The EV community is large and growing rapidly. As more and more people buy EVs and we all share this new (and in many places still, inadequate) charging infrastructure, it’s important that we all try to be respectful and considerate members of this electrified tribe. Below are a few written and unwritten rules that will keep everyone happy at the plug.
This one is critical. You wouldn’t park in front of a gas pump and go shopping, and you shouldn’t park in front of a charging station unless you are plugged in and ACTIVELY charging.
Some EV charge stations will begin charging “idle fees” if you leave your car unattended at the plug after it has finished charging. Others won’t, however, and it can be incredibly frustrating to arrive at a plug needing a charge but having the plugs taken up by cars that have long finished charging.
Your car may need to charge for 8 hours, but if the charging station has posted a limit of 4 hours, please respect it. This usually indicates that the plug is in a high-traffic area, and hogging it all day can prevent someone else from getting to where they need to go.
If you happen to have a problem with your charging station or notice one of the plugs at the station you’ve stopped at has an issue, report the issue to the network provider. There is typically a phone number available on the charging units themselves, or a contact number in the network’s mobile app. Reporting the issue will make sure it gets fixed, and the more people who report it, the higher priority it’s likely to be.
What is ICEing? ICE is short for “internal combustion engine”, referring to gasoline vehicles. A gasoline vehicle parked in an EV charging spot is referred to as “ICE’d” in the EV community. In most cases, the person who has blocked the plug simply didn’t understand what they were doing. Reporting this to whomever manages the property can help find that vehicle owner and get the car moved. In worse cases, the vehicle is intentionally blocking the plug. In those cases, municipalities or property owners will often tow the vehicle at the owner’s expense.
Charging is a great opportunity to grab a bite or walk your dog - just be sure to properly dispose of your trash and pick up after your pets.
If there are many plugs available at a charging station, try not to park directly next to another vehicle that’s charging. Plugs next to each other might share a circuit, and by parking close to another vehicle you may be splitting the power between yourself and the other car - slowing you both down. Be sure to put a little space between you and the other cars, unless the only spaces left are the ones right next to everyone else.
In some busy areas of the country, you might find yourself in a queue to charge your vehicle. If that’s the case, be sure to wait your turn to charge on a first-come, first-serve basis. No cutting! Also, if you’re charging while others are waiting, be sure to not charge or park for any longer than needed.
It’s an extreme faux pas to unplug any car that is actively charging, no matter how badly you might need a charge yourself. If a car has completed charging, it’s more acceptable but should still be left for emergency circumstances. Some drivers will leave a note on their car saying if it’s ok to unplug them. Other cars simply won’t let you - it locks the charge port with the vehicle door locks. In any case, this is a place for the golden rule.
If we all follow these rules and look out for each other, the EV community will remain friendly and convenient.