ElectroClassic EV
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Charging Etiquette

For my birthday, my lovely wife took me out to dinner at Andrew Weil’s True Food Kitchen at Santa Monica Place. I looked forward to using the Recargo app to find the charging station nearest the restaurant. As expected, there was a bank of five stations at street level in the parking garage, just a short walk from our destination. There were three new ChargePoint stations, one older ClipperCreek station with an updated J-plug, and an old inductive paddle charger that nobody could use. I slipped into the middle stall with two Chevys on either side to create a Volt sandwich. I tapped my ChargePoint card to release the wand, plugged in under my front license plate, and flipped my pilot signal switch to start the juice flowing. CLICK. It felt great to be eating at the grownup table.


Being a Libra, my wife brought up issues of fairness regarding the use of charging stations, particularly the poor EV owner left out in the cold if all slots are occupied. This could lead to all manner of dubious behavior, including stealing the plug from one vehicle to charge another. Is that acceptable if the first EV has finished charging? How can you tell if the charge cycle is complete? Is there any harm to people or equipment if the plug is pulled while the charger is hot? Does my pure electric vehicle get priority over a hybrid?


These questions could fill a Seinfeld episode. A click on the above image will direct you to the next best thing: a light-hearted EV Charging Etiquette primer. For those who like a more nuts-and-bolts approach, Torque News offers a point-by-point advisory that outlines charging Dos and Don’ts. One clear rule allows other EV owners to unplug your car when the charge is finished, so they can use the plug to charge theirs. Most new electric vehicles have a signal that automatically indicates when a charge is done, but not all are understandable, and some cars have none at all – like mine. For those, EVChargerNews offers a courtesy card that is placed on the dashboard, letting other EV owners know when it’s cool to unplug your car while you’re away. Thankfully, the J-plug is designed to shut off the juice if the plug is pulled from an EV in the middle of a charge cycle, avoiding any harm to people or equipment. When queuing for a charging station, the pecking order favors pure EVs first, since hybrids can also burn gas and are not entirely dependent on electricity.


Finally, when EV owners find themselves blocked from a charging station by a wrongly parked gasoline automobile, they have a word to describe it. They say they’ve been ICE’d – a term coined after the acronym for Internal Combustion Engine. For those special occasions, the Blink Network provides notices that can be printed and left on the offender’s windshield, expressing your frustration. Messages come in multiple flavors: polite, cheeky or stern, depending on your mood.


It was particularly ironic that the garage security dude at Santa Monica Place was not able to answer any of our charging station questions, despite that he was himself driving an electric vehicle. He did bring to my attention that if anybody had paid for a charge, pulling the plug would be considered theft. Point taken. But the highlight was the Santa Monica police officer bent over and peering into my window with his tactical flashlight. I presumed he was deciding whether my car was electric and belonged in the charging spot, but then he turned to me with the face of an excited 13 year-old and blurted: “That’s so cool!” Just like I did when I opened my birthday gift and saw this authentic Porsche key fob.



3 Responses to “Charging Etiquette”

  1. Love that cop !! I’ve been driving the Prius Plug-in lately, so this is important data. Thanks, Mark. Happy post birthday.

  2. You get to experience so many cool things that only a handful of people get to experience!

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