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Public charging etiquette

Public charging etiquette

Hey everyone,
I've just put my money where my mouth is a few days ago and pulled the trigger on my Model 3 preorder.
My wife and I are renting an appartment so there's no option for us to charge at home. I work 4 KM away from our place so a full charge will get me through a week or two without a problem. When I do have to charge I'm forced to use public chargers which thankfully are very close to our appartment. Now my question is:

Are you required/expected to wait at the car while it's charging? These public plugs charge around 50 KM / hour so it would take a while to get a full charge out of them. Can I just plug in my M3 and go home until it's fully charged?

tommyalexandersb | May 16, 2016

You can plug it in and come back when it's charged. Generally when people talk about congestion at chargers, they're talking about super chargers. As long as you move your car when it's done charging at any kind of charger, you're fine. (Although for super chargers it's fastest during the first half of charging, so don't top off unless you really need to, or if the there are other empty stalls)

Steven.Haver | May 16, 2016

As long as you are being mindful and courteous, you will have no problem. The fact that you've even made a post on the subject is an indication that you will be fine. Download PlugShare (app) and look at all the chargers already in your area. Realize there will be many more by the time you get your car. Look for places where you can charge while having dinner, while seeing a movie, etc. In most cases, it's totally fine to leave your car while you do something else. In fact, the goal is to minimize the time you spend waiting with your car. But be mindful and try not to block a charger when you really don't need it. I leave my business card on my dashboard while charging, so if someone was in a jam they could call/txt me.

Also, don't discount 120v charging. Often people think "well I don't have 240 at home so I can't possibly own an electric car" and that's simply not true and especially not with the use you're describing. It's important to have the conversation with your landlord because even if there's nothing they can do for you at this time, it'll be in their awareness for the future.

Tropopause | May 16, 2016

As with Model S/X, Model 3 likely will utilize a smart phone app to track charging progress remotely.

kerash.desire | May 16, 2016

Thanks for the quick replies. The nearest charger is roughly 500 meters away from our apartment so I'd pick it up as soon as it's fully charged. I certainly wouldn't want to block it if I don't have to.
I'm aware that charging stations will appear in many places until then but that's just something I wanted to clear up right away.
As for home charging, I'll definitely talk to our landlord since every parking space has a separate 240V plug but I don't know if a regular German wall plug is compatible or if I'd need a conversion plug or something like that. Then there's the question about covering the cost of those plugs since basically everything living in the complex can use them and they're not really assigned to anyone specific. Another thing to consider for the future.

afestini | May 16, 2016

Generally wall sockets will work, but if they aren't connected to your apartments or another separate meter, using them would basically force everyone to pay for charging your car and might even be treated as "energy theft". Definitely something to discuss with your landlord first. Maybe they'll trust you enough and all it takes is a €10 meter to keep track of how much you use.

Also, before using a wall socket, you should usually have an electrician check if it's suited to handle that kind of load (there's some rule of thumb that if the wiring is less than 5 years old, it should be fine.. but better safe than sorry).

PhillyGal | May 16, 2016

You should also consider leaving a note with your number on it (or using an all like PlugShare which I know works in the US) so that if someone is emergency charging, they can get in contact with you.

Also, as others have said, move as soon as you're done.

cquail | May 16, 2016

Does the apartment complex provide a parking space for you? Or do you park on the street?

Haggy | May 16, 2016

Things will change over time, and there may or may not end up being a supercharger near you by the time you get the car. If so, it might mean a trip to a shopping center once a week or so for a quick meal and a free charge. Don't stay longer than necessary, but you don't have to wait around. My experience with semi-public chargers, such as ones at offices, has been that employees with BEVs with limited range try to get their early and it's not worthwhile for most Tesla owners to bother, since they will have enough range, and typically charge at home. With the Model 3, that will likely change, and as chargers spring up in more and more places, there will be more of a need to be courteous.

A big difference between a slow public charger and a supercharger is that the rate of charge will vary with the supercharger. It will start off charging fast, but will slow down before you get to 90% and then slow down even more. You won't typically want to charge above 90%, but at slow public chargers, the rate of charge per hour might be fairly constant and you'll have a very good idea of when to come back.

kerash.desire | May 17, 2016

The parking spaces for our apartment complex are in a little underground garage.
I'll wait and see how things evolve in my general area. I'm sure most regular gas stations might start offering charging stations within the next two years but I'm willing to go out of my way to charge my car if it means I can fully rely on going completely electric.

cquail | May 17, 2016

I would at least talk to the management of your apartment complex and let them know your need. Charging at home is so convenient. Others on this forum have offered to pay for part or all of the cost for charging installation.

In the future housing units that offer electric car charging will become the more desirable ones. Everywhere I go I let folks know they need electric car charging equipment. Some are interested and promise to investigate. Others not.

kerash.desire | May 17, 2016

I'll definitely talk to the landlord when we get closer to an actual release date but I don't want to spend too much money on any installations there since we don't know how much longer we will live there once the first child joins the party. We'll see.
My main question has been answered, though. People usually don't leave their car while getting gas so I wasn't sure if people are expected to wait at the car while it's charging since someone else could just remove the plug and start charging their car while you are away. :P

Bluesday Afternoon | May 17, 2016

FYI, the charge port on the Model S locks the charger cable to your car so someone can not simply unplug you. I'm confident the 3 will do the same.

