EV Etiquette: “Do Not Unplug Notices” & “OK To Unplug” Enable Common Courtesy

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Parking spaces with EV chargers increase the need for common courtesy, and broader awareness of EV etiquette. There are finite possibilities for parking spaces with EV chargers and sometimes long charging times are needed.

Of course, the most basic thing is that you shouldn’t park in a charging spot if you are not driving a fully electric or plug-in hybrid electric car and there are other parking spots available.

For those driving plug-in cars, there are then many questions: Who was there first? Who needs it more? Since that car is a plug-in hybrid, does it really need that charge like a pure electric car does? Is this EV simply “opportunity charging” to top off their battery while I cannot get home without a charge? What to do about a fully charged EV (Tesla or LEAF, for example) with a lock on the connector as the car sits in the charging spot?

As you can see, clear EV etiquette and etiquette training are needed. The cool idea pictured below is a good step in that direction. “Do Not Unplug” and “OK To Unplug” hanger signs should be sitting in every EV driver’s glovebox.

EV Charging

EV Etiquette
Credit: Take Charge and Go


If your EV is only opportunity charging, you can leave a sign for another driver that it is okay to unplug you. Even if you need a charge, you can indicate what time you expect to be done and also leave your phone #.

Jack Brown figured this one out for all EV owners to appreciate (h/t Tom Moloughney of BMWi3blogspot.com).

Jack’s Take Charge and Go writes:

  • The hangers are printed on both sides to indicate whether you are necessity charging (RED – DO NOT UNPLUG) or opportunity charging (GREEN – OK TO UNPLUG)
  • The color coding makes it easy for fellow EV drivers to tell if they can share the plug
  • A keyhole cutout provides a sufficient fit for most J-1772 charging handles. A slip-on cutline is provided for easier installation and removal while charging
  • The red DO NOT UNPLUG side has space to write what time you should be done charging with a dry erase marker or a post it note
  • Both sides have a space to leave contact information and provides tips for good etiquette
  • Never park in a charging space if you are not charging
  • When charging in public, limit your charge, don’t charge to your limit. Move on so others have the opportunity to charge
  • Never unplug another car without permission
  • A QR code and website link are provided for additional information about public
  • EV charging and different car brand’s charging indicators
  • Hangers are UV coated to provide protection from the elements and work well with permanent and dry erase markers and post-it notes to leave information
  • Designed and Made in the U.S.A.

Check out the CleanTechnica post sharing an infographic with more tips on common courtesy for charging spots.

With notes on broader charging ideals, EV Obsession reminds us that if you can stick solar panels on your roof, you should do that. Also, “if you happen to spot one of the beautiful solar-powered ‘Point One S’ BMW chargers, you know you better stop and take some photos while you charge (especially if you’re driving the Top Gear ‘Car of the Year,’ the BMW i8).”

Related Stories:

EV Charging Etiquette

Solar EV Charging Rocks, But Which Option To Choose?

Minnesota Standardizes EV Charging Rates

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Cynthia Shahan

Cynthia Shahan, started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. Words can be used improperly depending on the culture you are in. (Several unrelated publications) She has a degree in Education, Anthropology, Creative Writing, and was tutored in Art as a young child thanks to her father the Doctor.

Cynthia Shahan has 946 posts and counting. See all posts by Cynthia Shahan

6 thoughts on “EV Etiquette: “Do Not Unplug Notices” & “OK To Unplug” Enable Common Courtesy

  • unplugging a class3 plugis physically impossible cause its protected and locked against vandalism!

    • Are class 3 fast chargers?
      That would mean the owner/driver is nearby and could be contacted by phone.
      If you get to 80 % in 20 min, you can wait until the other driver is done and then charge yours.

  • At my work, in the charging area, there is a J-1772 plug per parking space, so these hangers would not work. The cable for the plug at my home is currently too short to be shared beyond the one spot where my EV is parked at night.

    How often have you found that the cable will reach your car from an adjacent space?
    I am willing to share so where can I buy those hangers?

    • The firm I work for we have stations (10) with cords that will cover 3 spaces. All plug in cars are in a database so people can call each other if needed.

      • Each charger should have three cords. Charge EVs in succession.

        People could plug in when they get to work and be charged when they leave. There would be no need to move/plug during the day.

    • Same here at a brand new building now leased by the company I work for.
      Five plugs for a large 5-story building, and only possibly serving 5 parking spots. Way too few EVSEs, and no way to share them.

      Once a car is done charging, its owner must go move it (usually to the far end of the now-full parking lot), while other drivers regularly check whether a spot has become free, so they can move their own car into it (and every once in a while, get beaten to it). This repeats throughout the day.

      It’s great that planners thought of installing EVSEs (although this was probably strictly done for LEED credits), but their location is really unfortunate.
      Stations would have reached 4 spots each if installed just a few meters from where they are now, removing the need for shuffling cars around during the day.

Comments are closed.