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The Dos and Don’ts of electric vehicle etiquette

Do you know how to be a good electric vehicle owner? If not, we’ll run down the dos and don’ts of EV etiquette, rules you should follow.

Electric vehicles are different, and a lot of drivers don’t have experience with them, so they don’t know the best ways to use their battery-powered cars and trucks. To help you avoid any faux pas, here are 10 simple dos and don’ts to make sure everyone has a good EV experience.

Do use an appropriate charger for your vehicle

Tip No. 1, DO use an appropriate charger for your vehicle. If you drive a Chevy Bolt that DC fast charges at a maximum of around 55 kW, there’s absolutely no reason to plug into a 350-kW charger. Your car’s battery will not juice up any quicker and you will piss off any Hummer EV or Hyundai E-GMP drivers that need to DC fast charge. So, know what your vehicle is capable of and use the appropriate hardware.

Don’t DC fast charge to 100% unless needed

Next up, DON’T DC fast charge to 100% unless you absolutely have to. There are situations where this might be necessary, but they’re pretty rare in everyday use.

Most EVs charge the quickest from 10 to 80%. Beyond this range, the speed plummets, meaning that getting the last 20% can take longer than the previous 70.

Look at the Hyundai Ioniq 5, for instance. In our testing, it DC fast charged from 10 to 80% in a lickety-split 18 minutes, exactly like the manufacturer says. But going from 80 to 100% required 32 additional minutes. So, be courteous and avoid hogging a charger if you don’t need to.

Do move your vehicle as quickly as reasonably possible when finished charging

Tip No. 3, DO move your vehicle as quickly as reasonably possible when finished charging, so you’re not blocking other drivers. Few things are more frustrating than waiting to re-energize your EV and there’s another vehicle in the way, one that’s done charging.

Operators disincentivize this outlet obstructing by charging users idle fees when they’re plugged in and not juicing up. But still, be courteous and vacate the stall as soon as you can.

Don’t unplug other EVs

Next up, DON’T unplug other EVs. Many models lock the plug in place while juicing up, so others can’t disconnect the charger from the vehicle, but still, like you should have been taught as a child, keep your hands to yourself and don’t touch other people’s stuff.

It doesn’t matter if a vehicle is at 97% or even if charging is complete. Be kind and don’t interrupt another person’s session, even if they need to learn about points No. 2 and 3 highlighted in this story.

Do put the charging cable back where it belongs

When you’re done charging, DO put the cable back where it belongs. Connectors usually click into a holster on the power dispenser’s cabinet. Doing this keeps the plug end and much of the cable up off the ground where these parts are less likely to get dirty or damaged. Please don’t lazily dump the cable on the asphalt where the next person could run it over. That’s not good for anyone.

It’s also worth noting, sometimes Tesla owners leave Supercharger cables unhooked if the station doesn’t work. This is a way of signaling the problem to other drivers, so they don’t pull up and try to use a broken charger.

Don’t public charge unless you need to

Tip No. 6, DON’T public charge unless you need to. What do we mean by this? Well, if you’re driving to the grocery store then heading home after shopping and your battery is at 95%, maybe don’t take up a DC fast charger that another driver might need. The U.S. public charging infrastructure is still a regrettably finite resource, so if you’ve got plenty of range and you’re just heading home think of other motorists that might need to charge more than you do.

Do unhitch your trailer while charging

Next, DO unhitch your trailer while charging. Yes, this can be a major pain, but unless the parking lot where chargers are located is massive or otherwise empty, it’s courteous to disconnect your trailer while charging, so you don’t block traffic or access to other chargers. Again, try to be a good human being, which isn’t always easy to do.

Don’t use a non-Tesla charger if you drive a Muskmobile

Along the same line, DON’T use a non-Tesla charger if you drive a Muskmobile. Tesla owners, you already have access to what is hands down the best charging network in the US. Tesla Superchargers are plentiful, reliable and incredibly convenient, so, please don’t feel the need to power up at an EV Go, ChargePoint or Electrify America station unless you absolutely have to. Try to save those brand-agnostic options for other EV drivers. They will thank you for this modicum of politeness.

Do exercise common courtesy

Tip No. 9, DO exercise common courtesy. When charging, park neatly between the lines so you don’t block access for others, avoid cranking your music to obnoxious levels while chilling and charging and definitely don’t leave any garbage behind in the parking lot. A little thoughtfulness goes a long way toward making the EV experience a positive one for all drivers.

Don’t use the same charger as another driver

And finally, if you can help it, DON’T use the same charger as another driver. Of course, this is not always possible, so use your judgment, but avoid plugging into the same charging cabinet as someone else. Many chargers are load balanced, meaning they share a certain amount of power. So, if you start pulling electricity from the same cabinet, you could significantly reduce the other driver’s charging speed. Again, this is not always possible, but use a separate charger if you can.

Written by Craig Cole

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