Electric Car Charging Etiquette
Posted on February 28, 2017
When cars started to become more commonplace in the 1950s and 1960s, countries didn’t yet have road codes, leading to car owners doing whatever they wanted on the road. Missed the exit on the motorway? No problem, let’s do a U-turn! As you can imagine, this made for rather dangerous driving conditions. We now all abide by a set of rules on the road, but electric cars are so recent that what is acceptable or not at charging points hasn’t been defined yet.
While most of it is common sense and courtesy, we’ll attempt to answer the finer points of car charging etiquette when using a public station.
Don’t block the chargers
Public charging stations are not parking lots in disguise. So even if you can’t find a parking spot anywhere in town and those empty spaces are looking terribly tempting, don’t use them, not even with the excuse of topping up your car’s charge when it doesn’t really need it – and it’s not good for its battery span in any case.
Like regular parking spaces – those big white lines around a charging spot are not there for decorative purpose, but to indicate that you should park INSIDE of them. So no biting on the parking space next to yours as you will block the access for another car to charge.
Don’t hog the charging points
There may be charging points on every street corner in the future but nowadays they are still few and far between. At the moment, access to them is on a first-come, first-served basis, so be considerate and move your vehicle as soon as it has charged so that someone else can recharge.
You can find Apps that let you know when your battery is full so that you can have a coffee, run errands, etc… but still be alerted when your car is ready.
Another way not to hog the charging points is to only use them when you really need to. Electric car owners tend to be a bit overcautious due to the lack of charging stations but consider that you may be depriving someone from dearly needed charge. So if you have more than enough charge to go home, do so and charge there. It will free up a space.
Leave the charging station in the state you found it
You can be as messy as you want at home but you should always tidy up after yourself at a station. That means putting the charger and cables back where you found them and not just dropping them on the ground. Part of it is showing consideration to other users, but, as importantly, it is a matter of safety. Other users could trip on cables lying on the ground, and cars driving over them repeatedly can damage the insulating jacket, exposing cables and resulting in electrocution for other users.
Don’t unplug other cars
Now that you are an adult and have learnt to play and share nicely, it wouldn’t do to jump the queue and unplug another car when the owner isn’t looking, would it? No… not even plug-in hybrids, not even if you think they are not ‘proper’ electric cars!
Remember that App that lets you know when your car is charged? It also shows when a car is unplugged before being fully charged, and you are not the only one using it. So if you unplug a car you shouldn’t, the owner will know and you run the risk of them storming down the road to give you a piece of their mind.
There is one exception, though, if your battery is absolutely flat and you are absolutely sure that the other car is done. Even under those circumstances, leaving a note explaining the cause for unplugging the vehicle is the right thing to do. And above all, be nice and courteous about it. You are breaking the rules after all.
Leave a note on your car to allow others to unplug your car
Some people will be reluctant to unplug others’ cars, even if they are finished charging. Some electric car owners choose to put a sign in their car to allow others to do so. A simple “If I’m full, you may unplug me” will suffice and will be much appreciated by your fellow EV owners.
Some Apps will even let you communicate with other drivers in your area, which can be very useful to organise some sort of schedule or be notified when a charger becomes available.
Ask permission to plug into someone’s private outlet
Would you go to someone’s place and help yourself to food in their fridge? Hopefully, your answer is no! Well, it’s the same for their private charging plug. It would really be bad manners to drag your charging cable out of your car and just plonk it in without asking whether it’s ok to do so.
It would also be considerate to offer them some money. A full charge doesn’t cost a lot, but, still, it is electricity and they will have to pay for it. And because cars are, relatively speaking, big, they look like they will be a huge power draw.
Also, don’t wait until you have arrived to ask, do it before you leave. If you can’t use their private charging point for whatever reason, it gives you a change to make alternative plans so that you don’t run out of battery.
We truly believe that electric cars are the future and we look forward to transporting more of them. In the meanwhile, if you are looking for a reliable international shipping company for your good ol’ combustion-engine vehicles, get in touch with McCullough by phone on +64 9 303 0075, by email using our contact form or request a quote online.