Unlike gas-powered vehicles, electric cars, motorcycles, and scooters often require hours to recharge. On top of the long wait times, the current EV charging infrastructure puts a squeeze on available resources. As a result, electric vehicles commonly charge at every opportunity. While that might stave off range anxiety for some, those left out aren’t so fortunate—unless they take matters into their own hands.

That’s been the case between some EV owners, with several drivers reporting fellow motorists unplugging vehicles to charge their own. One disgruntled driver even took to the internet to broach the topic with their fellow EV owners. Under the r/Electrics category and titled “Don’t be a jerk”, the subreddit poster cited an incident when their car was unplugged after only 20 minutes on a public charger.

After receiving a notification that the car was no longer charging, the owner returned to find a Tesla using the station. Uncivil comments toward the Tesla driver flowed in quickly, prompting moderators to remove replies that violate Reddit guidelines. Currently, the subreddit has been locked with the Reddit moderator NotAddicted writing, “This sub isn't the place to vent your frustrations, stoke outrage, shame, or encourage retaliation when people block chargers.”

While the backlash and hostility will steal the headlines, the incident spurs conversation around EV charging etiquette in this day and age. Many draw parallels between charging stations and laundry machines. Of course, if your finished laundry is just sitting in a washing machine, it’s no harm if someone relocates your clothes to an open dryer in order to use the washer.

However, during the incident in question, the Tesla owner nipped the station when the other car was only at 30-percent of charge capacity. Keeping with the analogy, I’d be pretty ticked if someone removed my laundry before the rinse cycle. Similarly, you wouldn’t yank a gas pump out of another car so you could fill your vehicle sooner, but EV owners are also looking for solutions.

Some have adopted cards similar to “Do Not Disturb” hotel door hangers that denote whether it is a “convenience charge” or not. Conversely, in Europe, EV owners are required to supply their own Level 2 charging cables, which lock when in use. We’re still in the early days of electric vehicle adoption, and users will establish appropriate etiquette over time. Until more charging stations are installed and manufacturers address the issues, owners may continue taking matters into their own hands.

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