The age of electric vehicles is here, but are Americans ready?
According to the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Data Explorer, at the end of 2020, just over 1.3 million EVs were on the road in the U.S. With that number predicted to skyrocket in the next 5 years, electric vehicle education has become a needed demand across the country.
Both EV and non-EV owners alike are asking similar questions when it comes to electric vehicles, and many of these questions revolve around the nuisance of electric charging stations. Here are six public charging station etiquette rules that every EV owner and future EV owner should know.
EV Charging Etiquette Rule #1
If it ain’t yours– don’t touch it
Do not unplug a stranger’s vehicle. Last year, a woman was caught unplugging someone else’s EV in order to charge her own. Although she did not legally break any rules, she did become public enemy number one for a while in the EV space. Electric vehicles can often require hours to recharge, depending on the make of the car. Not to mention, EV charging stations are not as commonplace as gas stations, so that charge time is precious to EV owners. A pulled plug on a car is a serious offense.
If you wouldn’t go to a gas station to take someone else’s gas nozzle from their car, then don’t go to a charging station to take someone else’s charge. Or you might end up like the woman above with your face splattered on the internet.
EV Charging Etiquette Rule #2
Don’t park just to park
A charging station is for electric vehicles to juice up. It is not a space for an electric vehicle owner to park while they go watch a movie, run some errands and come back when they want. When an EV parking bay is occupied with an EV not charging, it leaves EV owners who may be desperate for a charge in a difficult situation. This transgression can lead to angry drivers on your tail, or, in some instances, send out alarm notifications to parking management that can lead to blacklisting.
Non-EV owners should follow these rules and respect EV chargers as well. Electric drivers hate being ICE’d, which means arriving at a charging bay only to encounter an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) car parked in it. One Ford F-150 was towed by authorities for doing it. So, if you’re not charging an EV, avoid parking in the bay.
EV Charging Etiquette Rule #3
If you can’t rapid charge– leave it to a car that can
Rapid chargers are much quicker than standard electric vehicle chargers. According to MG, “These super-powerful units can see your car charged to 80% in less than an hour.” However, not every EV can use rapid charging.
A big portion of PHEVs can only use slower AC chargers. Since a rapid charger uses 43kW and a PHEV can usually only charge at 3.6kW or 7kW, it would take a long time to get a PHEV to full charge. Besides in cases of emergencies, these drivers should avoid using a rapid charger and instead fall back to gasoline as a fuel source. Doing so can avoid a PHEV using a rapid charger for hours, blocking an EV in need that could charge in a fraction of that time.
EV Charging Etiquette Rule #4
Don’t overstay your charge– keep track of time
The importance of a steady and organized flow of vehicles at chargers is key to a smooth-running station. When a person throws the flow off, it can cause hours of backup and frustrated drivers. One way EV owners can help maintain a well-run charging station is by keeping track of time.
Don’t run off too far from your charging vehicle. If your vehicle is done charging, but you’re still plugged in, it can leave someone who needs that charger irked and cost you a possible “idle fee”. There are plenty of apps that can help you check the status of your charge, like ChargePoint or Chargeway, that will have you back at your vehicle in time.
EV Charging Etiquette Rule #5
Not sure when you’ll be back– leave a note
Sometimes life throws curveballs, and there may be times that you’re unsure if you can make it back in time before your charge finishes. If you know you’re possibly going to be late unplugging your car from the station, leave a note. It is better to estimate you might be an hour late than have a driver thinking you may intend to leave your car there all day.
ChargeHub, an EV charging station locator, is also a great resource for drivers that are concerned about timing. Drivers can chat with other users on the app, which can include giving updates and correspondence about your ETA.
EV Charging Etiquette Rule #6
Don’t use a charger just to top off
If your vehicle is 90% charged, don’t use a public charging station to get yourself to full charge. Save these charging stations for drivers who need them to get to their next destination. It is more polite and efficient.
According to Pod Point, “…the last 10% of your battery typically charges quite slowly…either charge at the next en route rapid charger or, better still, to charge at your destination.” The point of driving green is to conserve energy, not waste it.
For more information on electric vehicle charging, visit Drive Electric TN’s About EV Charging page.