Public EV Charging Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular, and with that rise comes the need for proper charging etiquette. Navigating the world of public EV charging can be tricky, especially for those new to electric cars. So, let’s dive into the dos and don’ts of public EV charging and make sure we all charge with courtesy and respect.


Understanding the Basics

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of etiquette, let’s cover the basics. Public EV charging stations are spots where you can top up your car’s battery while you’re out and about. These stations vary in speed and availability, so it’s good to know the type of chargers out there:

Types of Chargers

  • Level 1 – These are standard home outlets. They’re slow and usually only used if you’re in no rush.
  • Level 2 – Commonly found in public places like shopping centres and workplaces. They’re faster than Level 1.
  • DC Fast Chargers – The speedy ones. They can get you back on the road quickly, often found along highways and in busy urban areas.

Dos and Don’ts of Public EV Charging

Now that we’ve got the basics down, let’s move on to the main event: the dos and don’ts of public EV charging. Whether you’re a seasoned EV driver or new to the scene, these tips will help ensure a smooth and friendly charging experience for everyone.

DO: Plan Ahead

Know Your Route – Before you head out, check the availability of charging stations along your route. There are plenty of apps and websites to help you find the nearest one. This way, you avoid the stress of hunting for a charger with a nearly empty battery.

Have a Backup Plan – Sometimes, your go-to charging spot might be occupied or out of order. Having a few alternatives in mind can save you a lot of hassle.

DON’T: Hog the Charger

Move When Done – Once your car is sufficiently charged, move it. Staying parked in a charging spot longer than necessary is inconsiderate, especially if others are waiting. Remember, charging stations are not parking spots.

Check-In Regularly – If you’re charging while shopping or dining, check on your car periodically. This ensures you’re not overstaying and allows others to use the charger.

DO: Share the Space

Be Courteous – If the charging station has multiple ports, park in a way that doesn’t block access to other chargers. Think of it as a petrol station – you wouldn’t park in front of a pump you’re not using.

Communicate – If you see someone waiting, let them know how long you’ll be. A little communication goes a long way in maintaining harmony.

DON’T: Unplug Others

Ask First – Never unplug another vehicle without permission. It’s not only rude but could leave the driver stranded. If you really need to use the charger and someone is plugged in, try to locate the driver or leave a polite note.

DO: Use Charging Time Wisely

Plan Activities – Use the time your car is charging to get things done. Whether it’s grabbing a meal, running errands, or catching up on work, make the most of the downtime.

Monitor Charging – Keep an eye on your car’s charging status through your vehicle’s app if it has one. This helps you know when it’s time to move your car.

DON’T: Block Access

Park Considerately – Avoid parking in a way that blocks access to the charger or the parking spot next to it. Always be mindful of how your parking affects others.

Avoid ICEing – This term refers to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles parking in EV charging spots. If you’re driving an ICE vehicle, never park in a charging spot. It’s frustrating for EV drivers and can be avoided with a little consideration.

DO: Respect Charging Limits

Know the Limits – Some chargers have time limits. Adhere to these to avoid fines and ensure fair usage. If you’re at a busy charging station, try not to exceed the recommended time to allow others a chance to charge.

Follow Local Rules – Different places have different rules. Some might have fees for staying too long, while others may have specific hours of operation. Always follow the local guidelines.

DON’T: Leave a Mess

Clean Up – Treat the charging area with respect. Don’t leave litter or any other mess behind. Think of it as your own driveway – keep it tidy.

Handle Equipment Carefully – Chargers and cables are expensive and essential for everyone. Handle them with care, and report any damage or malfunctions to the appropriate authorities.

A Few More Tips

Keep Your Cool

Public charging can sometimes be frustrating, especially if stations are busy. Patience and politeness go a long way. Remember, everyone is in the same boat and trying to get where they need to go.

Educate Others

If you see someone new to EV charging, offer a helping hand. Sharing your knowledge helps everyone and promotes a positive community spirit.

Stay Informed

Technology and infrastructure are rapidly evolving. Staying informed about new charging stations, apps, and EV-related news can enhance your driving and charging experience.

Final Thoughts

Public EV charging etiquette is all about respect and consideration for others. By following these dos and don’ts, you can help make public charging a smoother, more pleasant experience for everyone. Whether you’re a long-time EV driver or just starting, practicing good etiquette ensures that we all get the most out of our electric vehicles.

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