An electric vehicle being recharged. There are ways to avoid short-circuiting the tempers of fellow electric-vehicle drivers. Picture: SUPPLIED
An electric vehicle being recharged. There are ways to avoid short-circuiting the tempers of fellow electric-vehicle drivers. Picture: SUPPLIED

Electric vehicle (EV) sales are just a trickle for now, but as combustion engines gradually give way to battery-powered cars over the coming years, it will create the need for new social etiquette rules about public charging.

As maker of the I-Pace electric SUV, which has won the World Car of the Year and SA Car of the Year titles, Jaguar has come up with basic tips for charging EVs in a well-mannered way.

The sooner some basic ground rules are laid, the smoother the experience will be for those who drive EVs as well as those who drive traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, says the British carmaker.

While SA EV drivers will primarily charge at home where the topping-up process is most convenient and cost effective, it’s inevitable that the country’s growing network of public chargers, such as the Jaguar Powerway, will experience increasing traffic as more electric vehicles come to market.

Don’t spot-squat

The first rule in public EV charging is never to occupy a station’s parking bay if your car isn’t charging.

Most EVs, including the Jaguar I-Pace, offer handy phone apps to remotely monitor charge levels. Keep an eye on your car’s battery level, and politely move it to another traditional bay when sufficiently charged to make space for the next EV to arrive.

Don’t prolong the charge process by unnecessarily waiting until your car is brimmed to 100% if not needed. If you do not need maximum range to get to your next destination, it would be courteous to unplug and vacate the bay when your car is charged to a comfortable enough level to reach the next destination.

ICE-ing is a thing

As many of the public charging stations in SA are, and will continue to be, positioned in premium locations such as near mall entrances or close to other points of interest, the temptation to steal these convenient spaces will be strong for non-EV drivers.

If your vehicle has an ICE and occupies a charging bay reserved for EVs, it can be very frustrating for EV drivers in need of urgent top-ups.

Overseas, in countries where EVs are becoming more prevalent, the terms “ICE-ing” or “getting ICEd” have been adopted for the inconsiderate art of parking normal cars in EV bays. ICE vehicle drivers are urged not to park in dedicated EV bays, even for very short times, no matter how unlikely the arrival of an EV may be.

Keep it tidy

Unlike full-service petrol and diesel filling stations in SA, EV charging will be performed by owners and drivers themselves, so the responsibility of keeping each site in tip-top condition lies with them.

Put the charge connector back in its receptacle and hang the cable as neatly as possible on its hooks when you have finished charging. A cable and connector left on the floor can pose a tripping risk for pedestrians and could lead to unnecessary wear and tear. Charge cables are designed to be incredibly tough and weatherproof, but are not intended to be repeatedly driven over by cars or exposed to elements on the ground.

Just like public bathrooms, leave EV charging bays like you’d like to find them.

Plan ahead

All public charging stations within the Jaguar Powerway network, whether at Sandton City or in Beaufort West, can be viewed remotely via live maps on the Jaguar.co.za or Gridcars.net websites.

The live map displays the entire network of supported public charging stations and indicates the status of each, including if it’s online, offline or in use. The map also shows the time and date of the station’s last successful use, as well as a tally of that particular station’s total charge sessions to date.

Avoid log jams at public chargers by viewing in real time if another car is charging at your next destination and consider altering your trip to make use of an alternative public charger if it’s occupied.