plugshare etiquette

plugshare etiquette

I am new to EV. I have never driven EV before test driving S60 and now eagerly awaiting the arrival of my S85 in July.

As many others in similar wait state I am spending a lot of time on these forums looking for road trip suggestions, charging tips, etc.

To my positive surprise I discovered a lot of nice people that are willing to share their chargers to help travelers in need.

My question is on the appropriate etiquette. I live in Brooklyn, NY and if someone wants to charge the car in my driveway they can walk or use public transport to go about their business while their car is charging. How does that work in suburbs? Charging most likely takes an hour or more so do I hang around the strangers' house during that time? Do I bring food, wine other gifts ? What do people do in these cases?

Red Rover | May 25, 2014

I'll drive, you take me to lunch.

hanstremblay | May 25, 2014

Good question amatiych, also asked myself about it.

Brian H | May 26, 2014

Sit around the kitchen table over coffee, shoot the Tesla breeze, congratulate each other, plot the overthrow of ICE culture, etc. The time flies. Or, as the frog said contentedly to a friend on the next lily pad, also zapping a cloud of bugs, "Time's sure fun when you're having flies!" (Animal Crackers classic.)

BrassGuy | May 26, 2014

Just look at it from the opposite perspective. If somebody needed to use my shared plug, I wouldn't expect or hope for a goody bag. I shared my plug to help promote EV adoption, not to get stuff. I'd be happy just to share a few stories. Maybe offer a couple bucks for the juice, but even at our .17/kWh it'd take over 3 hours to add up to $5 on my 14-50. I'd offer energy money, but as a host I might refuse it.

Disclaimer: I've never used a plugshare, and nobody's used mine yet.

Red Sage ca us | May 26, 2014

I think I saw an article somewhere that said that proper etiquette was to at least make an offer... Cash, fruit, wine, Lakers tickets... But honestly, I think most people think of it the same as BrassGuy. I know I do.

Thomas N. | May 26, 2014

Lakers tickets? What if they used over $5 of electricity? You'd need to better compensate them than that.

Red Sage ca us | May 26, 2014

TN: Precisely.

Doug H | May 26, 2014

I've driven 43,000 miles in my MS60 over the past 11 months. I've used Plugshare, charging in several members garages in IN, OH, PA, & KY. I also post my HPWC at my warehouse on plugshare. In most cases, I was invited in, offered refreshments, and engaged in conversation for the duration of the 1-2 hour charge.

On my first Plugshare, in Ohio with my wife and twin daughters, I took the hosts out to dinner. When the Plugshare was with a business, they offered me office space and Wifi access. In a later Ohio trip (Oberlin) the business owner, as Tesla owner, dropped me off in downtown Oberlin at a coffee shop and picked me up when my car was done charging.

I guess it all depends on the situation. Hosts have been very gracious and in most cases indicate to you the extent to which you may interrupt their normal course of things. In the case of the first host, in Ohio, he suggested we go out to eat and told us not to feel obligated to pick up the check (I did). In another case, the host was very busy and just had his secretary show me some space and give me wifi access. In Indiana, the host simply left his garage door opened, I drove in, used the charger, and left when I was done.

amatiych | May 26, 2014

It's not about compensation. Offering five bucks would seem insulting for me. However, I would not show up at atranger's house without some token of appreciation. The more important question for me is Time. If only on person or a couple shows up the you can sit at kitchen table but what if you come with two kids and may be a pet? Can someone share their real world weriemce of sharing their plug or using other people's plugs.

stevenmaifert | May 26, 2014

For sure offer to pay for the electricity. Model S will meter how many kWhs you take.

AmpedRealtor | May 26, 2014

Before Tesla built a supercharger here in Buckeye, I offered charges to Model S owners. I set up a guest wifi network and snaked the cable out from under the garage door. Owners would simply back up my driveway and plug in, working on wifi while the car charged. I wasn't home during most of these visits.

mantin | May 26, 2014

I used my dtr's neighbor's 14-50 40 am 240 volt garage circuit to charge twice, in San Diego. I gave him a bottle of wine the first trip and a pair of my handmade lanyards (as luggage markers) on the 2nd. Now that San Juan Capistrano is open, I won't enjoy his garage anymore, but he was sure nice and lots of good stories. A very fun experience.

amatiych | May 26, 2014

@AmpedRealtor. Good for you! Great to hear such stories.

sklancha | May 29, 2014

This is the thread I was hoping to find, though not exactly the Plug Share etiquette question that I have.

