Can you leave your electric car charging unattended?
If you use public charging points to charge your electric car, it’s important to adhere to some important etiquette. It not only makes charging easier but also gives electric car owners a good charging experience at public points.
In this article, we have curated some guides for a better charging experience for electric car owners. We will explore if you can leave your car when charging and when fully charged, whether it is okay to unplug another’s car and what good charging etiquette entails.
Table of Contents
Here Is the Short Answer to Whether You Can Leave Charging Car Unattended:
You can leave your charging car unattended at a public charging point. Unlike gas cars, you don’t have to wait between 30 mins to 1 hour for your car to get full. You can attend to other things during this time while your car charges.
However, it is necessary to not turn the charging point into a parking space during charge. This is because charging at a public spot may involve other car owners who are waiting their turn to charge their cars. Endeavor to move your car when it has charged. Setting a timer will better help you monitor the charging period of your car.
While this is the case at DC fast charge points, it might not be L2 slow charge points. This is because they take longer and charging mostly takes place overnight.
Do People Normally Leave Their Cars While It Is Charging?
People normally leave their cars while charging. Electric cars are safe when charging. They don’t need special monitoring.
Also, people don’t have many hours to wait on cars while charging as they have a lot of things to get done during this period.
While there is no crime waiting on cars to charge, most people can use this time to get some things done, but they shouldn’t consume time in situations where they are using fast chargers.
Some car owners go shopping, grab coffee or food, take walks, catch up with friends, etc. We say this is normal and, in fact, multitasking.
Slow charging points even offer longer periods for car owners to occupy themselves with other things. Waiting 7 hours or more on cars at slow charging points is not feasible.
For fast chargers, customers may need to set an alarm for the charging period, so they don’t lose track of time.
Some electric cars have a built-in system that sends a notification to the owner’s phone when the charge is complete, while some chargers send messages to car owners when the cars have finished charging.
Whichever it is, it is all about not denying other people access to the charger on time.
Note that some charging points offer car owners tickets in situations where they leave their cars in the charging space after it has fully charged. This is to ensure people who leave their cars while it is charging will return in time to get them after they have completed their charge.
Can You Unplug Someone Else’s Car Once It’s Done Charging?
Charge stations will attend to people that come earlier first, and it is not illegal for such people to leave their car plugged in even when it is charged full.
But this does not make it right, as it prevents others from using the charger. However, it’s not advisable to unplug such cars.
But what can people that need the charger do? Should they wait forever in situations where the car owners are not showing up?
In situations where a car battery is full and the owner is not around, you can unplug it. While people frowned upon it, unplugging such a car when it has fully charged is justifiable. This is mainly because the car has finished charging and no longer needs the charger.
But, don’t just unplug charged cars immediately after they finished charging, you can wait a while for the owner to show up and do it themselves. Who knows? They may just be hanging around, waiting to free the space up for you, the next person.
No electric car owner should be comfortable hoarding a charger for themselves while others need it, anyway.
But in situations where you have waited for a while, it is quite fine to unplug the charger. And if you have no choice, be 100% certain the car is charged fully before you unplug it.
While you can unplug some cars when charging, note that most electric cars have security features that prevent others from unplugging them when they are charging.
In such cases, you will need to consider other charging points, especially if you have waited too long and the car owner is not showing up.
Whatever your reason, you shouldn’t unplug another person’s car when it has not charged fully and if they did not leave a note for you to do so. That is rude in its entirety and you wouldn’t want anyone doing it to you.
Can You Leave the Car in the Charging Station After It’s Fully Charged?
Charging spaces are for charging only, not for parking. You shouldn’t leave your car in the charging station after it has fully charged.
Make sure you move your car after it has charged fully, so other customers can have access to the charger.
Consideration is key when using the charging point. Don’t do what you won’t like others to do to you.
For someone whose car needs a charge urgently, how will you feel when you find one but a car that does not need it is blocking you from using it? We are sure you won’t enjoy that just like others don’t.
If you need to leave your car to attend to other things, you can set an alarm on your phone or use other means of notification to know when the car has fully charged. This will help you keep track of time and get back in time for your charged car.
Also, some car owners use stickers, and you can employ one too. The sticker may convey a message to remove the charger once the car has fully charged if you will not be around when it does. Or that others can unplug your vehicle in case of emergencies.
You can as well consider and prioritize the needs of other customers by conveying the right message through these stickers. Especially if you will not be around to remove your car when it has fully charged.
While some stations won’t take action against people that leave their fully charged car at the charge station, note that others may penalize you. Some charging points issue tickets to customers, while some penalize by charging a fee per minute.
In summary, disconnect and move your car from the parking space when it has fully charged. Don’t hold on to the space while there are still people waiting to use the plug.
Even when there is no car waiting when you started charging, they may show up before your car has fully charged.
What Is Good “Charging Etiquette”?
Charging electric cars at public stations can get chaotic if car owners don’t adapt to certain etiquette. While there are no legal rules guiding using these stations, some electric car owners may act in certain ways that may make the charging experience of another user horrible.
Good charging etiquette will help regulate the attitude towards charging. We have listed the following guidelines to help improve your experience and that of those around you when car owners incorporate them.
Plan Your Charging
There should be proper planning when you want to charge at public stations. Charge stations can be quite occupied these days as the adoption of electric cars has seen an increase over the years.
Electric car owners should not just show up at random charge stations to avoid getting frustrated while waiting for their turn to charge. The worst case is to be on a low battery with a long line on an urgent trip. You won’t even be able to change your charge location on a low battery to avoid getting stranded on the way.
Maintain a Proper Queue
In cases where drivers are waiting to charge, a proper queue system will enhance the charging progress.
Drivers should not shunt the line when there is a queue. Instead, they should patiently wait their turn to avoid chaos on the platform.
Move Your Car When It’s Done Charging
Avoid parking at a charging space when your charge is done. Set a timer or leave a note if you won’t be around, as we mentioned earlier. However, aim to unplug your car as soon as it is done and drive away from the station to make room for others.
Use the Right Charger
When charging your car, ensure you are using the charger your car manufacturer recommended. Don’t charge at 100KW when you should charge at 50KW. Make sure you are charging at the right speed while using a suitable charger.
Avoid Unplugging Other’s Cars
Do not unplug others’ cars to charge your own. Even when the car has fully charged, you may need to be patient and wait for the owner to come and unplug it. Unless in certain conditions we discussed above. Also, avoid unplugging others’ cars.
Return the Connector When Done
To protect the connector from damage, endeavor to return it to the spot where charge stations keep them. Also, it will save car owners from hazards and prevent charge stations from repair expenses that throwing the connector anywhere may cause.
Avoid Charging More Than You Need
There are others waiting to use the charger, and even some urgently. Charge what you need so others can have access to the charger on time.
Charging slows down after batteries reach 80%, so don’t delay others who need to charge by charging beyond this point. But if the situation allows it, you can charge beyond 80%. However, still don’t overcharge.
Maintain a clean and Quiet Charging Space
Avoid littering the charging space when charging. Also, keep the music down to help maintain serenity.