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Free Charging Etiquette

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by Doug_G, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    We have a charging station in our office parking lot. I'm happy to have visiting EVs drop by, if they need a charge to get home or whatever.

    We recently became aware of a Ford Focus EV charging every night (first spotted on video while checking whether the lot had been snow plowed). He's been staying for an hour and a half, and consuming about 10 kWh each time. I wasn't even aware that there were any of these in town!

    Today I was working late, and my Tesla was still plugged in. I was working at the side of the building and heard a very quiet car roll in; figured it was the guy so thought I'd pop outside and have a chat.

    He saw my Tesla plugged in and started to back out quite quickly. How odd. So I flagged him down. He seemed nice enough, but oddly nervous.

    Turns out he lives a few minutes away. He said that the charger at the local college "didn't work" so he was charging here. I asked if he couldn't charge at home, and he said he could, but this was Level II high power. At this point I was scratching my head. He's spending an hour and a half each night sitting in our parking lot, instead of just going home? He could put more energy in his pack overnight charging at Level I!

    So the guy is just interested in getting free power. Sitting there he "earns" a dollar an hour. If he continues like that he will gobble $50 a month of power, which is about what I use in my own car.

    I was kinda hoping people in the EV community would use it when they actually needed it, not just be leeches. I'm not sure what to make of this... thoughts?
     
  2. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    I predict that free will go away because of EV owners like this! I've said before that people do crazy things when something is for free!
     
  3. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    He doesn't see the $50, he sees the "free". Probably a broke college kid trying to save a few bucks.

    But, in the bigger picture, you're right. EVs are few and far between, it seems cool and green and magnanimous to install a charge now. But as we see more EVs, we'll see more people taking advantage and eventually free will go away and the fee for use ChargePoints and Blinks of the world will be king.


    Evan, Via Tapatalk
     
  4. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Even when something is called "free", which really means "paid for by someone else, or by yourself indirectly."
     
  5. rolosrevenge

    rolosrevenge Dr. EVS

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    Right behind you...
    I'm surprised he's willing to work for $1/hr. If that's the case I've got plenty of jobs for him.
     
  6. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Then how did he buy a Ford Focus Electric? They're $41k here.
     
  7. strider

    strider Active Member

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    Yeah, seems weird to sit in a cold car for 1.5 hours every night. Surely he can pull 10kWh overnight with an L1 cord? My facilities people were worried about this and what if someone got hurt after hours or whatever (yeah America and our litigious society!) so they installed a Chargepoint and only allow employees to charge. Their other option was to put a combo lock over the handle.

    I have to say I really appreciated an HPC set up like this last May when I was traveling and needed a charge (thanks Jack!) so it's a tough call. Lame that someone would abuse it. Although not unlike some of the folks here that live near Superchargers talking about using them to charge regularly. To me my time is worth a lot, but apparently to others not so much.

    Sadly I don't have any advice for you...
     
  8. agentsmith1612

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    A question to the thread owner, is there any problem that ICE block the charging place because of the parking area ?

    In germany that is a very difficult problem, because parking place is limited and charging parks in good locations. ICEs cars parking there and nobody can do anything against that.

    With this thread you are right. I can understand the opinion that EVs only should charge if they are needed.
    But I would do the same as the focus driver, if it is free. But I would not stay one or more hours in the car by charging - too boring.
     
  9. spleen

    spleen Active Member

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    I agree with Evan. I think that as time goes on, more and more chargers will change to fee required ... and I think that this is a good thing. It'll cut down on the "moochers" and make sure that charge stations will be available for those people that really need the charge outside of their house. Now as to what that charge or fee should be is a whole debate in and of itself.
     
  10. Alfafoxtrot1

    Alfafoxtrot1 Member

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    Apparently, parking meters were originally intended to push cars along by limiting their time in the central shopping district. If fees on the chargers are reasonable, it may actually help all of us. Of course, in popular areas, we may need more than a lack of charging to get the last user to vacate the space.
     
