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Discussion Starter #1
My work has a public access level 2 charging station that has two outlets capable of charging two vehicles simultaneously.

As most things in life, it's a first-come-first-serve kind of thing, but lately I've been noticing some (what I consider to be) unethical practices.

About a month ago, with both spots taken, someone drove up with a Nissan leaf and unplugged a Gen1 Volt and plugged his Leaf in. The alarm for the Gen1 Volt went off but the guy in the Nissan Leaf didn't care. Our facilities manager came out to speak to the man and he was incredibly upset, stating that the cars that were currently there had been there all day and he needed to plug in. The Gen1 Volt had been there from 7:30am and was still there at 1pm that afternoon. Even with a completely depleted battery, I don't believe it takes 5.5 hours to completely charge a Gen1 Volt battery. I'm not sure what the outcome was, but at about 2:30 or so, I looked out my office window and noticed the Gen1 Volt had finally left the charging station. I know definitely that neither the Leaf nor the Gen1 Volt are employees of my company.

A second incident occurred only a few weeks ago when an electric smart car and a white Nissan Leaf were plugged in. A second white Leaf pulled up and parked in front of the Smart car and blocked it from being able to leave the spot. I'm not sure if the Leaf owner unplugged the smart car.

I have a Gen2 Volt, which I usually plug in every morning when I get into the office. Usually, my charge is done by about 11:30, but I wait until lunch to move my car to give other vehicles access to the charging station.

Wondering if anyone else has experienced the above two incidences with public charging stations, and what the perceived etiquette should be for how long you stay plugged in at a public station. I don't believe anyone can fault someone who wants to ensure their vehicle is completely charged, but practices like the Gen1 Volt where he plugs in in the early morning and stays plugged in until 1 or 2pm that afternoon feels completely excessive and inconsiderate. And this person plugs in pretty much every single day. Not to say that unplugging someone else is the response--I think that's just as bad. But what do you do when someone stays potentially monopolizes the spot? I have noticed once or twice a Gen2 Volt remain plugged in from 8am to 5pm.
 

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When you are fully charged, move your car ASAP. If you can't do that, you shouldn't plug in in the first place. Don't be that ass that hogs a charging spot all day, especially a busy spot like OP mentioned.

Your company should hang an additional sign that limits how long a car can be plugged in, to prevent the charging spot "squatters" from staying there all day.
 

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This is a good example of why public charging, especially when it is free, does not usually work, or will soon not be working once demand increases a little. The owner of the charger needs to set some guidelines and preferably automate them with a card access system or similar. Until that happens, I would not rely on that charger being available. Plan to charge at home and, and if you charge there, consider it an opportunity charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Your company should hang an additional sign that limits how long a car can be plugged in, to prevent the charging spot "squatters" from staying there all day.
I don't think placing a time limit is feasible, as charging times vary from vehicle to vehicle depending on how depleted the battery is.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is a good example of why public charging, especially when it is free, does not usually work, or will soon not be working once demand increases a little. The owner of the charger needs to set some guidelines and preferably automate them with a card access system or similar. Until that happens, I would not rely on that charger being available. Plan to charge at home and, and if you charge there, consider it an opportunity charge.
The system currently requires a credit card to unlock the charging station. I agree that it can't be a "reliable" charging post, but there should be greater public facilities to accommodate the increasing presence of electric vehicles. I think the charging station should be treated similarly to a gas station--there should be enough around to meet with demand.

It is free for now, but I can see the potential to charge motorists for using it.
 

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More charging stations would help, but in the long-term, it is practically impossible to ever provide enough of a free service. The two most practical solutions for public charging are:
1) charge at home and have enough range to return.
2) public charging that costs you at least as much for electricity as you pay at home, plus charges you in some reasonable way for occupying the parking spot. The average person will rarely go to much trouble to vacate a parking spot that is free and convenient. One big problem with this solution is that now that your employer has paid a lot of money to install the charger, do they really want to invest more money and time in setting up and administering a fee system? It distracts them from their real line of business.

Framing this issue around "etiquette" assumes that all drivers want to behave in a cooperative way. That is true for many, even most, drivers, but there is a large enough contingent of self-centered drivers to throw off any etiquette-based system that is open to the public. As an example, are the driving rules of the road (speed limits, intersection priority, DUI, etc.) based on the honor system or on explicit laws with harsh punishments including fines and even, in extreme cases, jail time? Yeah...

