Electric Cars and Public Charging Etiquette

The electric car market is expanding quickly in the UK, with nearly 300,000 fully electric cars registered, this figure rises to more than 600,000 when plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are added in. To accompany this the public charging infrastructure is also expanding rapidly to meet demand.

The EV driver community has a commonly accepted set of behaviours that are considered good manners for using the public charger network. With the growing trend for electric cars and influx of new owners, now is as good a time as any to brush up on public charger etiquette to ensure you have a hassle-free charging experience when you’re out and about. If you're interested in learning more about the hybrid electric vehicle range at Peoples Ford, just click here.

General Etiquette

There are some generally accepted rules which apply to all types of chargers:

  • Only park in a dedicated EV charging space if you are going to charge your car. If you don’t need to charge then use a regular car parking space
  • Charge only when you need to. If you don’t have a genuine requirement for a charge then leave the charger for someone else who may be relying on it
  • Don’t remove another EV’s charging cable or use another driver’s cable without permission. It can be frustrating to see a car that has finished charging, especially when you’re in need of a charge but removing the cable isn’t considered acceptable
  • If you are using a charge point with tethered cables make sure these are hung back up on the hooks or holster provided. Cables that are left to trail can easily become tangled or damaged
  • Don’t hit the Emergency Stop button to end a charge, instead use the method that the charging station requires, this is usually the same method you used to start the charge and often an RFID card, your payment card or an app. The Emergency Stop is there for safety, using it when it isn’t needed means that the charge point may then be left out of service for other users
  • Park within the bay, inconsiderate parking can make other EV spaces unusable
  • If you don’t mind giving up your charger for someone in dire need then consider leaving a note on your windscreen with your telephone number so you can be contacted
  • If you are using a rapid charger it is generally accepted that one hour should be the maximum stay. Some car parks now have overstay charges if you linger any longer in these spaces, it’s a good idea to check signage to see if this will apply
  • When using a rapid charger it is considerate to stay near the vehicle if possible or take a note of when you started your charge to ensure you don’t overstay
  • The charging rate on a rapid charger typically slows once the battery has reached 80-90% capacity. It’s good practice to stop charging when this is reached or move to a destination charger if you need the extra power to complete your journey
  • Only use a Rapid Charger if your car has the ability to rapid charge, unless it’s a total emergency

Rapid Charger Etiquette

Rapid chargers typically deliver a charge of up to 50kw, though some such as Ford partner IONITY can deliver up to 150kw! These always have a tethered cable and charge your car in a very short period of time. They are also sometimes known as DC or CCS chargers. These types of chargers deliver the fastest charging experience, making them the most sought after by users looking to charge quickly and continue their journey.

They come with their own guidance:

Destination Charger Etiquette

Destination chargers are also known as slow chargers, Type 2 or AC chargers. They normally deliver a charge of between 3-22kW and are intended for longer stays. These can be found anywhere but they’re generally more plentiful and found in destinations such as train stations, shopping centres, supermarkets and workplaces.

There are fewer rules for destination chargers than rapid charges. As destination chargers can be used for extended charging it is generally accepted that you can leave your vehicle unattended in these spaces until it is fully charge. A maximum stay of 12 hours is considered the general rule for destination chargers, however many would consider this a bit lenient. It is always good practice to monitor your car charging and move the car from the space when it is fully charged.

Other things to note

It should also go without saying that charging bays for electric vehicles should only be used by electric vehicles. Parking a petrol or diesel car in them is known as ICE-ing the bay, with ICE standing for Internal Combustion Engine.

It may not fall within an etiquette guide but it’s also worth noting that you can charge most electric vehicles from a standard 3-pin wall socket, though you may need an adaptor or different cable from your manufacturer to do so. This is commonly known as a Type one cable or sometimes called a ‘granny charger’ and although a slow way to charge a car it can be very useful especially on holidays, when staying with family or for charging at home if you don’t yet have a Wallbox or are unable to install one.

Source: https://www.nextgreencar.com/electric-cars/statistics/

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