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Public Charging Etiquette

johnnyS

Member
Sep 8, 2011
587
202
We went on our first road trip over spring break and wanted to get everyone's opinion about charging in public. We traveled from Long Beach to Monterey and San Francisco. We encountered the following scenarios:

1. We went to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park and parked in the music councourse garage. We found the charging station I saw listed on line. An EV only parking space was open so I pulled in. On one side was a Leaf connected to a charger. On the other was a Volt connected to the other charger. The charger connected to the Leaf showed that it was not charging. So I unplugged the Leaf and connected our model S. When we came back about 4 hours later, a new Leaf was parked next to us. The Leaf owner disconnected us while we were charging and connected to his/her car. I think we picked up about 2 hours of charge. The remote app did not pick up the car in the underground parking structure while we were in the museum. What do you think about the Leaf owner disconnecting us while we were charging?

2. I picked a hotel in the East Bay mainly because it has a charge point charger. When I made the reservation I indicated that I needed to charge overnight. When we arrived a Leaf was charging and the front desk personnel indicated the charger was first come first served. They had no idea who was charging and were no help. Another Leaf pulled in shortly after us. The Sheraton Four Points is adjacent to Bay Town, a popular shopping area which charges for parking. The Sheraton does not charge for parking and use of their charge station is free. The front desk does not monitor who is charging. It took me a while to figure this out. So five hours after we arrived, I pulled the plug on the Leaf and started charging. I woke up early at 5:30 and checked the parking lot. Both Leafs were gone so I it appeared neither were overnight guests of the hotel. We had a full charge which enabled us to drive directly to Harris Ranch and skip going through Gilroy. I think hotels should allow us to reserve a certain amount of charging time and monitor who is using their chargers. Any thoughts or similar experiences?
 
The second Leaf driver that pulled your plug out could though that you get an Tesla MS with a big battery so the probability that you have more energy to drive other there else is higher as in the arrived leaf.

If another car is fully charged I would also plug it out and plug it in my car. But pluging it out from another car while it is not fully charged, is not a good behavior. I know to charge the Tesla full needs some time.
On another point a Volt doesn't need a charge instead of an full EV car, because the Volt can drive by gasoline, too. If a Volt is charging and I would come with an full EV at very low Battery level I would plug the Volt out and would leave a notice on the wipers with an apology.

In the future with more EVs if could be a problem that you know there is a charging station and if you arrived there other EVs are charging. For private stations I would agree with you that if could be better so reserve it before to be sure that you can charge while you are staying in the area.
 
The charger connected to the Leaf showed that it was not charging. So I unplugged the Leaf and connected our model S. When we came back about 4 hours later, a new Leaf was parked next to us. The Leaf owner disconnected us while we were charging and connected to his/her car. I think we picked up about 2 hours of charge. The remote app did not pick up the car in the underground parking structure while we were in the museum. What do you think about the Leaf owner disconnecting us while we were charging?

How obvious was the display on the charger? The Leaf shows up to 3 blinking blue lights on the dash to indicate charge status/state. The Model S shows nothing at all without a key fob present. It seems plausible that a Leaf owner might look for signs of charging on the Tesla, find none, and assume that it is done.
 

DavidM

P2624, Delivered
Aug 18, 2011
451
21
Florida
On the east coast, we are still much more likely to get ICEd than bump heads with another EV owner. Over the last 4 months I've had about 4 road trips. Best experience was when we booked a hotel with 2 chargers in their valet lot. I mentioned in advance that I would need to charge overnight. When I arrived, one of the spaces was reserved for me. Charging and valet parking were free to EV owners. Worst experience was when we stayed at another hotel with 2 chargers in their self parking lot. Both spaces were ICEd for the first 24 hours of our stay. The hotel didn't care. Their response was first come first served, even for non electric vehicles.

On my travels I have seen much more evidence of ICEd charging spaces than EVs actually using chargers.

I've given thought to making a business card with contact info that I can attach to a charging cable which asks others to call before disconnecting the cable as a courtesy.

- - - Updated - - -

Is it just the UMC or HPWC that wont unplug while the car is locked?

Al, when you use a public charging station, the connector is a J1772. You'll need Tesla's adapter. Anyone can disconnect the J1772 cord to stop charging. But the Tesla adapter will stay locked to the car.
 
Last edited:

Al Sherman

It's about THIS car.
Nov 29, 2012
1,687
5
Batesville, IN
Al, when you use a public charging station, the connector is a J1772. You'll need Tesla's adapter. Anyone can disconnect the J1772 cord to stop charging. But the Tesla adapter will stay locked to the car.

Aha! Thanks. Will the app show that you are unplugged? Will it show that you have stopped charging without being "full?" Never say never , or always but I may "never" use a public charging station unless it's just for fun to see how they work. I think it would annoy me a great deal if another EV or PHEV driver made assumptions about my car/charging needs and unplugged me. I'm pretty certain I would have to go to my "happy place" to avoid a confrontation.

The bottom line is we're gonna need more chargers. PHEV drivers want to maximize they're non gas miles.
 

