Charging Protocol: One Anecdotal Solution

Charging Protocol: One Anecdotal Solution

There was a recent thread (long) on the protocol of leaving one's car plugged in at an airport. I'm not sure whether there were any conclusions drawn, but there seemed to be a split between the subsistence-charger (don't take more than you can eat) and those who felt that chargers were first-come-first served. I don't want to restart that thread. What I wanted to do was share my experience from yesterday evening.

I drove out to Stone Brewery knowing that they have 2 EV charging spots. One was occupied by a white LEAF and the other unoccupied. I pulled out my trusty J1772 adapter, plugged in, and went inside for dinner. After I sat down, I opened my PlugShare app, checked in, and noted about how long I would be so that if anyone needed the spot, they could let me know.

When I got back to the car, I saw this:

So, I unplugged, moved the cable over and plugged it into the open charge port of the black LEAF. It is one solution to sharing chargers when there are more EVs than places to plug them in. This was a very pleasant experience because whoever wrote this note put an exact duplicate on both my Tesla and the white LEAF still parked next to me.

There are times when reacting to someone else's need for a charge is impractical -- like when you're plugged in and have traveled to a different continent -- but for common cases, a short-term tech solution exists in PlugShare and the low-tech solution on scraps of paper and a "thank you". | July 23, 2013


Cool story and nice to see a thread without cudgels involved. :)


PS Love Stone Brewery

EclecticCitizen | July 23, 2013

Leaving notes is simple and practical for many situations. I keep a typed up note in a plastic sleeve that states "If you need a charge or notice something wrong with my car, please call or text me" and my number and first name below. When I'm charging, I try to remember to put the sign on my dash where it is visible.

I left my car to charge at the mall recently with the sign on the dash. A fellow Model S owner was in desperate need of a charge to get home. He texted me, I unlocked the car with the app so he could unplug the connector, then I relocked it. I got enough charge for my non-urgent need, but he was able to get a much needed power-up to make it home.

It does take a certain amount of trust to unlock your car for a stranger, but I'd rather go out on that limb to help someone in need than to live in fear ignore another's plight.

tobi_ger | July 23, 2013

But it could have been *anyone* calling you after seeing your note, you were lucky.

ppape | July 23, 2013

+1 sxross.. Good experience. We had one very similar as well in SD. A Ford Focus EV, left his business card on our Model S asking to be plugged in when we are done. I texted him when we plugged him in.

+1 EclecticCitizen.... I agree, I would also go out on that limb.

tobi.....if it was just "anyone" what could they do? They can't drive have the key. Unless you left cash or valuables laying out on your seats, unlocking your car is a low risk in my opinion, but highly beneficial to another Model S owner in need. You can also monitor on your app and figure out pretty quickly if your car was moving. And if they plan to 'do harm', they likely wouldn't call you since you'd then have their number.....

Just sayin...

tobi_ger | July 23, 2013

In the moment you may not remember what you left in the car and of course noone wants any of their belongings taken by potential thiefs, that spy out parking places. Just saying.

jbunn | July 23, 2013

I've done it, and had it done to me. Very kind and sensible thing to do, although I set off a Volt or something, plugging it in (see below)

Did see a silly note. Said "this car should be done by 3:30"

That was cool, except it was 7:00. So AM? PM? What if there is a problem?

Also seen some that say we'll be done in 3 hours. That's good, but you did not include the time you wrote the note.

Best to get good information, or your phone number. I do consider it my electric vehicle duty to plug the next guy in (see Volt story, above). Wish Chargepoint stations had a tiny chalkboard attached.

JZ13 | July 23, 2013

These are great stories but probably only work for free chargers. In So Cal most are blink or chargepoint stations that require you to swipe your card. I'm ok swiping my card for someone else at a free station but most people aren't going to pay for someone else's charge.

jbunn | July 23, 2013

These were Blink, but in this part of the city they are free chargers, so no issue.

EclecticCitizen | July 23, 2013

I did have the added reassurance that I received a call from the Tesla showroom employees telling me that another driver was looking to plug in. Had they not been there and verified the other owner, I would have been more apprehensive, but still would have done it. I was headed back there soon anyway so I could check on it. The other driver knew info that owners typically only know about regarding the app abilities etc, so seemed legit. I never leave valuables in my car, so that was less of a concern than just a curious and bold stranger maybe tricking me into letting them check out my interior. Their's security cameras in the garage, plus I have a dash cam, so their would be evidence for any vandalism or damage.

Treat others the way you want to be treated, right?

I wish more owners would leave contact info on the dash too. There's been times I really wanted to charge and it would help to at least be able to ask when they anticipated unplugging.

tobi_ger | July 23, 2013

How about putting a "parking disc" to indicate arrival time so others can guestimate your return at least.

DarrellH | August 22, 2013

Check out the EV Charger Protocol webpage and card at

Brian H | August 22, 2013

their's security cameras -- there're

jbunn | August 22, 2013

Man, that's vintage! Isn't that a an EV1 in the picture?

bsimoes | August 22, 2013

I can't imagine that the person who called ElectricCitizen would have thought that he would just unlock the car remotely. More likely, he would have expected the owner to come out to disengage the charging equipment, so to call because you want to break in or check out the car would be unlikely. Maybe I'm naive, but I try to believe that most people's motives are pure.