A blue Peugeot e-2008 at an EV charging station.

Electric car charging etiquette: The written and unwritten rules of EV charging

Be a considerate driver with our EV charging tips.
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With over 700,000 electric vehicles on our roads and counting, it's high time we all become experts in charging our cars and doing it politely and considerately. 

We’ve collected the most helpful electric car charging etiquette for the growing UK eco-conscious community. So as we embrace a greener future (maybe through EV subscriptions), drivers can work together to make charging experiences smooth, efficient, and considerate. 

Buckle up and get ready to master the art of plugging in!

Rules to follow at public EV charge points

Are you planning on using a public EV charging station? Then, it's important to know some etiquette rules that will help ensure a smooth and efficient experience for everyone involved. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

Be respectful when joining the queue

Sometimes there may be a queue or a delay when using public charging stations. Be patient and respectful to other drivers who may be waiting for their turn. If need be, park safely and get out of the car and see if you can figure out the order of the queue.

The key is to be considerate of other EV drivers who may also need to use the station. Avoid parking your vehicle in a way that blocks others from accessing the charging stations.

Don’t hog the charging bay

According to a recent survey, the average time spent at a public charging station to charge an EV is around 30 minutes. So, if you're done charging, be considerate and move your car to allow others to use the spot.

Not only is this polite, but it's also practical - it ensures that EV charging points are utilised efficiently, reduces waiting times, and prevents congestion. Remember, we're all in this together, and every small act of consideration helps to create a better driving experience for all of us.

Tesla Superchargers deal with this by charging users £1 per minute after the charging is complete and it’s idling. 

Use a charger best suited to your EV’s supported charging speed

When it comes to choosing the right charger for your electric car, it's essential to know how fast your EV can charge. For instance, if you have an EV that supports 46kW charging, there's no point in using a 180kW charger. 

Not only will you not reap any additional benefits, but you'll also be hogging the charging bay, preventing other drivers who could utilise the higher speed from accessing the charger. 

This kind of behaviour is considered discourteous, and it can lead to unnecessary delays and inconvenience for everyone.

Never cancel the charging of others or attempt to unplug their cars

The most important etiquette to remember is to never cancel the charging of others or attempt to unplug their carsThis kind of behaviour is incredibly rude, and it can lead to conflicts and unnecessary delays for everyone involved.

If you need to charge your car urgently, it's best to look for alternative charging bays rather than attempting to unplug someone else's car. You can also use a charging app like Zap-Map or Electroverse to find other chargers near you.

Rules to follow at workplace EV charge points

Respect workplace policies

Before using a workplace EV charge point, check with your employer to ensure you are authorised to use it. Some charge points may be reserved for specific employees or departments, so following workplace policies is essential.

Be mindful of time limits

Some charging stations may have time limits for usage, so move your vehicle once your charging is complete. This helps ensure that other drivers have the opportunity to use the charging station as well.

Be respectful of other employees

Be courteous and respectful to other employees who may need to use the charging station. Avoid blocking access to the charging station, and be mindful of noise levels.

Joining email listings or group chats

If your workplace or office building has charging points, there may be information about the latest availability or rules. If that doesn’t exist, perhaps you and other colleagues who drive EVs can create a WhatsApp group chat to discuss with you how and when they can charge their cars. 

Tips for considerate EV charging etiquette

Be aware of your surroundings

These bays are often located in busy car parks or roadside areas, so it's crucial to remain vigilant and stay safe. Be mindful of pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers, and avoid obstructing traffic or parking in restricted areas.

Additionally, keep an eye out for any signs or markings indicating specific rules or regulations about using charging bays (like paying for parking if the charger is in a car park). 

Help newcomers out if they are stuck

Let's remember that we're all part of a growing community, and there are always newcomers who might need a helping hand. Don't hesitate to lend a hand if you see someone struggling with their charging or are new to the EV world.

You might have the information they need to charge their car and on the road. You could also provide some tips based on your own experience. Remember, we all started somewhere, and helping newcomers out can make a big difference in their EV journey. 

Report an out-of-order charge point

If you're ever faced with a broken charge point, it's essential to report it as soon as possible. There are numerous ways to report a faulty charging point, including via the charging network's app, the local council, or by calling the network's customer service.

Reporting a malfunctioning charge point not only helps to ensure that it's fixed promptly but also prevents other drivers from wasting their time and energy trying to use it.

If you use Zap-Map, you may also notice that many people leave comments for different chargers, so you can also consider dropping a message there so other drivers are aware of any faults.

Broken Gridserve Charging Point.

Put the cable back correctly in the holster when you're done charging

It's important to remember to put the cable back properly in the holster when you’re done. In the UK, many public EV charging points feature retractable cables with a holster or hook for storing the cable when not in use.

Leaving the cable lying on the ground or dangling from the charging point can be not only dangerous but also inconsiderate to others who may need to use the charger.

By properly putting the cable back into its holster, we help to keep the charging bay neat and tidy, prevent tripping hazards, and make it easier for the next driver to use the charger.

Don’t litter

Let's all do our part in keeping the EV charging bays clean and tidy by not littering. The UK has seen an increase in the number of electric vehicles on its roads, which means more and more people are using public charging bays.

As we all know, littering is not only harmful to the environment, but it also creates an unsightly and unhygienic environment for everyone to use. Please ensure that you dispose of any rubbish in the designated bins or take it with you when you leave.

Be mindful of noise levels

Charging bays are usually located in public spaces, and loud noises can cause disturbance to nearby residents, businesses, or other drivers. 

Keep your conversations and audio levels to a reasonable level, and avoid playing loud music or engaging in activities that could create unnecessary noise.

By doing so, we can demonstrate our consideration for others and create a more peaceful environment for everyone around us.

What to do if a non-EV is parked in an EV charging parking space?

As an EV driver, few things are as frustrating as encountering a non-EV vehicle parked in an EV charging space. Not only does it prevent you from charging your car, but it also shows a need for more consideration for the needs of other drivers.

If you're a driver of a petrol or diesel-powered vehicle, it's important to know that parking in an electric car charging bay could leave you liable for a penalty charge notice in the UK.

The rules and regulations regarding the use of EV parking bays vary depending on the area, so it's important to check the signage before you park.

Most councils allow electric vehicle drivers to park in these bays, but only if they're actively charging. So if you're not an EV driver, it's best to avoid parking in these bays altogether to avoid any potential fines.

However, hybrid vehicles that need to be charged through a plug are usually permitted to use electric car parking bays.

It's worth noting that some charging bays have time limits, so it's essential to check the signage to ensure that you're not overstaying your welcome. Remember, parking in an electric car charging bay is inconsiderate and costly, so it's best to leave these spots for those who truly need them.

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