Robert.Boston

Model S VIN P01536
Moderator
Oct 7, 2011
7,844
42
Portland, Maine, USA
Will the app show that you are unplugged? Will it show that you have stopped charging without being "full?" Never say never , or always but I may "never" use a public charging station unless it's just for fun to see how they work. I think it would annoy me a great deal if another EV or PHEV driver made assumptions about my car/charging needs and unplugged me. I'm pretty certain I would have to go to my "happy place" to avoid a confrontation.
You can tell from the app whether you're plugged in, and whether you're charging. The app doesn't push a notification when you transition from charging -> not charging, or plugged in -> not plugged in. The ChargePoint software sends an SMS in such circumstances; it'd be nice if the app did something to notify you immediately.

As @DavidM noted, here on the east coast, the infrastructure is generally ahead of demand. Like David, I'm considering attaching something to my J1772 adapter that says something like "Need this charger? Please call or text me at (617) ..." Most days I park at the EV chargers in my office's garage, but typically I'm already back to full charge by 10am.

To the OP's questions: Tough call on #1; the Model S gives no outward indications that it's charging, so it's easy to forgive someone pulling the cord - particularly a Leaf, with its relatively small range. The "please call or text" note would at least have given the Leaf a chance at being polite about it.

On #2, the only hotel charger I've used was a Clipper Creek with a combination keypad on it. Registered guests with EVs are given the code. Seems like a pretty good setup to avoid this situation. The hotel is being silly not reserving facilities for its guests -- does it allow anyone to use its exercise room?
 

johnnyS

Member
Sep 8, 2011
587
202
Even if you cannot tell if the car is charging, the charger says it is charging. My wife was kind of upset when we found the plug pulled on us. However I was pretty happy to pick up a little range. When I pulled the plug on the Leaf, I knew it had been charging for at least 5 hours but I still felt bad. In fact I had a hard time sleeping. When I got up early Sunday morning and verified that they were not overnight guests I felt much better. Do the flashing lights on the Leaf dash indicate a state of charge?
 

dflye

S Sig Perf 414, VIN 814
Oct 7, 2011
565
6
Raleigh, NC
Do most charging stations indicate any of: total time charging, kWh consumed or current kW draw?

Most of the free chargers I've used at least indicate time since charging started and total kWh provided.

Based upon those two values, I could readily see someone hijacking a charging cable if I was either fully charged (based upon observation of current or total power consumption) or had been there for many hours.

I don't expect a free charger to keep my car charging unless my butt is in the seat of the car. If you want better service, you need to go to a pay-per-charge location that ensures you get what you pay for.

However, if you are paying for a hotel with EV parking and they won't evict vehicles that ICEd the EV spot or comp you a night at their hotel, I'd raise a huge stink both with the onsite manager and at the national level.
 

spleen

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jul 7, 2012
1,160
88
Honolulu, HI
Even if you cannot tell if the car is charging, the charger says it is charging. My wife was kind of upset when we found the plug pulled on us. However I was pretty happy to pick up a little range. When I pulled the plug on the Leaf, I knew it had been charging for at least 5 hours but I still felt bad. In fact I had a hard time sleeping. When I got up early Sunday morning and verified that they were not overnight guests I felt much better. Do the flashing lights on the Leaf dash indicate a state of charge?

Blinking lights on the Leaf's dash show that the Leaf is charging. The more lights you see, the higher the state of charge. If all 3 lights are on steady or if all 3 lights are off, then the Leaf is not charging.
 

Kipernicus

Model S Res#P1440
Dec 2, 2009
1,256
138
Belmont, CA
And Volts will sound the car alarm when unplugged while the car is locked.

All of these stories reinforce my conviction that
1. Hotel chargers need to be reservable
2. All other public chargers need to have an hourly fee
(not a kWh fee, because that doesn't create an incentive to vacate the spot when done charging)
 

andrewket

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2012
5,704
1,542
And Volts will sound the car alarm when unplugged while the car is locked.

All of these stories reinforce my conviction that
1. Hotel chargers need to be reservable
2. All other public chargers need to have an hourly fee
(not a kWh fee, because that doesn't create an incentive to vacate the spot when done charging)

As long as the hourly fee is proportional to the max current the charger can provide.
 

William13

Active Member
Mar 19, 2011
1,003
89
South Bend
I like the system prevalent in Chicago, orange cones block EV parking spots. The chargers are located high enough that the car's cell/data signal works. I think that hourly payment needs to occur and use of spots that are not close to the door. This will prevent Voltoutages and ICEing respectively.
 

kvietor

Model S VIN 168
Dec 12, 2010
300
25
Lithia, FL
My wife and I went shopping at Kohl's today and planned on using the ChargePoint charger in the lot just outside there entrance. As I pulled up, I noticed an ICE parked in the slot with the driver sitting in it waiting for his wife to come out. I politely asked him to move so I could charge and he pointed to the slot just opposite him. I had assumed the slots were side-by-side, but in this case they were on either side of the median. That worked for me, but I couldn't resist explaining to the ICE owner his mistake. I told him the spots were for charging EVs only and his response was that there was no sign that prevented him from parking there. So I handed him this card and wished him a good day. He was gone a few minutes later.

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