Published on December 19th, 2013 | by Derek Markham


EV Charging Etiquette Video

December 19th, 2013 by  

Originally published on Planetsave.

electric car charging etiquetteSo you’ve made the big move from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric car, and congratulations are in order! You’re helping to reduce our dependence on oil, decrease the amount of pollution from transportation, and you’re saving money on fuel at the same time.

Now, instead of waiting in line at the pump, following the standard rules of gas station etiquette, you’ll need to learn another set of skills for when you need to recharge. It’s not so hard to learn how to find the nearest and most convenient electric car charging station, as there are apps for that.

One of the great advantages of owning an electric vehicle is that you can “fuel up” at home by plugging in at night, which is something that standard cars can’t do. However, you may still need to get a charge in order to make it through your day, and with the growing number of electric car charging stations throughout the country, chances are good that you’ll be able to plug in while you’re out and about.

But you might run into some other challenges when you get to the charging station, and so to make sure that you’re not the one that’s annoying other electric car owners, you’ll want to steer clear of some basic kinds of bad behaviors, such as unplugging someone else’s EV or parking at a charge station while not needing a charge and not being plugged in.

This video, from Stanford’s Peninsula Press, covers the basics of electric car charging station etiquette, thanks to Forrest North (Recargo) and Marc Geller (Plug In America):

“Though almost cultish in their support of the electric car community, EV owners are bristling at being unplugged or having to unplug other idle, fully charged cars. Even worse is finding their spots snatched up by non-EV drivers.

Compounding the problem, industry insiders say, is a lack of standardization when it comes to the indicator lights that let people know the car doesn’t need any more juice.

Some feel there’s an implicit hierarchy involving non-EVs, hybrid EVs and “pure” EVs. Non-EV drivers shouldn’t ever park in charging spots, they say, whereas hybrid drivers could always “top off” at a regular ol’ gas station.” – Peninsula Press

While you can’t control the behavior of other car owners, such as those that drive gas-powered cars and just choose to park in an EV charging spot because it’s the best place to park, you can help to create a better electric car charging ecosystem by enlightening other EV owners on the best practices of charging station etiquette.

And no, leaving nasty notes or being snarky to other drivers, no matter how much their behavior angers you, does not help the cause.

Here’s another great overview of this topic: Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, slacklining, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!

  • Jonny_K

    Volt alarm goes off when the car is locked and someone unplugs it. I’ve done it to myself several times. That’s a first year Volt. Later one might be different.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    I wrote on long range EV charging etiquette to Tesla Forum. As long range EVs do not need public charcing stations as often as short range EVs, because the range is often sufficient for the over night charcing, then grid stability issues are more important to consider when charging the EV.

    Using Tesla car as free storage for renewables — feature suggestion

  • ns

    Fascinating discussion. I have a plug-in hybrid. Curious to hear about the most common forms of charging station in the US (I’m in the UK). Public charging stations here generally require the user to use their own cable (which stays with the vehicle) so not sure how that would work with other users unplugging. I believe the better solution would be to have the cable attached to the charging station, but then you would need a common socket format. My car does lock the the cable in place, but my car also comes with a neat app where I can unlock remotely. I can see the need for another app to allow EV owners to communicate with each other (no need to give out cell phone numbers) to effect unplugging to allow someone else to use a charging station. Of course the best solution is just to massively increase the number of charging stations!

    • Bob_Wallace

      Move to wireless charging and skip the cable stuff.

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