Charger Setup 103: PlugShare

Using PlugShare to get the word out

Once you have set up a way for EV drivers to charge, you still need a way to get the word out to those drivers. This is where PlugShare comes in. The PlugShare web site has over 400,000 registered users and is the most extensive database of U.S. charging stations. PlugShare is also available as an app for both iPhone and Android. Adding your charging station to PlugShare is the easiest way to make it known to EV drivers, and it's both easy and free!

Here is a step-by-step guide to placing your new charging station on PlugShare. I would recommend doing this on a computer rather than a phone, for ease of reviewing the map options and entering information.


Register as a User
Anyone can use PlugShare to view charging sites and information, but in order to add a new charging site or edit one, you must be a registered user. When you first visit PlugShare.com you will be presented with a popup screen to log in or set up a new account. There is also a 'Register' link in the top right of the page.
The PlugShare welcome popup


PlugShare requires very little more than an email address to register. Select an appropriate user name and password, tell them your country and check the box indicating that you have read the privacy policy and terms of use. Then follow the instructions for completion. It's simple and free! It is a good idea to choose a user name related to your business; when you later use the 'Check-in' function to post information about your station or respond to another user's statement, it will add a measure of official-ness to your posts. You can go to your user profile later and add a photo.
The PlugShare registration form



View the Map
PlugShare's main interface is a map of charging locations, with all options in a menu at the left. These options include display of sites with specific types of plugs, sites that are part of specific commercial charging networks, and also a trip planner.
The PlugShare main map - wow, look at all those chargers!


Before adding your charging station, you should zoom in on the map to your location. You should get very close - so that individual streets or even buildings are visible. When you begin to add your station, the map will then already be in the right area.
Zoom in on the map first. In this example, I'm aiming for the Post Office in Ash Fork, AZ.



Add a Station
To add a station, scroll down on the lefthand menu to the 'Add a Station' option, click on that, and then click again on 'Add Public Location'. If you are not logged in, you will be prompted to do so.

The 'Add Location' menu is very straightforward.  You should include as much information as you are able - the more, the better! You are asked to enter a location name and an address, and a map below shows your proposed location with a purple marker. At first, the marker is placed at the center of the map's position. You can click and drag the pin to the exact location that you want.
The 'Add Location' form


You can also place the pin using one of two buttons:
1. Once you have entered an address, you can use the 'Move Pin to Address' button, and this will move the pin automatically to the exact address as placed by Google Maps' database. For large properties this might not be exactly where you want the pin to be, so be sure to verify that the pin is in the right spot if you choose this method.
2. Alternatively, you can use the 'Set Address to Pin' button, which will use your pin's location and pull the address of that location from Google Maps' database. Sometimes this can cause unexpected results, like getting an address from an adjacent street instead of the one you first specified, so I would urge caution using this option. In most cases you will want your establishment's proper official address to be the one used on PlugShare.

You may find it helpful to use Satellite View on the map and zoom in very far, so you can identify the exact spot of your charger or outlet. It's best to get as close as you can to the actual charger location so that drivers won't have far to look once they arrive.

Below the map, PlugShare places a notification of other nearby locations in red text. This is done to avoid duplication - so that PlugShare users who want to add a new site they have found can be alerted if that site is already entered.
A tight zoom and satellite view can help you place your marker exactly. A list of nearby chargers avoids duplication.


The next item on the 'Add Location' menu is the Description. Click on the 'Description' text and you can enter some brief info about your establishment, and info to help drivers, such as "call ahead for permission", or "back of parking lot", etc.

Next on the menu is the technical station information. Being accurate in your details is one of the most important aspects of your PlugShare entry; no driver wants to arrive and discover that they don't have the right equipment to plug in, or that the site is closed when the details said it should be open. If details change, don't worry - this information can be updated later as needed.

A pull-down menu enables you to select the type of connection that you will provide. There are 10+ options, from wall plug to NEMA 14-50, J1772, Tesla, etc. If you have equipment for more than one EV to plug in at the same time, there are a couple of "dual" options in the pull-down, but in most cases you will want to use the "Add Another Station' button and select the proper option for each connection that you have. A second pull-down menu for each station allows you to specify if the station is part of a commercial network such as ChargePoint; as an individual business with your own equipment, you would leave this option at 'Non-networked'. If you are an RV park or other such site with many NEMA 14-50 outlets, you can add as many of them as you want to make available for EVs.
Description and Station options


The next pieces of information on the menu are switches:
Open 24/7: Select this if the site can be accessed for use at any time.
Restricted Access: As a public establishment you will not want to use this switch; it is mainly intended for sites with major restrictions such as residents-only at an apartment, employees-only at a business, etc. If your business is a hotel and your connection is reserved for overnight guests only, you should use this switch.
Payment Required: Select this if there is a charge to use your connection. If selected, another field will appear below it where you can specify your pricing. If you must charge, be very clear on the pricing; no one likes surprise costs when traveling!

The next two lines are for your hours and phone number. Even if your station is available 24/7, you should include your business hours and phone number so that travelers know what sort of amenity access to expect, and have a way to contact you in the event of questions. RV parks that have both office hours and an after-hours drop box can specify that here.
Switches, hours and phone number


The final items are amenities check boxes, and a confirmation of whether the charging location is now active. It's ok to select nearby amenities even if they are not available directly on site, for example a grocery store across the street or a restaurant down the block from you. Your EV-driving visitors will presumably be on foot while their car charges, so off-site amenities should only be noted if they are a short walk away. If your charging site is in progress but not yet live, you can use the final menu option to mark it as 'coming soon'. But don't forget to update this option once it is active!
Choose amenities, confirm if open/active, and you're done!



Finish up with photos
Once you have added your station to PlugShare, it will be visible to a huge community of EV drivers. It is important to keep your site information up-to-date for these users; a broken charger or incorrect hours have the potential to seriously inconvenience a traveler and that will show up in reviews of your charger, which are known as Check-ins. As a registered PlugShare user you can not only edit your site (and others of which you are knowledgeable), but you can also "Check In" to leave information for other users, such as a temporary closure, or updating the status if another user has posted a problem.

After your site is added, there are a couple more things you should do: review your entry and add a photo! Click on your new site on the map and review your information to make sure it is correct. You can edit the entry to fix any errors. There is also a link to add a photo - upload a picture or two of your business, or the charging station itself, or both! You and other registered users can add photos to your entry, and the most recent photo to be posted is the one displayed with your site's listing. Users can click on this photo and view the other photos as well.
Fender's River Road Resort has a full set of information for travelers, and photos, too!



You're finished!
Thanks for reading this step-by-step guide. If you have any questions or suggestions for improvement, I can be reached at mike@ElectricRoute66.com with your comments or suggestions.

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