The first few early adopters of plug in technology may have had a feeling of camaraderie among them, but we are already getting past that stage in many places.
 

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... I think the charging station should be treated similarly to a gas station--there should be enough around to meet with demand.

It is free for now, but I can see the potential to charge motorists for using it.
Imagine gas stations were free, BUT, there was a limited supply every day.

Would people self-limit and only pump enough gas to get them to home and back one day? (say, one or two gallons)

I'm guessing , NO. Especially, anonymous users who face no consequences for violating "etiquette" .

Even Tesla is having problems with locals "abusing" the company's intent of the Superchargers (long distant travel vs. daily fill-up)
 

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Similar issue at my work... one station with 2 plugs (large office park with multiple companies). And we have a Volt who frequently stays there from 8-5pm. The one saving grace is that the station is activated by a card, and to get a card you have to sign up with security, so they have everyone's names and contact info. Many times I have "nicely complained" to security about the hogging Volt (and a Leaf too, but he seems to have left the company) and they do immediately call him and ask him to move. Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't. I can't believe how rude that guy is, I confess to having some revenge fantasies from time to time (favorite current one: filling his charge port full of epoxy). But I'm also frustrated that security won't enforce the rules better. If the guy is a frequent abuser, they could just cancel his access card (even temporarily, if they want to give him a 2nd chance). But they won't. They do have sings saying "parking while charging only" and stress that when you sign up.

Wish I had a solution for you, OP. I agree, it's rude to stay on for hours after you are done. It's hard to police it. Best situation would be a co-op deal where all the users know each other (even if just over email) and have control of access cards to the station. So if there is a serial abuser, a vote could be taken to revoke his access card. Another thing that helps is to have long cables and have the station able to reach multiple spots. An "H" setup would allow 1 station to service 4 spots, so someone could unplug someone else once they are done without having to wait for them to move their car. I have this at another work site and it works pretty well (we are all at the same company there and have an EV email list, we all agreed others could unplug us when done, so no one is upset about it).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My company is a psuedo-not-for-profit (in that they still have for-profit aspects, but do promote a bunch of community advocacy programs and initiatives), and I've petitioned to have them build a second charging station. I've met with some senior managers who would spearhead this initiative and at first I wanted it to be another public access charging station, but since we've discussed it and seeing the lack of consideration that's going on with the current station, we're now opting for an employees only charging station. There are currently only two employees (possibly three) with electric vehicles (myself included).

This would be a great solution I think, but it's sad that bad behaviour as what is currently happening creates a need for people/companies to be more exclusive, when the intent should be to encourage the public to adopt electric vehicles.
 

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My place of employment allows the public to use the onsite charging stations. Charging is free for as long as it takes to charge the battery. Once the station detects that the car is fully charged, it starts a timer with a one hour grace period. After that, you are automatically charged $20.00. This seems to have magically solved charging etiquette problems.

BTW, if a car is plugged in to a public station, but it is fully charged, I have no qualms about unplugging it.
 

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...Another thing that helps is to have long cables and have the station able to reach multiple spots. An "H" setup would allow 1 station to service 4 spots, so someone could unplug someone else once they are done without having to wait for them to move their car.
We have this feature where I work (inside a corporate campus with security gate). It does require the spaces be marked as charging only. It works pretty well so far, along with a scheduling system and a way for us to all communicate with each other. The downside is that ICEing is a frequent issue. I see it literally every day. Campus security shows little interest in enforcing the parking rule.
 

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Luckily I have read this forum for a while before really using public charging or charging near work. I keep a laminated piece of paper with an explanation and my contact information so if I need to move or if a more urgent BEV needs to charge, they can call/text me and let me know when they are done.

Unfortunately, I am probably more the expection than the rule nowadays as my Volt has been unplugged or spots have been taken by other PHEV or BEV and not charging their cars. Most recent example I can think of is Costco Torrance new 16 spots for charging, but the network they are using is horrific. I have a RFID card where I can charge (rather cheaply) but other people just ICE it or park there out of privilege.

I have no problem paying for my electric usage at work. I would also have no problem buying my own portable L2 charger so I would "be on the hook" so to speak to keep an eye on my car and equipment. I do not mind free, but I do think these things should be regulated. I just read about one of the Supercharger stations in Fountain Valley where this exact problem mentioned by Just_Jon. Just amazing that locals will park their cars there and now instead of using a good honor system, a valet is basically there to keep an eye on them.