I've only owned my Tesla for 2 1/2 weeks, but have put 1400 miles on it already, and am hellbent on making this my one and only vehicle AND minimizing how often I have to charge at home (as I am in a rental with limited privvy).

I love hearing the stories about people offering up their private access resources to Tesla brethren. As a novice student of the EV system, I am very intentionally trying to expose myself to various charging opportunities/scenarios while I have the luxury of plenty of charge available- in order to feel comfortable with extending my travel plans during the summer.

Several snags have occurred that I am hoping some of you can help me with:

1. There are no superchargers [yet] in my typical driving vicinity, so I am diligently trying to learn about alternate free resources available. I am not sure which apps are the most useful/reliable and/or if there are any apps that will also provide directions once a charge location is selected. After driving around for 40 minutes near Universal Studios in Orlando- and learning that the first to EV charge stations close to my hotel charged and arm and leg- and after settling for a location 0.8 miles away (pleasant walk and close enough for comfort)... I returned to the hotel and pulled up a different app, that showed another free charge station 0.2 miles (a little over one block) away was available. WHAT ARE THE BEST APPS OUT THERE AND WHY? I live near Tampa FL, and frequently travel within the tricounty area, to Dayton OH, Savannah GA, Memphis TN, and Jacksonville, FL.

2. I did not have range anxiety until this week, where I have had 3 separate occasions where ICE cars were parked in the clearly marked EV charging station only locations. One of them was at a hotel- and when I brought this to the attention of their security personnel- they essentially said they would not force the person to move if they had a hotel parking permit displayed on their dashboard... he even went on to question MY authority to park there, since I was not a guest at that particular hotel! Another incident was at a college a few miles from my work, in which 5 of the 6 designated charging spots were filled with ICE cars. I was able to use the remaining spot- but it definitely was cause for concern. The third situation, the app (can't remember if it was PlugShare or ChargePoint), stated that their were spots available, but when I went there, cars were in the spots and connected to the chargers.

3. What is the proper etiquette if an electric vehicle is finished charging but remains in the spot and/or connected to the charging station?

4. Is there an app that can help design a trip plan that does not have superchargers in the path?

5. Is there any other lessons learned or other advice that can help me become an all-electric, anxiety free high-mileage, Tesla-endorsing non-novice?

dilbert | May 30, 2014

@sklancha - Good luck! Personally, I wouldn't own an EV without at home, overnight charging. BTW, what do you mean by "limited privy"?

sklancha | May 30, 2014

The owners of the house have been extremely resistant to ANY requests I've made to do ANYTHING to their house- paint the interior, upgrade the blinds, pressure wash the house... all declined. It took 6 months of jumping through hoops for them to approve placement of handicap safety rails in the bathroom that my doctor ordered after a fall, and even then they only approved it for one bathroom. Anyways, given the history, I opted to not ask for permission to install the 14-50 outlet that I had installed. Since it is an illegally acquired privilege that the owners are likely to have me remove (IF they ever find out), I am trying to develop my charging habits that minimizes dependency on the home charging scenario.

Right now, I actually enjoy this learning venture. I also just recently learned that the Supercharging station scheduled to be built here in the Tampa area is perfectly located in my routine travel path, which is awesome.

But- back to the questions at hand, since I intend to do a fair amount of distance traveling- I really do need to get in the comfort zone of finding/using/understanding policies and regulations regarding nonTesla public charging stations.

amatiych | May 30, 2014

This link was posted in the TIPS thread. It talks about public EV charging etiquette.

sklancha | May 30, 2014

@amatiych- that was VERY helpful, thanks :)

I am only a little disappointed with the ICE etiquette recommendations/comments. I don't know if it is a common problem- or if I just ran into a random flurry of rogue ICE vehicles opting to park where I planned to charge. Is getting ICEd a legal or courtesy issue? It is not illegal to have poor etiquette.

It was particularly helpful to know that it would not have been considered rude to unplug a car that was finished charging (using proper etiquette, of course).

