A User-Friendly Guide to Public EV Charging Etiquette
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EV CHARGING

A User-Friendly Guide to Public EV Charging Etiquette

Picture of charging etiquette at a snowy EV charging station
  • Being considerate of other EV drivers at charging stations will help grow good etiquette in the EV-driving community. 
  • If you step away from your EV while it’s charging, pay attention to the charging app. 
  • Having a backup plan for charging your EV will lower your stress levels. 
  • Reporting problems to EV charging apps helps the EV community. 

As more drivers move to electric vehicles, EV charging stations are in demand. Understanding EV charging etiquette will help you and your fellow EV drivers get in and out of the stations efficiently. The top rule is to be considerate of other drivers – following this rule will help all EV drivers get the most out of public charging stations. 


Pay Attention to the Clock

Because charging stations are limited, it’s important that you move your car once it’s fully charged. If you’re shopping while your car is charging, pay attention to the clock and your EV charging app. Charge to 80% and move. EV charging stations are not for all-day parking or parking when you aren’t charging.


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Be Courteous When Opening Doors

Charging stations tend to have parking spots. When you open your car doors, be aware of the vehicle next to you. EVs are expensive, and the last thing any driver wants is a bunch of door dings from careless drivers at EV charging stations. 


Always Have a Back-Up Plan

EVgo

Sometimes EV charging stations aren’t working, or they’re full with a long queue of EVs. When you’re out and about, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan for charging. You never know if a station isn’t working or if it’s extremely busy. 


Put the Charging Connector Back in the Holder

You wouldn’t leave a gas station nozzle on the ground, and you shouldn’t leave a charging “nozzle” on the ground. Charging stations are expensive to install and maintain, and you can help keep them in working condition by putting the connector back in the holder. If the charging station has a long cable, it’s good etiquette to put it back on the hook to keep it off the ground.


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Use One Parking Spot

Electric vehicles have charging ports in a variety of locations. Some have them front and center, while others have them just behind the front wheels, and others have them near the back bumper. When you choose a public charging location, good etiquette means picking one that works with your car. This way you won’t need to take up two parking spots and prevent another driver from filling up. 


Respect the Signs

Some public charging stations have signs alerting drivers to charging limits. If the sign says “Two-Hour Limit,” abide by the rule. If we want more people to drive EVs, we have to help all drivers have access to charging stations. We must take care of our EV-driving community.


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Don’t Touch Other EVs

Yes, it’s frustrating when another EV is full and hogging a charging spot, but you shouldn’t unplug another person’s vehicle. You wouldn’t do that at a gas station – so don’t do it at an EV charging station. You also shouldn’t place a charging cable on another person’s EV. Respecting other people’s property is a basic rule of etiquette. 


Tesla EVs Use Tesla Stations When Available

If you’ve pulled into a Walmart or Meijer parking lot, you’ve probably seen a bank of Tesla SuperChargers next to a bank of Electrify America chargers. Tesla has the largest network of charging stations, so seeing Tesla drivers not using their brand can be frustrating. 

Non-Tesla EV drivers cannot use the Tesla charging stations, so Tesla drivers can help the EV community by sticking to their own charging network – especially if the non-Tesla chargers are busy and the Tesla stations aren’t. 

On the flip side, if you have one of the non-Tesla EVs that can use Tesla chargers, only use them if the other stations are full. Time is valuable, so be courteous of other EV drivers by using the brand that best supports your vehicle.


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Use the Charging Station That Fits Your Vehicle

EVs with large batteries need stations that can fill them quickly. DC fast-charging stations often have 50-kW ports, 150-kW ports, and 350-kW ports. Of course, the 350-kW ports can charge at slower speeds, but that doesn’t mean Nissan Leaf (46 kW maximum charging) or MINI Cooper EV (50-kW maximum) charging drivers should use them. 

It’s also rude when a gas-powered car that doesn’t use diesel uses the only diesel port at a gas station – when several non-diesel nozzles are open. Use the port that best supports your car, so EV drivers can get in and out as quickly as possible. 


Alert Apps to Problems

You can support the EV community by reporting problems to apps like Chargeway and Plugshare. If we want more people to choose electro-mobility, then we need to support each other. It only takes a few seconds to open the app and make a quick report. Drivers can choose another stop, and the charging manager knows the station needs repairs. 


Help Each Other

Electrify America

Unlike gas stations, charging stations function in different ways. If you see a fellow EV driver struggling with a charging station set-up, offer your assistance. Remember that car rental companies now have EVs in their inventories, so some drivers have received zero training on EV driving and charging. Your kindness at public charging stations will grow the community and help reduce carbon emissions!


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When In Doubt, Leave a Note (On Your EV)

If you’re at a public charging station and you know you might be there longer than expected, put a note on your car to alert other drivers. Tell them if they can unplug your vehicle. You’ll reduce everyone’s stress level by letting other drivers know what’s going on. 


Leave EV Charging Spots for EVs

If you have a gas car, don’t park in an EV charging spot. “ICE-ing” (when a vehicle with an internal-combustion engine takes an EV charging spot) isn’t a cool political statement. Because EV charging stations are at a premium, many stations have towing policies. Your ICE vehicle could be towed, and you’ll have to pay a premium to get it back. 


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FEATURE IMAGE: ELECTRIFY AMERICA

FTC: We use income-earning auto affiliate links. Learn more.

AUTHOR: 

KRISTEN BENTLEY

2 Responses

  1. I would love if electrify news could provide a PDF or link to where we might download polite pre-printed notes to place under windshield wipers for those vehicles that ICE and EV’s that are parked in EV charging spots yet are not even plugged in, as well as HYBRIDS that are not plugged in. I observed personally employees of businesses would plug into EV spots for hours and hours depriving their consumers. Sadly we currently have not enforcement or shops actually wanting to enforce charge ediquette. Shops will say it’s the landlords problem, not ours in spite of signs saying for specific shops use only.

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