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Clean, Fresh Air Benefits Us All — EV Etiquette Is For Everyone

EV etiquette is sometimes a delicate subject, and a serious EV infrastructure issue. EV etiquette needs some attention in some places. Getting the infrastructure in the ground is one thing. Using it politely matters quite the same.

EV charging station

Smiles for the future at an EV charging station. Photo by Zach Shahan |

EV etiquette is sometimes a delicate subject, and a serious EV infrastructure issue. EV etiquette needs some attention in some places. Getting the infrastructure in the ground is one thing. Using it politely matters quite the same.

Traveling through the Eastern part of the US (in an electric car), I encountered a desperate need to clarify EV etiquette in a small town I visited, a lovely small town.

The town has adequate charging stations at parking lots and stores for the few EV drivers in the area. The area, which is quiet and polite in most ways, fell short at times in understanding EV etiquette.

At the natural food coop I paid to join, there was, oddly, missing signage by the 4 charging spots. A sign such as 1) EV charging only, 2) Please move your EV when finished charging, or 3) EV parking/charging only is typical at a public charging spot, but there isn’t one there.

EV charging station

A good sign at an EV charging spot. It encourages drivers to charge and move on to provide space for the next EV. Photo by Cynthia Shahan | CleanTechnica.

Well, a sign is needed. I hoped that, by now, people understood that blocking an EV charging spot is like blocking someone’s entrance to a gas station. Not so, as quite often there are plenty of open parking spaces but all the EV chargers are blocked by gas cars (ICE’d, as they say). The problem needs to be addressed by a visual or polite note to customers.

After a few weeks, I asked about the issue. With a group of open spots in the parking lot, all 4 of the EV charging spots were blocked by gas cars. The one nearest to me had an SUV in it, not a hybrid, not a plug-in hybrid, a straight-up gas-guzzling, exhaust-blowing SUV directly in front of the administration window facing the EV chargers.

Naively, I thought that was a good time to notify the administration of the ongoing problem. The SUV was directly in front of their window. Of the group of coop administrators I spoke with, someone snickered. I explained that this kind of situation created fear in the less adventurous about the difficulty of charging. They appeared more interested in anyone being able to choose any spot they wished for parking. The coop did have the signs inside. I assume they will be put outside near the chargers at some point. … However, there was no indication they wanted to communicate EV etiquette to ICE vehicle owners who were blocking chargers.

There was an annual meeting I could attend and then bring up the issue again. I was hopeful that I was not getting to the right source to address the issue of etiquette, and being polite to those who need a charge. At the annual meeting, again, I met with the same lack of concern, an ambivalent attitude — at best.

I also got an earful and a litany of fossil fuel propaganda from a few of the people I tried to engage. (Certainly not all, though — my new CSA friends did support electric vehicles. They wanted to get an electric tractor. These were real farmers.)

One person told me all EV drivers are rude at all charging stations all over the country. Poorly fed hearsay! This has never, ever been my experience. I have found friendly EV drivers happy to share the values of clean air, and environmental concern.

I don’t feel I need to clarify each fossil fuel myth repeated. The Sierra Club, CleanTechnica, the New England Journal Of Medicine, the American Lung Association, and many other valuable sources are available in terms of vital information. CleanTechnica debunks myths all the time.

Manners are another matter. Space, entitlement, and defensiveness may be playing into this. But there is no real excuse for being rude.

I can drive a bit further to Earthfare and shop there. The Earthfare EV charger is also powered by solar!

Sometimes lack of progress and lack of empathy bring a person down. Thank you to David Havasi and Zach for picking me up this morning with this encouragement:

“’The ultra hardcore mentality can’t be an archaic notion from a bygone era,’ David said. ‘We can’t become complacent,’ was his critical parting message to colleagues when leaving the company earlier this year.

Clean, Fresh Air Benefits Us All

EV charging station

Lily smiles! All plugged in. Photo by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica

Consider that zero-emissions travel is also about our children’s future and our grandchildren’s health. Electric cars are great not only for their wonderful instant torque, but also because they keep our air clean.

Many a concerned citizen knows this. Take Richard Branson, for example. Branson has pointed out that, like cigarette smoke did on a grand scale in the past, exhaust fumes are creating disease for all. It is not only the willing gas driver who suffers, but also the child in that car, the child next door, pedestrians and bicyclists, everyone.

Many informed people believe that in time we will look back on the exhaust from gas cars as we do second-hand cigarette smoke.

Here are more pieces on this critical topic of air pollution:

Stereotyping — Never Fall into That!

As a minimalistic kind of person, I don’t like malls. (Too much stuff.) As a once organic farmer/grower, I do like organic produce, local produce.

Yet, the kindness and perfect EV etiquette I recently experienced was at an EV parking spot in an overcrowded mall. At that time, a polite Chevy Bolt driver moved his EV so I could charge, even though he was only at 80%. The cold, unwelcome attitude at a natural foods coop I paid to join was more unexpected — I was blindsided. The issue revolves around education, respect, etiquette, and clinging to the status quo. More importantly, and why I speak out directly, it is about my grandchildren’s and everyone’s quality of air.

To cool down, it’s time for a favorite of children everywhere:

This is a song and video Zoey, Lily, Ruby, and Julia never tire of.

EV charging station

Tampa mall. The driver of the pretty Blue Bolt offered to move so I could charge — he was only at 80%. EV etiquette in person! Photo by Cynthia Shahan | CleanTechnica

I feel a supportive attitude often sets EV drivers apart from others. We are grateful for each other. I am grateful that another person is breaking fossil fuel patterns and dirty oil dependency, which has a deadly grip on our society.

Also, I offer much appreciation to Earthfare and Whole Foods (especially based on extensive experience at stores in Sarasota, Florida), because their policies and staff have been quite polite and informed, with clear and helpful signage at their stores going a long way. Drivers move once charged, gas cars never park in those spots.

BMW i3 chargingTesla Model 3 charging

I hope this co-op I joined is unusual with its confusing stance on chargers. The store is certainly not like any I’ve found before. This leads me to believe that most stores with chargers promote EV etiquette. I’ve certainly had a good experience in North Carolina at Earthfare.

Related stories:

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Written By

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)


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