Car Articles

The Etiquette of EV Charging Stations

EV Charging Stations

With just a small number of EVs and plug-in hybrids roaming around these days. Confrontations at public EV charging stations are rare.  However, as the number of electric cars on the roads increases. Conflicts are bound to start happening. For example, over things like who goes first when two EVs show up at the same time. Whether it’s OK to unplug someone else’s car to get your car charged -that sort of thing.

However, the fact that conflicts haven’t really started to occur yet hasn’t prevented a little forward thinking on the part of the EV and plug-in hybrid owner communities.  The sales staff at Thompson of Edgewood, a Maryland-based Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM dealer,  The result is that a sort of electric car etiquette code is being formed.  Here is a quick rundown of what we have gleaned so far.

If there’s no car in a charging spot in a parking lot, is it OK for a driver of a standard car to park in the space?

No. An electric vehicle charging spot is not a “parking spot.” It is a place where electric cars go to get charged. Standard cars should not park there.

Does an EV have precedence at a public charger over a plug-in hybrid?

This has created a bit of argument in the plug-in community. Some believe that because plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) can also run on gasoline, they should give way to EVs, which have only one alternative for fuel (electricity).

Is it OK to unplug someone else’s car?

If the other plug-in car has clearly finished charging and is still occupying the EV charging station space, the plug-in community generally agrees that it’s OK to unplug that car. Most plug-in drivers still feel they are part of a small community that needs to be mutually supportive hence won’t object to unplugging, if their car has finished recharging.

How long can a plug-in vehicle occupy a charging spot?

As we mentioned above, public charging stations aren’t parking spots. Picture them like the concrete pads in front of gas pumps. They are spaces that should be occupied only while the vehicle is being refueled. To occupy the space only as long as you need it for charging. Note: there are lots of apps that alert drivers via their smartphones when a charging session has ended so you can run down and move your car.

What happens at airports?

Electric car charging stations at airports and bus and train stations are the exception to the parking-space rule. If you plug in before leaving on a three-day trip, you can hardly be expected to come back and move your car when it is recharged.

What can you do if a standard vehicle is occupying the charging spot?

The best way to handle the situation is to leave a polite note, reminding the driver of the offending vehicle that charging station spots are for EVs and plug-in hybrids to use.

Manage the charging cord

Finally, remember that parking lots are public places with lots of foot and vehicle traffic. Tuck the charging cord when you are charging under your vehicle so no one trips on it. Also, neatly rewind the charging cord on its proper holder when you unplug your car.