SemaConnect Blog

December 12, 2014

5 EV Etiquette Tips Over the Holidays – How To Promote “Happy Charging”

Image CC by laffy4k

The holidays are just around the corner and people all over the country are already planning out family dinners, making travel arrangements, and strategizing the timely execution of holiday shopping. But with the approach of Christmas comes the ensuing parking mayhem as eager shoppers scramble to cross off those last few items on their Christmas list.

As an EV driver, it is important to be extra mindful of other EV drivers over the holidays as you charge up your car. There will be more electric vehicles in parking lots than you’re used to which means you should consider the charging needs of others as you carry out time-intensive tasks like Christmas shopping.

By following these 5 EV etiquette tips, EV drivers can help promote Christmas cheer and “happy charging” over the holiday season.

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1. Refrain From Parking into an EV Spot if You Don’t Need a Charge

Consider your parking choices wisely when pulling into a crowded parking lot. Remember that EV designated spots are reserved for electric vehicles while in the act of charging. This does not mean as an EV owner you are entitled to that spot all the time.

If you park in an EV charging location without charging your vehicle you are taking away someone else’s opportunity to charge their car. Therefore, only pull into an empty EV spot if you actually need to top up your battery. Otherwise, save that spot for another person who may actually need the charge to get to their final destination!

2. Communication is Key

If you’re going to be parking your car next to an EV charging station for an extended period of time, consider leaving a friendly note with your contact info or your intended time of return. This will allow other EV drivers to find out when your car will be done charging so they can time their charging session accordingly.

A little communication goes a long way in ensuring that all EV drivers will benefit from publicly-accessible charging stations.


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3. Do Your Best to Honor the Requests of Other EV Drivers

While “range anxiety” is becoming less of an issue these days, ensuring your car gets a charge can still be a stressful experience when carrying out Christmas shopping. As a result, it is important to be mindful of the charging needs of others.

If a fellow EV driver urgently requests a charge, do your best to accommodate them if your car will be parked for an extended period of time. This might mean forgoing the charge in the near term and then arranging a “hand-off” in an hour or two when they have enough juice to get home.

Image CC Ron Groves

4. Be Polite if You Get ICE’d

Getting ICE’d refers to getting blocked out of an EV charging station due to the presence of an “Internal Combustion Engine” vehicle (i.e. a gas guzzler). While it may be tempting to write an angry note or instigate a verbal altercation, being polite may actually be the better approach.

You can still leave a note on their windshield, but try to keep it firm and polite. Outline the reasons why their choice of parking spots is problematic and how it prevented you from getting a much-needed charge. People are more receptive to well-reasoned and polite communication that angry, insult-laden rants. By showing a gesture of goodwill with your note, you can encourage them to reassess their actions and avoiding making the same mistake in the future.

Image CC SemaConnect

5. Practice “Safe” Cable Management

When you’re done charging your car, it is important to return the cable to its proper place in an organized and safe manner. This means winding the cord neatly around its holder and ensuring it doesn’t become a tripping hazard. Proper cable management is especially important in the winter when snow starts to become an issue. No one wants to go digging through a pile of snow just to retrieve a charging cord.

Thankfully, our new cable management system makes returning the cord to its docking station pain-free. However, there are still a number of charging stations that don’t have the benefit of an easy cable management system, so be extra mindful of where you put the cord when you’re done.

Image CC EV Etiquette Association of America

Final Thoughts on EV Etiquette
With more EVs on the road and charging stations becoming popular for malls and retail outlets, it is important to do everything you can to make the EV driving experience positive and hassle-free. The holidays can be a crazy time as parking lots fill up and EV drivers spend longer than usual at the mall.

We should all strive towards EV etiquette over the holidays so we can promote Happy Charging and ultimately a more joyous holidays!


Joseph Tohill is a freelance writer and online communications specialist for organizations in the sustainability sector. He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia and spent most of his academic career studying sustainable urban development; namely the interdisciplinary relationship between built form and natural environment.
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