Driving an electric vehicle (EV) is a little bit different from driving a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE). For the most part, it’s much more fun, because your vehicle is quieter, more powerful and easier to maintain. Plus, you can save a ton on gas. But there are a couple of things you should know when it comes to EV etiquette, especially at charging stations. Read on if you want to be better to your fellow EV drivers.
1. Move along (and don't squat)
When you’re done charging, try to move your car as soon as you’re able, so others can fill up their EVs. The ChargePoint app will let you know when you’re fully charged and it’s time to move. You don’t have to scoot away the instant you’re done charging, but taking up a spot for hours is inconsiderate to other EV drivers because it prevents them from getting a charge. And don't be the EV driver who treats charging spots as a personal all-day parking spot—EV charging spots are for charging, not parking!
EV charging spots are for charging, not parking!
ChargePoint helps make EV etiquette even easier by letting people know when their cars are fully charged, so they can move along and let others plug in. Waitlist (available on some stations) lets drivers get in a virtual line to charge when all stations are busy, helping more drivers get a charge. For Waitlist to work, drivers need to move their cars when done charging.
Tip: Ever wonder why charging fees rise after an hour or two? Some station owners may set a fee for parking or charging after a few hours, to encourage drivers to move along after getting some juice. Look for these fees in the ChargePoint app.
2. Don’t unplug others
It’s really not polite to unplug other EV drivers from charging stations (even if you're an adorable dog). Try to avoid it unless you’re sure someone is charged and you’re absolutely desperate to fill up, or if someone left a note saying it’s fine to unplug them. Instead of pulling the plug (yikes!), we can all work together to eliminate the need to unplug others by moving our cars as soon as possible when we’re done charging.
Sometimes, people think it's okay to unplug plug-in hybrid (PHEV) drivers, since they have a backup gas engine. But these folks have a right to electrons, too! Try not to unplug anyone unless you're absolutely desperate.
3. Don’t always aim for 100%
Topping off around town is a convenient way to keep your battery full or nearly so. But if you have 80 or 90 percent battery and start a charge, someone might pull up soon who’s at 10 percent and desperately in need of electrons. So if your battery is pretty full (or if you drive a PHEV and can count on your gas engine in a pinch), consider just getting a charge later or at home, unless you really need the extra miles to get where you're going. If you do plug in, leave a note letting people know when it's okay to unplug you. This rule also comes into play for DC fast charging, which slows down as your battery gets more full—you should typically aim for 80 percent when fast charging.
4. Be nice when ICEd
Drivers of ICE vehicles sometimes park in spots designated for clean air vehicles or EV charging. It’s common enough that there’s a term for it: getting ICEd. We know this can be stressful. But please don’t retaliate with a mean message that gives EV drivers a bad name. Instead, leave a friendly note educating ICE drivers and encouraging them not to take an EV spot again. Here’s an example of what you could write:
Hey driver, you’re parked in a spot designated for electric vehicle charging. EV drivers like me depend on being able to charge our cars at stations like this. I hope you’ll leave the spot open next time. Thanks for helping EV drivers stay charged!
We mentioned this above, but it's definitely worth repeating: charging spots are for charging, not parking! That applies to EVs as well. Please don't use a charging spot as your personal parking spot and park there without plugging in—that's as frustrating as being ICEd! Get a charge and move on.
5. Tip off other drivers
The ChargePoint app offers lots of ways for EV drivers to help each other out. You can leave a Driver tip or Station photo to help other drivers find a station, or give tips about parking fees. Sadly, we've noticed that many Driver tips are about cars parked in spots without charging (ahem!), so please remember to follow the #1 rule of EV etiquette and move along after you're charged!
We’re always thinking about new ways to help out EV drivers, like setting fees for staying in a spot after fully charged. But until we have it mastered, follow the above tips to keep driving happier.