors.

Plugging In and Securing the Connection

Once you are satisfied that you have the right charging connector, it’s time to plug it into your EV. You first have to open the charging port cover, then push the connector in firmly so that it’s securely attached. You will usually see a light or some indication on the dashboard to signal that the connection is successful.

You may have to confirm the connection through an app or screen but this is not always the case. Once this is complete, the charging process should start automatically. Remember never to force the connector, which could damage the port or connector itself. Just gently push it in until it feels secure.

Monitoring the Charging Progress

Below are three ways that you can monitor the charging progress:

Charging Station Display – This is the best way if you want real-time updates about how quickly the vehicle is charging, as it gives you information about how much power is being delivered, the duration of charging, and what the estimated time is until fully charged. 

Vehicle’s Display – Your onboard system can also monitor the charging status. This may include all the information that the charging station display provides.

Smartphone App – Many charging networks and EV manufacturers provide apps that let you keep track of your charging status, notify when charging is complete, or alert you to any issues during the process. 

Ending A Charging Session

When you have finished charging, you must ensure your EV is no longer charging when you disconnect the cable. Press the release button on the connector when it is safe to do so, and remove it from the charging port.

Then place the connector back to it’s spot where you got it from to ensure it does not get damaged. If you already have an account setup, then payment will be automatically taken, if not, you can pay by card by following the on screen instructions.

Lastly, you can check the charging display, which will tell you how much battery level you now have after that session and the expected range. It should also say that the charging session is now complete.

Charging Etiquette And Safety Tips

  • Don’t hog the charging station if there are a lot of people waiting and you don’t need the extra charge.


  • Make sure the charging cables are not in people’s way and never touch the connectors metal parts.


  • Avoid overcharging, just go to the sufficient level required and then make it available for the next customer.



We hope this guide helped explain how to safely use a charging station when out in public. It’s very straightforward and you can usually charge whether you are signed up to a network or just using it as a guest and paying there straight after the charge.

Always make sure that you are putting the equipment away safely and properly to ensure it does not get damaged. If you want to have a look at our other EV posts, then head back to our main page.

Picture of Nick

Nick is the proud owner of a MG ZS EV and is an EV fanatic. He has been featured in notable publications like USA Today and The Times for his expertise in the field.