Enjoy the family addition...and, the Model 3 when they arrive. :-)

Rocky_H | May 17, 2016

@kerash.desire, Quote: "I'm sure most regular gas stations might start offering charging stations within the next two years"

Eh, I really doubt that is going to happen. You don't help load the gun that is pointing at you. The electric car business is working to kill the gas station business, so most gas station chains are not going to want to help put themselves out of business.

But as far as the fueling paradigm, yeah, it's different because of the time factor. Pumping gas takes several minutes, and has a little bit of safety risk that needs to have an eye kept on it, so people wait there. Charging an electric car with a big sized battery at most public charging stations can take 2-3 hours or more, so that is something where you really would be expected to go and do something else for a while and come back.

As to this: "since someone else could just remove the plug and start charging their car while you are away"

I think most J1772 charging handles have a loop that interacts with the lock release, so you can sometimes use a tiny padlock to keep it from being unhooked from your car, but not all of them have that. Or, this guy created a pretty clever locking ring that physically holds the latch onto your Tesla J1772 adapter while it is plugged in, so the handle can't be removed from it.
https://evannex.com/products/capturepro

kerash.desire | May 17, 2016

@Simply Red: Thanks! Both are probably equally far off, though if everything goes as planned. :D
@Rocky_H: The ones directly linked to oil companies probably won't but surely there are privately owned gas stations that would rather adopt it to stay alive than not do anything about it unless they get pressured by their suppliers.
These days everyone is offerice charging stations. They've just opened up a brand new hotel near my workplace and they have two charging spots. I can't imagine what it will be like in two years.

It's good to know that the plug gets locked in with the car. Is that only for SCs, though? That capture pro adapter wouldn't be needed if it worked the same way for public chargers.
Adapters and compatible plugs and whatnot is another topic I will have to research. Not sure what standards are out there.

jordanrichard | May 17, 2016

If as the gas station owners say is true, that they make most of their money from the junk people buy inside, then them setting up some EV charging spots wouldn't hurt them. If anything, it will increase sales of coffee, newspapers, junk food etc, since people have to sit there far longer than an ICE car.

Exxon/Mobil now advertises itself as an energy company, so it would make sense that an Exxon/Mobil gas station to become an "energy station". Selling gas, diesel and Kwh.

cquail | May 17, 2016

To solve the leave-and-come back issue, I purchased an Urb-e (urb-e.com). It is a fold-up electric scooter that fits in the back of our Tesla. It is meant to solve last mile transportation problems in the city, I.e. you get off the subway and still have a mile commute to work.

I am using it this week in Brckenridge CO. Our rental unit is a half mile from the Town Hall Eaton EVSE. While charging the Tesla I ride the Urb-e back to our unit and then reverse the trip when charging is complete. I leave a sign on my dash with a contact phone number so others could reach me if they needed my charging spot.

Rocky_H | May 17, 2016

@kerash.desire, Quote: "It's good to know that the plug gets locked in with the car. Is that only for SCs, though? That capture pro adapter wouldn't be needed if it worked the same way for public chargers."

The Tesla car's charging port locks what is directly plugged into it. So the Tesla Supercharger handle and the Tesla high power wall connector uses the Tesla-specific type of plug that can be locked in by the charging port. While the car is locked, that charging port is locked, and no one can pull that out. But, a public charging station uses a separate kind of handle called J1772. The car comes with an adapter that you clip onto that handle, and then that goes into the car's charging port. Well, the port can only lock onto whatever is in the port, the the adapter will be locked in, but the J1772 handle can be detached, and your adapter will be left sitting in the charge port. That's what the Capture Pro thing is supposed to prevent.

As far as what standards are out there, aside from lots of types of electrical outlets in buildings, here are the charging station standards you will find.
J1772 - This is most slower public charging stations with refill speeds around 20-50ish miles per hour, depending on amps. Adapter for this comes with the car.

CHAdeMO - Fast charging that the Nissan Leaf and a few others use. Tesla sells an adapter for $450 to use this. Charging speeds around 50-150 miles per hour.

CCS - Another fast charging standard used by Chevy and some others. No adapter from Tesla yet.

The website and app of Plugshare.com is your friend. Get to know it to see maps of basically every charging station out there. It is amazing.

kerash.desire | May 18, 2016

According to Google J1772 is Type 1. All the charging stations around me (and I think I've read it's pretty standard all across Europe) are Type 2 (3,7 kW ugh...). The German Tesla website does not list what cables and adapters are shipped with their Model S and there is no store for accessories either.
Adapters and cables seem to be pretty expensive so that's another thing to consider before the car is released. Hopefully they've upgraded the charging stations by then. It would take forever to charge the car at 3,7 kW...

johnse | May 18, 2016

@kerash J1772 is the prevalent Level 2 EVSE here in the US. The same connector can also be used with Level 1 charging. I believe that Europe tends to use the Menneke type 2 connector for Mode 1 and 2 connections. Primary difference between US level 2 and European Mode 2, if I am not mistaken, is that US uses 240v at up to 40 amps whereas European uses three-phase 220 at 16 amps per leg.

bj | May 18, 2016

@Rocky_H - re "I think most J1772 charging handles have a loop that interacts with the lock release, so you can sometimes use a tiny padlock to keep it from being unhooked from your car, but not all of them have that"

The J1772 connector that comes with the Nissan Leaf supplied EVSE has a little hole above the lock release. I bought a little padlock and can insert that into the hole when the connector is plugged into the car, making it impossible for the lock release to disengage hence impossible to remove the connector from the car.

