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The Dos and Don’ts of Vancouver’s Public EV Charging Stations

Public EV charging stations in Vancouver and throughout BC help electric vehicle owners reliably charge their cars even when they’re away from home. Things aren’t always as simple as “plug and go,” however. A BC Hydro survey from October of last year found that nearly a quarter of EV owners surveyed had gotten in arguments at a public charging station. At TCA Electric, we strongly recommend installing a home EV charger, but we understand that public stations can be very convenient as well. So how do you use EV charging stations in Vancouver without the sparks flying? Here are some key Dos and Don’ts. 

DO move your vehicle promptly after charging

The golden rule of public EV charging is this: spots are for charging, not parking. While that rule more often applies to non-EV owners, you become a “parker” rather than a “charger” once your battery is charged—so be ready to move when you’re finished! You don’t need to move the very instant your EV has finished charging, of course. But the sooner you can move, the better, especially during busy times of the day.

DON’T always charge your vehicle to 100%

Whenever you go to use one of Vancouver’s many EV charging stations, ask yourself: “How badly do I need to charge my vehicle?” If your battery is still mostly full, consider skipping the charge and leaving the spot open. If you do need to charge, however, give some thought to how much battery you’ll need to go about your day. Level 3 chargers (or “superchargers”)  typically slow down once your battery hits 80 percent capacity or so. That means waiting until your battery reaches 100 percent greatly increases your charging time! Often, that last 20 percent isn’t really necessary.

DO use apps (or signs) to communicate with other drivers

The key to avoiding many conflicts is communication. But how do you communicate with other EV drivers if you aren’t hanging around the charging station all day? Well, apps from companies like PlugShare and ChargePoint can help. These apps display information about public EV charging stations throughout Vancouver, including information on available spots and tips from other drivers. Sometimes drivers will leave info on when they’ll be moving their vehicle, or at what charge level they’re comfortable having their vehicle unplugged. 

DON’T unplug other vehicles

Speaking of which, unplugging another driver’s vehicle is likely the biggest cause of conflict at public EV charging stations in Vancouver or anywhere else. No matter how badly you need to charge or how full the other driver’s battery is, you should never unplug another vehicle.

One exception to this rule is when the driver has somehow left a message indicating that they’re okay with being unplugged. This could be in one of the apps mentioned above. Alternatively, some drivers place magnetic decals or hang tags on their vehicles to show whether they’re okay with being unplugged or what time they plan to return. Consider keeping one in your glovebox! 

DO install an EV charging station at home

While this might not seem related to EV charging station etiquette, it really is one of the best things you can do. Having a charger at home means you can forgo using public EV charging stations more often. This leaves more room for other drivers to charge as they need. It’s also much easier to avoid arguing over charging spaces at home—unless you’re parking two electric vehicles, of course! 

Purchasing a home EV charging station is also a wise investment that will save you money in the long run. Besides savings on gas, BC Hydro offers rebates on home chargers as an extra incentive. With a home charger, you may be able to avoid public EV charging stations in Vancouver altogether. If you want more info, our expert guide to EV chargers can help you pick the right one for your home or business.

TCA Electric: Installing Home EV Charging Stations in Vancouver!

EV charging etiquette can be tricky to navigate, but the biggest thing to keep in mind is courtesy. Beyond manners, though, installing a charger at home is just a smart move all around! When it comes to a home EV charger installation, you’ll want to hire a professional electrician you can count on. At TCA Electric, we’ve installed dozens of EV charging stations for folks throughout Vancouver, and we’re always keeping up to date with the latest charging devices on the market. If you’re looking for an EV charging expert, look no further! Contact us today.