Our Top 5 tips for electric vehicle charging etiquette

by | Oct 28, 2016

The topic of electric vehicle charging etiquette comes up quite frequently in our office. Having been involved in the roll out of the first electric vehicle charging equipment in the North East through the Plugged in Places project as well as regularly driving EVs, I have been witness to the evolution of charging etiquette. As more and more EV drivers join the roads, there’s lots more we can all do to make the process of charging easier and free from anxiety.

I therefore thought I’d put together my top 5 recommendations for electric vehicle charging etiquette. These really are just common sense and courtesy to fellow EV drivers but having experienced a number of problems and annoyances over the years, it’s always worth a recap:

1          EV spaces are for charging only   

We did a poll on twitter a couple of months ago and asked EV drivers what was their biggest charging annoyance. Being ICEd came up top with 57% of the vote. It’s probably very unlikely that an ICE driver will be reading this, which is a shame as it’s not only a frustrating faux pas by non-EV drivers but it can make the difference between someone getting home or not. However I have also witnessed EV drivers parking in a charging bay but not plugging in – which is, in my opinion, worse. EV drivers should know better!

2          When your charge is complete, move your vehicle away

When you’re done, unplug and go. If you don’t, it blocks someone else from accessing the charge point and can be just as frustrating as point #1. Leaving your car plugged into a charge point long after the charge session is finished is seen as hogging the charging point and will certainly rub EV drivers up the wrong way. Don’t use the charge point bay as a parking bay and be considerate to your fellow drivers.

If you’re charging using a rapid charger, depending on your state of charge, this shouldn’t take longer than 20 to 30 minutes. Stay close by and avoid going somewhere where you could end up stuck in long queues and are unable to return to your car by the time the charging has ended. Colleagues recently got stuck waiting for someone who had gone for an hour-long jog. We salute the dedication to regular exercise but it impacted on their travel time.

3          Look after the charging kit 

For the benefit of you, other EV drivers and the charge point you should always leave the chargers in the state that you found it (or should have found it). Replace the cable neatly in its holder and don’t leave it on the ground. The charging points are expensive pieces of kit, so please look after them so that everyone can continue to use them for longer and avoid costly repairs.

Also from a safety aspect leaving a high voltage cable on the ground could cause someone to trip and could easily be driven over which could pose a danger to the next person that uses it.

4          EVs should be a priority over hybrid     

This may be slightly controversial I know but, in my view, fully electric vehicles should take priority over plug-in hybrid vehicles. An EV completely relies on getting a charge to make a journey, whereas a plug-in hybrid does not. I’m not saying that someone in a plug-in hybrid shouldn’t use a charge point, but please just be considerate. If there’s only one bay and you’re going to be parked for a long time please think about whether you need that charge.

This also doesn’t mean that if you’re an EV driver and roll up to a charger and a Mitsubishi Outlander is charging that you can remove the plug to plug yourself in! The only time I feel it is acceptable to unplug someone is when the car has finished charging completely and no one has returned. But leave a respectful note! Which leads me on to my final point….

5          Leave a note but keep it polite!

If you need to leave a note for another EV or Plugin Hybrid driver, make it a polite one. I once had a note left on my screen which was both unnecessary and unpleasant. It left me feeling quite upset on a Friday night which isn’t really in the spirit of EV drivers!




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