I confess. I did a bad thing. I didn’t mean any harm. But I caused an inconvenience for another EV driver and I feel terrible about it.
In my defense, I was new at the game of using public charging stations back in the spring of 2012. We all were.
We had taken our brand new THINK City EV to be in the Olney Days Parade. On the way home, we stopped to have lunch. I plugged in at a Walgreens store which had one of the few charging stations that existed at the time. We went to eat and returned about an hour later.
As we approached, we saw something incredible. There was another EV parked next to our car at the charging station. Not just any EV, but another black THINK City. Twins! There are only about 400 THINKs in the entire United States. What are the chances?
The owner of the other THINK was standing there. I introduced myself. His name was Tony. He had just gotten his car the previous day. He had found himself suddenly low on battery that afternoon and coaxed his new electric machine to the nearest charging station only to find it occupied by my car. He had been waiting 45 minutes for us to return. He was cool about it, but I was kind of embarrassed.
Tony had no way of knowing who the car belonged to or how to contact us. That’s the moment when I decided to use a dash card whenever I leave my vehicle at a public charging station. A dash card, sometimes called a courtesy card or EV charging protocol card, is placed on the dashboard to communicate with other EV drivers who may show up and need to charge. It may be as simple as text that reads, “OK to Unplug” or a mechanism to show what time you plan to finish charging.
In my opinion, the most valuable information to leave is simply a phone number that you can be reached at. A number to call or text, along with an indication that you are willing to share, is all that is needed to set up a negotiation between two drivers. There can be factors at play that require a dialogue. For example, there may not be any open parking spots adjacent to the charging station and the two cars may have to switch parking.
There are files on the Internet that you can print out to display on your plug-in car’s dashboard. It’s a matter of personal preference which style you want to use. I’ve decided to create one that has a simple design, a bold typeface and a space to put a contact number.
Sign up below to get email updates to PlugInSites EV charging station news.