Electric car charging etiquette

Charging an electric car can in some cases require much more planning than filling up an internal combustion engine, known as an ICE vehicle. For the lucky ones among us, home charge points can be installed. But for many, relying on the UK’s public charging network is the only option.

This might come like second nature. You plan your journey, find a charge point and away you go after a short break and a cuppa. But for others, charging on the go is a completely new concept and one with a few unwritten rules.

So, listen up ICE and EV drivers! Yes – ICE drivers we’re talking to you to. We’ve compiled some golden rules for charging on the go – helping EV drivers to charge efficiently and with minimal stress.

1. EV charge points are for electric cars only

Non-EV drivers parking in bays for charging is one of the biggest pain points for EV drivers.

Charging stations should only be used for drivers who genuinely need to charge their electric car. Plug in hybrids (PHEVs) can also use these services.


💡 Parking an ICE vehicle in a charge bay is known as ICEing – this has happened to a few elmo staff in their EVs and let’s just say they were less than impressed.

2. Don’t hog that bay

EV drivers should be mindful that there might be someone else waiting to charge. Unplug and move on as soon as you’re charged enough to complete your journey – do you really need a full charge to complete? After all, sharing is caring. 

Some charge points with Apps will let you keep track of your charging from the comfort of your coffee shop. Otherwise, make sure to check back on your car – it’s inconsiderate to take up the spot for hours whilst you have a shop or get a bite to eat. EV bays are for charging, not parking. 


💡 Some charging bays have specified time limits, with fines applied if drivers exceed their limit – however the majority are unmonitored. This leaves the onus on the general public.

3. Don’t unplug 

Tempting as it may be, it’s generally best practice not to unplug another EV so you can plug in your own. Regardless of how long the electric car has been charging, it isn’t your car. There is some debate about this on the internet, and there are however a few instances where it may be acceptable to unplug – such as if a driver has left a note. Basically, use your initiative.


💡 In most cases, it’s actually impossible to unplug once charging is underway as there are locking mechanisms in place.  However, some early EVs with Type 1 connectors do not have this safety feature.  

4. Help others

Range anxiety is a real thing, with many newcomers still unsure about how far their car will go on a single charge. Be kind, help others. For some, it might be the first time they’ve charged on the go and may need some help getting started.

5. Plan ahead

Long distance journeys in an electric car usually requires some planning. Make use of apps such as Zap-Map to see which charge points are located on your route. You can even see which are currently in use, to help you avoid waiting. Check out our other article where we present some of the best EV apps.


💡 Top tip from the team at elmo… Don’t wait until you’re on 10% to find a charger! Allow extra time, just incase there are queues or any issues with the charging points. 

6. Respect the queue 

Even though there are now more charge points in the UK, then petrol/diesel stations, you may have to queue to get charged up. Unfortunately, many charge points aren’t equipped for this, so electric cars can end up in disorganised queues. Be polite, wait your turn and try to queue in an orderly fashion without blocking the road for other drivers.

For those who are already charging but notice a long queue behind them – make sure to unplug as soon as you are done. Letting the next driver know how long you’ll be will also make for a more pleasant experience for everyone.

7. Care for the connectors

Be considerate to the connector! Once you’re finished charging, make sure to hang or reconnect the charger to the unit – don’t just leave this hanging on the floor where it could get damaged.

8. Leave no trace

This goes without saying, but please treat the charging station with respect. Don’t drop litter whilst you’re waiting for your car to charge – take it away with you or use the bins provided. Let’s make sure the next driver has a pleasant experience too.


So there you have it. Our whistle-stop guide to charging on the go. Follow these rules and you and others around you will have a more pleasant experience.

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