Golden rules of public charging

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Charging bays are for plug in vehicles only

Regular vehicles, also known as internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, take up designated charging spots so often there’s a term for it, ICEing. If you are an ICE vehicle driver, leave the bays for the drivers who depend on them to get to their destination

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Charging bays are for charging only

Even if you are a hybrid or electric vehicle user, if you’re not using the charging facilities you shouldn’t use it as a parking spot. Leave the bay for someone who needs it

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As soon as you’ve got enough charge, move on

Once your vehicle is fully charged you should move from the bay. Be as considerate as you can to others who might be waiting to charge before they can continue with their journey. Some charging networks’ apps will notify you when your vehicle is finished charging to make this easier

Before charging

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BEVs over PHEVs

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) should always give way to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to charge. PHEVs have the option to use their regular engine if the electric battery is flat. BEV drivers don’t have the same freedom and using the charge point may be absolutely necessary to continue their journey

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Try not to use a rapid charger if you can’t rapid charge

Most PHEVs and some BEVs aren’t capable of drawing rapid charge but can still charge at from rapid chargers at slower rates. These vehicles should avoid rapid chargers unless they are in urgent need of charge. A vehicle that’s only capable of drawing 3.7kWh or 7kWh could occupy a rapid charger for hours when a BEV may need it to reach their destination

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Don’t unplug someone else’s car

Some plugs have locking mechanisms which make this impossible but you shouldn’t unplug someone’s vehicle to charge your own unless you have their permission. Helpful users may leave notes on their vehicle to let others know its okay to disconnect them, or they may leave their details to contact if you are desperate for charge

During charging

Don’t always aim for 100% charge. Vehicle batteries take longer to charge the last few % than the rest of the battery. If you can complete your journey with 80-90% charge, it won’t just help free up a spot for others users, it will be a more efficient use of your time

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Fill your charge time

Try and match your charge time with activities that take a similar amount of time. This could involve going for walks or finding somewhere for lunch or a coffee

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Don’t go far if you’re using a rapid charger

Charging time is reduced so much by rapid chargers that if you don’t stay close by you can end up occupying a bay unnecessarily. Keep an eye on your vehicle when using a rapid charger

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Consider leaving notes

Leaving notes is probably the most polite and effective form of communication between electric vehicle drivers. If you’re charging for a top-up consider leaving a note telling other drivers they can unplug and use the charger if they are desperate. Equally, if your charge is completely necessary leave a note so other drivers will refrain from unplugging you

Other advice to consider

As well as the above, it's important to plan ahead when you know you’re going to need to charge in public so you know which charge points are available to you. Here are a few pointers in preparing for your journey.

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Don’t rely on the last possible charger

Consider stopping at the second or third last possible stop to give you some flexibility if charge points aren’t available

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Do as much charging as you can at your destination

Charging at your destination, whether that be home or at work, will always be cheaper than a public charging network and you can rely on getting a full charge throughout the day or overnight

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Invest in a home charge point

If you are using public charging networks to charge up because you don’t have a home charge point we strongly recommend investing in one. You can install home chargers from £400-500 which is more than offset by the savings made on charging.

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