But drivers say the network of public EV stations isn't nearly as extensive as it should be.
There are about 8,000 public sites across the United States, a blip compared to the 150,000 gas stations in the country. About a quarter of the country's public charging stations are in California, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Randy Stanley, who recently leased a Nissan Leaf and has a bumper sticker declaring, "This machine starves terrorists," calls it a "chicken-or-the-egg" scenario -- charging stations won't pop up unless there's demand, but some drivers are reluctant to get an electric car until they see more public stations.
One public-private venture, the EV Project, has set up about 2,600 public charging stations in nine states and 21 cities.
The project, funded jointly by Department of Energy grants and partner matches, collects data on the usage of EV infrastructure to analyze how best to deploy charging stations.
It also offers participating EV drivers free home charging stations in exchange for data on their driving habits.
"We're trying to figure out what are the issues," said Colin Read, vice president of ECOtality, the manager of the EV Project. "We're trying to make charging a very ubiquitous part of your life."
He said the EV Project is trying to deploy a total of 5,000 public stations and 8,000 residential chargers.
The project also is testing different revenue systems for public stations. Read said the majority of public EV stations are powered by the electric grid and charge about $1 to $2 per hour.
Car Charging's Tamargo said Walgreens' stations vary depending on the pricing model, but New York City drivers can expect to pay $2.99 an hour, while those in states that permit charging by the unit of energy -- California, Virginia, Colorado and Florida, among others -- will pay 49 cents per kilowatt hour.
The cost to businesses supplying the electricity varies but typically runs about 50 cents to 75 cents an hour, Read said.
When the EV Project ends at the end of 2013, ECOtality will share its findings with policymakers.
"I'd hope that by 2020, we'd have several million (electric) cars on the road," Read said.
Murphy has his own idea for expanding the public charging network.
"I would like for the network to be where every gas station you pull into, there will be electric stations. You can charge up in 15 minutes and be on your way," he said. "The only way that's going to happen is for more people to get electric cars. ... The demand for charging stations will go up."