Rocky_H | May 18, 2016

@kerash.desire, Quote: "According to Google J1772 is Type 1. All the charging stations around me (and I think I've read it's pretty standard all across Europe) are Type 2 (3,7 kW ugh...). The German Tesla website does not list what cables and adapters are shipped with their Model S and there is no store for accessories either."

Oh, you are in Europe, sorry, I hadn't even thought of that. That is a whole different thing. The Tesla model that is sold in Europe actually uses a different charge port than the ones sold in North America, precisely because of this standards difference. Tesla actually uses the Type 2 Mennekes plug for the car's charging port in Europe, and that is also the type of handle on the Superchargers in Europe as well. Type 2 doesn't have to mean 3.7kW. Public AC charging stations in Europe go up to 11 or 22kW power levels. I forget what the car has. for much better information about Tesla use and charging in Europe, I highly recommend to go to the Youtube channel for Bjorn Nyland and look up a few of his videos about charging plugs and standards. He is a Tesla owner in Norway who has traveled around much of Europe quite a bit and made many videos of his travels.

Rocky_H | May 18, 2016

Oh, whoops, forgot something. When I said, " I forget what the car has." I meant that I don't know what cables or adapters the European cars come with.

kerash.desire | May 18, 2016

@Rocky_H - Oh, you are in Europe, sorry, I hadn't even thought of that. That is a whole different thing. The Tesla model that is sold in Europe actually uses a different charge port than the ones sold in North America, precisely because of this standards difference. Tesla actually uses the Type 2 Mennekes plug for the car's charging port in Europe, and that is also the type of handle on the Superchargers in Europe as well. Type 2 doesn't have to mean 3.7kW. Public AC charging stations in Europe go up to 11 or 22kW power levels. I forget what the car has. for much better information about Tesla use and charging in Europe, I highly recommend to go to the Youtube channel for Bjorn Nyland and look up a few of his videos about charging plugs and standards. He is a Tesla owner in Norway who has traveled around much of Europe quite a bit and made many videos of his travels.

Oh wow, that is actually great and alleviates my headache about trying to figure out what I'd actually need to charge and how it works.
So even if it doesn't come with a cable or an adapter I'd be able to charge at most places around here by purchasing a relatively cheap Type 2 cable.
As for the 3.7 kW info: I got that from plugsurfing.com but I've since checked other sites and all other sites report 22 kW. That would certainly charge way faster and I wouldn't have to rely on finding a way to charge at home or at work.
Thanks for the info, Rocky_H!

Rocky_H | May 19, 2016

No problem. I don't know any of that from personal experience, but I really love Bjorn Nyland's Tesla videos, so I have learned a lot about the European situation that way.

afestini | May 19, 2016

If you have any CHAdeMO chargers nearby, it might be worth to get the adapter for that. There are some with up to 50kW, which would make them the next best thing after a Supercharger. For example, it seems most ALDIs around Munich have them.

Haggy | May 19, 2016

Gas stations aren't likely to want to undercut their own business with EV charging. That would be like Kodak making digital cameras in a big way, knowing that it could wipe out their film business. It's much better to wait until it's late in the game, try to get a foothold once there are chargers all over the place, and then watch your business fade away because you waited too long.

kerash.desire | May 19, 2016

@Trienco

Thats good to know! That would make it worth it but the Aldi stores with chargers are still a little too far away. Maybe they'll expand in the near future, though!

topher | May 19, 2016

Gas stations are going to want to diversify their business. Gas is a low margin item, and supplementing it with other products are the only way to survive in such a volatile commodity. Car charging is a great addition if customers have something to keep them busy while the charge is going on, or for charging overnight. The gas business is going away eventually, the choice is to be flexible, or to go out of business. That simple.

Thank you kindly.

afestini | May 19, 2016

@kerash.desire
Mine aren't too conveniently located either, but at least it would just be a minor detour on my daily commute. I'm somewhat counting on the development over the next few years (not expecting the Model 3 over here before mid to end of 2019, probably even later...).

bj | May 20, 2016

Does anyone know how petrol/gas stations are faring in Norway and what the industry response has been, if any? In 2015, one-third of all new car sales in Norway were BEVs or PHEVs. Over 2% of the national car fleet in Norway is now BEV/PHEV - the highest in the world. In some cities in Norway the percentage must be much higher than that.

So Norway is the canary in the coal mine (heh) - a nationwide 2% drop in business is the leading edge of the whole petrol/gas station business model declining, and you'd think by now the first casualties have already occurred.