Etiquette For Electric-Car Charging: Debates Heat Up Over Who Goes First

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Electric cars at charging stations at Disney Family Museum, San Francisco [photo: Wendy Bartlett]

Electric cars at charging stations at Disney Family Museum, San Francisco [photo: Wendy Bartlett]

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Pull up to an occupied gas pump, and chances are you'll have to wait five minutes max for the car in front to vacate the spot.

Arrive at an occupied electric car charging space and you may be in for quite some wait--and debate on who should get priority at EV charging spots is beginning to escalate.

PluginCars has come up with a rather handy list of the eight rules of electric vehicle charging etiquette, some more pertinent than others to the frustrating issue of being blocked out of a space.

It's all sensible stuff--move your car if you're done charging, leaving notes to ask another owner to plug in your car after they've finished with theirs, that sort of thing.

But etiquette extends further--which cars deserve a charge more than any others? Should battery-electric vehicles get priority over plug-in hybrids, since they have no backup power source? Many owners think they should--leading to plenty of tension between both groups.

What about the latest issue, where some battery-electric vehicle owners are finding Teslas occupying a charger all day--even though they may not need the extra few hundred miles of range that day. PluginCars covers this too, advising charging "only when necessary". Ten mile commute and 300-mile range? Why not leave the charger for the guy who may have a fifty mile commute and a seventy-mile range?

Still, the one thing everyone agrees on: If you're not driving some form of plug-in vehicle, don't park in a plug-in spot.

It's irritating to find another electric vehicle occupying a space without needing a charge, but finding a regular, non plug-in car there (known as "ICEing", blocking by cars with internal combustion engines) is just ridiculous.

But we'd like to hear from our readers: How do you handle charging station etiquette? Have you ever been ICEd?

Have you ever needed to unplug another plug-in car to get home? Leave your comments below.

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