I understand the need to want to charge for cheap/free, but I am actually now for reasonable rate charging instead of free. Some rates that I have seen ($0.30+ per kWh or Time based) are just bad for the G1 Volt. If I had a Leaf or Tesla, I would be more inclined.

At any rate, until the infrastructure catches up, this will be an ongoing issue. Hopefully it will not have to come down to vigilante type regulation and people will just get a clue.
 

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so someone could unplug someone else once they are done without having to wait for them to move their car.
This would only work if someone didn't have their alarm set up to go off when someone unplugs without being unlocked.

I'm glad I work in an area where chargers are not in demand. I park at a Chargepoint charger behind Chilli's every other day. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've seen anyone else using it. My office window overlooks the parking lot, so if I ever do see someone else plugged in, I'll go down and move my car, otherwise I frequently leave it there for the day, since it's a tucked away parking spot.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My place of employment allows the public to use the onsite charging stations. Charging is free for as long as it takes to charge the battery. Once the station detects that the car is fully charged, it starts a timer with a one hour grace period. After that, you are automatically charged $20.00. This seems to have magically solved charging etiquette problems.

BTW, if a car is plugged in to a public station, but it is fully charged, I have no qualms about unplugging it.
That's amazing! I think it's a perfect solution. I should propose this to help alleviate current abuse.
 

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Speaking of which, I got this email from Chargepoint this morning:
As you may have noticed, there are more drivers than charging spots. To help all drivers charge their vehicles, National Grid has enabled the ChargePoint Waitlist feature.
ChargePoint Waitlist helps you secure a place in line for a charging station.
Here's how it works:
When all stations are in use, you join Waitlist by tapping your card at a station, or using the ChargePoint website.
When a spot becomes available, you'll be notified. You can Accept the spot and it will be held for you. If you're busy, you can Snooze and let the next person have the spot without losing your place in line..
The admin at National Grid configures how long a driver can stay at a station, so all drivers get an opportunity to charge. You'll be notified when it's time to move your vehicle.
I'm hoping this doesn't mean they're going to randomly notify me to move my car if no one else needs it.
 

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Could you petition your employer to provide several L1 plugs for the employees to use? Quite a lot of charge could be provided while you are working a normal 8 hour day...

I work in a corporate office for a large retailer, I have been repeatedly shot down when discussing charging with the leadership, even when I suggested standard outlets for L1 charging, with employees using their own EVSE.

They opened a new 'office' away from the main campus for several thousand of us, and there WERE multiple outlets on the outside of each building, but they bunged them up when they did the renovation. Its sad that the infrastructure is physically there, but we cannot use it.
 

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The system currently requires a credit card to unlock the charging station. I agree that it can't be a "reliable" charging post, but there should be greater public facilities to accommodate the increasing presence of electric vehicles. I think the charging station should be treated similarly to a gas station--there should be enough around to meet with demand.

It is free for now, but I can see the potential to charge motorists for using it.
I agree. Being public doesn't mean it is "free". Someone is paying for the EVSE station and the charges. I like the credit card idea, but I would recommend installing a control switch that is set inside the office, so anyone who comes in has to ask to use the station, preventing free-loaders even if they have a BEV and urgently needs a charge. I would also add a timer to limit the free time with an indicator at the station, so if another EV arrives, and sees the indicator on (charge time completed), the Ev driver can move the plug and ask to restart the timer.

This may be a bother for the EVSE station owner, but these control allows them to identify the users, prevent the EVs from overtime at the station, and prevent free-loder from using them without permission.
 

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I think the real solution to this problem for many drivers is the new generation of EVs that have 200+ mile range and a reasonable price. Once people can accomplish all of their normal daily driving on a single charge, public charging becomes almost irrelevant except for road trips. At least for people who can charge at home. Then the squabbles at public charging stations will be mostly among people who are just trying to free-load, and the rest of us can drive on by (kind of like we enjoy driving past gas stations already).
 

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I've gotten in the habit of checking Plugshare when planning a trip to a new place to see if there are charging stations available. I like their website because they usually list the cost and they are usually correct (but not 100%).

I've noticed that some places are tacking on an hourly rate ($1-$2 per hour), or simply charging by the hour for being plugged-in. It would be good if the charging stations could be programmed to charge a much higher hourly fee when a fully charged vehicle is plugged in. That would motivate most people to move their cars after they're completely charged.
 
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