Public Electric Vehicle Charging Station Etiquette…don’t be a $*%@!

Author: Kevin Stillerman

Electric Vehicle Content Writer

Don’t be “that guy”! Here are some basic EV etiquette guidelines while charging your electric vehicle at a public charging station.

Don't be "that guy"

Charging station etiquette. There always has to be that one person who doesn’t seem to have any common courtesy .

When it comes to charging an EV at a public charging station there are some basic charging station etiquette rules that everyone is expected to follow.

Tesla Charging at EVgo Station

While many of these guidelines are common sense, time after time “that guy” proves us all wrong. 

Electric Vehicles Only!

For starters, if you are not driving an electric vehicle DO NOT park in an EV spot.

There is nothing more frustrating than pulling up to a charging location only to find that an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle is parked in an EV only spot. 

Non-EV parked in EV Spot

Many parking lots do not have ANY charging stations.

You are lucky if a parking lot has a few of its parking spaces dedicated for EV charging, so if you have a gas car then please leave the EV spots open for actual electric vehicles.

Space Out

Everyone likes to have their personal space, and this statement definitely holds true for EV owners.

This is even more true when you take into consideration, for example, a global pandemic. 

Tesla Supercharging Station, Red White Blue

As beautiful as the photo above might be, this goes directly against charging station etiquette. 

If there are plenty of open charging stations open, it is good practice to leave a space between you and the next car. 

Leaving an open space between vehicles allow for more room to open your car door and prevents accidental door dings.

Tesla Supercharging Station, Spacing Out

More importantly, many charging station share power between adjacent spots because they are on the same circuit.

This means that parking directly next to someone can slow down the charging speeds for BOTH you and your parking neighbor!

If you see parking spots labeled 1A, 2A, 1B, 2B, etc, then it is likely that all ‘B’ parking spaces are on the same circuit.

Do the right thing, space out when possible!

Park Between the Lines

This is a rule that should be followed regardless of whether or not you are driving an electric vehicle or gas car. 

Park Between the Lines

Not much else to say here.

Don't Unplug Someone Else

It is awfully tempting to unplug someone else’s car because you “just need a few minutes of charging” to top off and then plan to leave. Don’t do this. 

Some people will chosen to post a note near there charging port  to notify others if it is okay to unplug their vehicle in more urgent situations. 

If you see parking spots labeled 1A, 2A, 1B, 2B, etc, then it is likely that all ‘B’ parking spaces are on the same circuit.

It's ok to unplug me, ChargePoint

You should only unplug someone else’s car for a true emergency.

Be Friendly, but not TOO Friendly

It is common for people to wait in or around their vehicle during charging. 

It is always fun to chat with fellow EV owners and talk about owning an EV, electrification, and the newest Tesla software update.

You may even be inclined to smash talk hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Some people are just looking to charge and be on their way. They are not looking for small talk to help kill time. 

Trash at EV Charging Station

The reality is that not everyone cares that you upgraded your Model Y to performance rims and tires, or that you just got your interior center console wrapped.

Be friendly, but read the room first before bombarding the EV owner next to you with an unwanted conversation. 

Plug In, Charge, Leave

This is likely the single most important etiquette rule when it comes to electric vehicle charging.

As previously mentioned, EV parking spaces can be hard to find and can be a hot commodity on certain days and during certain times. 

It is important not to occupy an electric vehicle charging space for an excessive period of time.

Plugging your car into a charging station at the mall and hogging the space for rest of the day is not okay.

EV Charging in Mall Garage

If you car needs 30 minutes of charging, charge for 30 minutes and be on your way so that your space can become available for others to use. 

Don’t keep your car parked in a spot for 4 hours when you only needed 1 hour of charge. 

Don't Leave Trash Behind

Another common sense rule that tests people’s ethics on a daily basis.

Don’t litter. You are not allowed to say you are making the world a greener place if you are polluting the planet with trash and your empty Dunkin Donuts cup. 

Trash at EV Charging Station


Electric vehicle charging etiquette is easy. Most of the rules are common sense or things that any decent human being will do naturally. 

Park your electric vehicle between the lines, charge for a necessary duration of time, and drive away without leaving garbage behind.

It’s that simple. 

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