  11. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    There are three parking spots that can access the cable. Also there's not much reason for anyone but an employee or a supplier to park here. If we get a problem we will likely install signage indicating it is private property, and have unauthorized vehicles ticketed and/or towed.

    Like I said, I'd like to help out people who NEED charging, but I have zero interest in helping leeches. It this becomes a problem we may have to go to an access card or pay system.
     
  12. agentsmith1612

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    Yes that's theoretical.
    I saw here in Germany a lot of signs and hints that tells on this park area only parking for EVs while charging is allowed.
    Or another way is to forbit all cars staying or parking in the charging area, only EVs while charging are allowed.

    The fact is there is no special law and restrictions for EV parking and charging places, if an ICE is parking on a charging area, the police can't do anything. The police said that the owner of the charging/parking place has to care about this. But nobody of this owner take care of this. That is very annoying.

    For a Tesla it is not so important to have free charging places because we have enough capacity, but for example if somebody comes with an Renault Twizy or with other full EVs an have low SOC, they can do nothing.

    The biggest joke I ever heard was, that in one town somebody with an Opel Ampera (equal to a Volt) was parking and charging on the place there only EVs while charging are allowed and he got a ticket because the police from the town said that an Ampera is not a EV.
    In Germany it is an Plug in hybride.
    That seems like a very bad joke for me, because if you want you can drive with an Ampera as the same like an full EV.

    On the other hand, if there is an Ampera and an full EV with low SOC and the EV wants to charge, in my opinion the EV has the first choice on the charging station. But that would not help if the Ampera is the frist car that park and charge at the only one station.
     
  13. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    We have no EV parking laws here either, but it isn't legal to park on private property uninvited. We probably have to put up signs in order to enforce it, but we should be able to deter unauthorized parking with any vehicle.
     
  14. Zextraterrestrial

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    Well, I use 'free' power when I can while I am in the next town over. I have only 'seen' 1 or 2 other cars that ever use the free EV outlet and I stay for a max of 3-4 hours. Our power is extremely expensive and I think the industrial/commercial rates are much less. The outlet was paid for by a grant and while I am parked there, many people get to see the car.
    I'd hate to be in someones way that really needs a charge though
     
  15. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    If it was an issue of city-provided infrastructure that was going unused, then I would plug in just to show it was useful. Not the same thing as doing all my charging at a privately-owned station just to save a few bucks.
     
  16. Kipernicus

    Kipernicus Model S Res#P1440

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    I don't think he will be back, now that you've "busted" him. Unless you concluded that conversation with something like "come by anytime".

    I agree with everyone here, that really he should not be leeching off of you when he thinks you're not looking. If he can't charge overnight at home then he should provide you some compensation for the electricity, and only if he's coming by in the off hours and not impeding your business.
    If there's more cars regularly charging at night then you may consider what Lloyd does - fee at night but free for customers, suppliers, and friends during business hours.
     
  17. Teslawisher

    Teslawisher Member

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    The advice, in my opinion... Politely let him know you (and your company) are fine with him if he needs an "occasional" charge to help him get home, or whatever, but that the company does pay for that electricity so it shouldn't be a daily ritual. Leave it at that and if he continues... then, I guess signage, and potential towing (or ticketing - probably hard to tow if he's just sitting in the car waiting), and maybe chargepoint if it still continues.
     
  18. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    That is exactly what I did. I told him that if he ever needs a quick charge for some reason, he's more than welcome to come by. I just don't want him doing all his charging here, which is what he appeared to be doing.

    We have a power monitor on the charge station, so we'll know if he keeps doing it. We also have video surveillance all around the building so we can check the recordings to see if it's him or not. If he starts doing it again I'll just flip the power off when I go home, at least for a week or so.
     
  19. kvietor

    kvietor Model S S280 VIN 168

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    I know charge point stations can be set up for variable use options. Not sure exactly how it works but could they be set up to use a code for free charging for employees and visitors and an hourly or per kw fee for others? Post a sign "See **** inside for code". Just an idea.
     
  20. Toasty

    Toasty Member

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    in a Ford Focus, 1hr of charge can get him/her 20miles of range. maybe he wanted that.
     

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