Your Guide to EV Charging Etiquette

With more and more drivers choosing electric cars (EVs) over gas-powered cars for their next vehicle, the number of public charging stations can’t keep up the pace. This means there are likely a few cars waiting for their turn to charge.

This is why it is important to practice proper EV charging etiquette. According to Kelley Blue Book, these are the important things to remember when charging.

1. 80% to 90% charged is fine

A white EV charging outdoors.
EV charging | Getty Images

If you’re charging your battery while on the road, it’s OK to leave it at 80% or 90%. Even with a DC fast charging port, the more full your battery, the slower the charge to your vehicle. Not only can you charge up to 100% at a later time, but you never know who is pulling into the charging station with 10% or less battery life and needs the charging station. If you know your vehicle will be at 80% when you’re in a store, leave a note giving an estimated time when they can unplug your car from the charger.

2. Charge and go

Another point of etiquette regarding EV charging is not to stay longer than you need since EV charging spots are there for charging vehicles, not parking. Some charging stations have higher charging fees after you keep your car plugged in for more than an hour. The higher fees encourage people to leave the spot and let someone else charge their vehicle.

3. EV parking only

If you’re thinking about purchasing an EV vehicle but don’t have one yet, you might find it tempting to park in a spot designated for EV vehicles. You might find it more convenient if there’s not an open spot nearby, but those spots are there for EVs to charge.

4. Don’t skip the line

As frustrating as it is to find a parking spot after circling a parking lot for a few minutes only to have someone swoop in and take it from you while you’re waiting for the vehicle to leave, imagine waiting patiently for your turn to charge only to have someone take the spot you were waiting for so you could park there. When you pull into a parking lot with chargers, look around to ensure you don’t skip the line.

5. Don’t unplug your neighbor

Charging etiquette states that unplugging other EV drivers from the charging stations is impolite. Sometimes, there might be a note on the car saying it’s OK to unplug their vehicle if you need a quick charge, but the best solution is for drivers to move their vehicles as soon as they’re finished.

6. Obey the signs

If there’s a sign stating there’s a limit for how long you can leave your vehicle in the spot, then abide by that sign as it’s there for a reason. The rules for charging etiquette are there so everyone can charge their vehicles when necessary, and they don’t have to worry about non-EV vehicles parking there or someone else using the charging station as a parking space.

7. Use an app

There are charging stations that provide an app that allows you to track your charging progress and see who is next in line for a charging port. Some apps even let drivers take a picture of the charging station or leave directions to help drivers unfamiliar with the area find the charging station.

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