AndreyATC | May 30, 2014

I only used shared plug once
The family was very nice and accommodating
They refused the money, but happily took a bottle of Malbec from me
Car charged 3hrs on their HPWC, while i was visiting my friends few miles away

The other guy who i had arrangements with didnt mind $5 for charging
I just never made it there

Red Sage ca us | May 30, 2014

Having grown up in the middle of absolute nowhere rural America, I know that members of my Family have routinely stopped to offer assistance to people who had car trouble or ran out of gas. If someone were walking, and we knew it was six or seven miles to the nearest town, we'd offer them a ride. It was just how things were done in the community, because people there just knew that they 'had been there' before. People just pay it forward. The presumption is that if you are in the position to help, do it. Life will aid you with someone to help you, should the need arise.

Rocky_H | May 30, 2014

I got the first call from my Plugshare listing and have a Tesla traveler coming by to visit tomorrow. I am quite excited.

Bighorn | May 30, 2014

A Wyomingite per chance?

amatiych | May 30, 2014

@Red Sage. Great point.

Brian H | May 31, 2014

Reminds me of my epic low-budget trip from Vanc. to Toronto, late Sept. - early Oct. in late '60s, on a Kawasaki 175 2-cycle. Had only previously run a Suzuki 80 4-cycle, with its separate oil tank. The bike was under-performing, and as I reached the Kootenays, at about 2000' altitude, the bike died and I slept in my (thin) bag in a frosty ditch. A farmer took pity, and trucked me and my bike to a "4-cycle" shop in the nearby small town. There, mechanics loaned me tools to pop the cylinder head. The first glimpse of the black goo in the piston enlightened me: I'd been using my old ratio of a pint instead of a cup per gallon (direct mix). I removed the piston ring, rinsed all with gas, (especially the spark plug), managed to recycle the piston down, closed the engine, and was off. Suddenly, 75 mph uphill on the steepest grade was no problem!

Neither the farmer nor the mechanics wanted payment. They'd seen young inexperienced guys on a steep and parlous learning curve before!

RonaldA | May 31, 2014

I enjoy having people charge at my home. I offer a a refreshment and a place to sit or work with guest wifi available. I've had guests take advantage of this I have also had some leave the car and go to planned events visit with friends in the area, even had one go to a wedding. I ask no reimbursement but if they stay enjoy some conversation. If they leave I ask to have the key left in case I need to move the car. Thus far I have been left fresh vegetables from a garden, beer, wine, and even a nice new stethoscope! I am happy to provide the service in an effort to change the transportation world and support the early adopters.


DLebryk | May 31, 2014

Thank you for asking this question. I've wondered myself. Next week I'll use a home charger listed on Plugshare. There just aren't any other options in this city.

Something you should think about - not everybody drinks - assuming beer or wine is the right gift, might not be a great assumption. You might want to ask before you bring.

I like the idea of fresh vegetables, or some token from your home city.

J.T. | June 1, 2014

@DLebryk Something you should think about - not everybody drinks - assuming beer or wine is the right gift, might not be a great assumption. You might want to ask before you bring

The Model S has changed the way a lot of people think about things, however, let's not overthink it. It IS the thought that counts, and you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. So, any offering that shows appreciation, suitable or not, would be appropriate.

The thing is, if you ask before you come I don't know anyone who will actually request something.

Rocky_H | June 2, 2014

@Bighorn, nope, not Wyoming--Washington, and I think they mentioned Seattle area. They were traveling to Salt Lake City. The area through Eastern Oregon and Idaho is a little rough for charging, and this was their first time doing this trip in the Model S and first time using people's chargers on Plugshare because other trips were into California and had used Superchargers. I have a 14-50 in Boise, and they were staying in Twin Falls that night, so they needed to get a few hours of charging in. (Side note for travel on I-84--they made it from their stay in Pendleton, OR to my house in Boise in one shot, but it was a little close.) We went out to an Irish pub in town and had some great food and conversation. They paid for the lunch and parking downtown.

On the topic of gift etiquette, since we went out to eat, there was kind of the obvious opportunity to offer a thank you gift there, but that's probably more interaction than most Plugshare connections do. I heard a good suggestion from another thread here on the forum I think where someone keeps some $5 Starbucks gift cards in the car to give to Plugshare hosts. It's nice and doesn't feel too awkward from being too pricey of a gift.

amatiych | June 2, 2014

I like Starbucks card idea.

J.T. | June 2, 2014

The best thing about the gift card idea is that they won't know you've only given them a buck fifty until you're long gone. :-)