There aren’t many hard and fast rules when it comes to using the public charging network but there’s plenty of EV etiquette that helps everyone top up in the smoothest, fastest and most stress-free way.
And as the number of electric cars on the road continue to soar, it’s more important than ever to brush up on your charging decorum and understand how to plug-in considerately when you’re out and about.
Here are a few helpful dos and don’ts (with a little help from Troy Hawke) to be used at public charging points which will score points with your fellow drivers and make life with an EV an even better experience for everyone.
The GRIDSERVE Electric Highway Code of Conduct
1. No dock blocking
This is a big one and often referred to as ‘ICEing’. Please don’t park your car, either electric or ICE vehicle, in a designated charging space if you don’t need to.
Many EV drivers have pulled up to find a vehicle parked in a charging bay not using the charger, it’s frustrating to say the least. You are either parking or charging. You can park any in almost any space but make sure you are charging in a charging bay.
2. Don’t overstay
We’re not suggesting that you speed off the moment you reach desired capacity, but please be mindful of others. Familiarise yourself with how long your EV takes to charge and periodically check on your vehicle while enjoying your dwell time. Charging status will show on the charger screen or, if you’re enjoying a coffee away from your car, your vehicle app will provide a real-time status update.
Also, be aware that the charging speed will start to slow as your battery reaches 80%. This happens because the battery is protecting itself. It’s called a charging curve and by trying to add those few extra miles you could be stopping someone else from connecting. Better to head off and recharge later, when you’ll be able to top up faster.
3. Choose your charger wisely
When you first pull up to a charge point, remember to choose a charger that will accommodate your specific vehicle’s charging needs. This decision is dependent on the charger’s ability to deliver a certain amount of power (kW), along with the capability of your car to receive that level of power. Most GRIDSERVE locations come with a variety of High, Medium and Low Power chargers to suit all types of vehicles.
For instance, there’s a growing number of High Power chargers that can deliver up to 350kW of power. They are being installed to support the future of net zero transport, but many EVs can’t currently accept that level of charge. Instead, you might be better suited to a Medium Power charger (or a Low Power charger) if you’re not in a rush.
4. Do communicate with fellow EV drivers
A generally considerate bunch, EV drivers often leave notes on their windshields to pass on information to other drivers on how long they plan to charge. If a site is particularly busy then speak to other drivers to understand who’s next and avoid jumping the queue.
5. Do look after the connector
When you have finished charging, always be sure to return the connector back to its port. Aside from damaging the device and the potential health and safety issues, a connector left dangling or dropped will hinder the next driver who comes along. After all, you wouldn’t discard a petrol pump on the floor.
6. Don’t unplug someone else’s connector
Unplugging another driver’s connector from the port is not cool. In most cases, the connector will stay locked in place until the driver returns anyway. If you are running out of time, you can consult the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway map for another available charger in the area.
7. Do make the charging area a comfortable zone for all
At GRIDSERVE we’ve been delighted to see the vast majority of EV drivers working together. If you’re new to the world of EVs, please continue this trend by keeping your stereo down, paying attention to your fellow motorists and placing any rubbish in a nearby bin.
8. Don’t press the emergency stop button
Unless you have a problem, please don’t use the emergency stop button to finish your charging session. Doing so will cause the charger to go offline for the next user. Simply tap your contactless card (or press stop on the screen) to finish your session.
9. Do share advice and experiences
EV drivers love to share information and tips, so take advantage of this. Get involved and support your friends or fellow electric car buddies with suggestions to pool your knowledge.