Electric Vehicle etiquette: pressing chargers
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To unplug or not to unplug? That is the EV question… or just one of them.
There are so many unwritten society rules, with the increase of plug-in cars, and their relatively long refueling times, it does raise issues and potential conflict. Like public laundries, once a load is finished, if the owner isn’t around, then in busy times, it’s reasonable to remove it.
IS IT RUDE TO HOVER?
Like tailing a pedestrian at a full Christmas parking lot, if it’s occupied, is it OK to wait for the car at a public charger to be free? Even the act of snooping at the current charge time on the screen can be taken as passive aggressive.
Parking time limits are the first consideration, and a 30-60 minute limit should be respected. Even if a car isn’t waiting, they might have checked the time and planned to circle back. Leaving a car plugged in and parked should be fine but our advice is to leave a contact number in case of emergencies – and for respect and reassurance for those waiting that there’s a back-up.
Some chargers are near cafes, fast food or shopping centres so there is an expectation and somewhat encouragement to use these facilities, but set a timer on your phone to remind you and, if someone is nearby, give them an indication of how long you may be.
And do we need to spell out that if you don’t drive an EV, do not park in an EV bay, otherwise expect a note advising you of your inadvertent error – at best!
WHAT ABOUT UNPLUGGING?
If the charge is finished, then it’s totally fair to unplug and use. Some plugs (Type 2) are locked during charging so removal is impossible, so see the point above to avoid EV rage. Removal before a parking time limit or while the vehicle is still charging is a recipe for conflict, much like removing laundry half-way through a cycle.
If, however, there’s a Type 1 plug being used (a Leaf, for eg) and yours is a Type 2 plug, feel free to plug in, in preparation. We’ve found that communicating this to the charger’s incumbent lets them understand that you may not (or may) be in a rush, and that once they finish, it would be great if they could start your charging (if required). Of course, this only works at free chargers, as the paid chargers will require payment fob/info to start. So many things to consider!
CHARGE AT (MY) HOME
For those who have fitted a home wallbox or fast charger, that is the ultimate convenience, relieving a lot of the pressure from the stresses and pressure of the public charging system, rendering them “grazing” convenience chargers only. And for those wanting to go the extra step, and for those wanting to be an ultimate upstanding member of the EV community, there is the ability to list your private charger on the PlugShare network, which is more commonly a business charger. For those, after hours, it’s a good idea to ensure you have your own fast charging cable, like those sold at EV charger and accessory companies like ChargeMaster, as a 15 minute boost could be all a car needs to safely get home for the night.