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The unspoken rules of EV ownership.

A local guide to navigating the etiquette, culture and conventions of electric vehicles.

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Electric vehicle (EV) numbers are growing rapidly and the statistics show that most Australians will consider an EV when buying their next car^. This means that if you’re not an early owner of an EV, you might be within the next few years^. With so many fresh faces in the EV space, paired with ground-breaking technology that is new to many of us, it’s an exciting moment in our transport evolution. From charging etiquette, to how to be a considerate member of the capital region EV community, our local team have put together what they believe to be the unspoken rules of EV ownership—so you can hit the ground running.

Ensure the power to charge up.

Most EV owners do the majority of their charging at home overnight, waking up to a ‘full tank’ every morning—no fuel station required. That being said, public EV charging stations are still an important aspect of EV ownership. If you’ve ever heard an EV owner talk about the frustration of ‘ICEing’ or ‘camping’, they’re probably not talking about their latest holiday. ‘ICEing’ refers to when an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle (a petrol or diesel-powered car) parks in a spot intended for EV charging. Although one less parking spot seems insignificant, restricting the use of an EV charger is not. Depending on the location of the charger and if the EV driver is opportunity charging or necessity charging, the effect of ICEing can range from mild inconvenience, to major problem. The same issue can occur when an EV stays parked in a charging spot, even after their charging session is complete—known as ‘camping’. 

Although there are currently no laws in place to combat this, ActewAGL is working with our EV charging partners to develop technologies that would identify and prevent charger blockages like these, and create the ability to unlock chargers remotely, enabling streamlined charger sharing. Until then, what is the etiquette to make sure you’re not ICEing or camping?

For EV drivers:

  • If you’re charging at work, don’t plan to charge on a day that you’re in back-to-back meetings and won’t be able to move your car.

  • If you’re charging while out and about, enjoy your coffee across the road, but be mindful that someone may be waiting for your charging spot.

  • Don’t leave your car charging for longer than you need to—especially when charging at hotels, highways or rural locations, where necessity charging may be more likely. Keep in mind as well, most EV manufacturers only recommend charging to 80%, unless you’re taking a longer road trip.

  • Take the pressure off. If you’re on a longer trip, choose to charge up at the second-last EV charger in your journey, rather than the very last one—just to be safe.

  • Switch on to what kind of charger you’re using. A Level 3 charger, also known as a Fast Charger, will charge your EV in 4–60 minutes. If you’re using a less-powerful charger, you’ll have more time to shop, eat or catch a movie while you power up.

For ICE drivers:

  • As we see more EV charging locations pop up throughout the capital region, always check the signs around you to ensure you’re not mistakenly parked in front of a charger.

Finally, for both drivers, it may be tempting to park in an ‘EV Charging Only’ spot when the carpark is full, but it’s important to leave the parking spots for parking, and the charging spots for charging.

Part of the EV community.

There’s no denying that the capital region EV community is engaged, knowledgeable, considerate and best of all, growing rapidly. Making the most of the community, and actively participating yourself, will mean that you make the most of your EV as well. If you’re unsure where to find a charger for your specific EV’s requirements, you can find chargers nearby, pay for charging sessions online and access 24/7 assistance via the Evie Networks Charging app.

If you notice that a charger is under maintenance, it seems to be charging slowly or there’s something about the location that may affect someone’s ability to charge safely and effectively, post it up on PlugShare or contact the charging network provider to let them know. Not only could that mean saving someone the time and frustration of a sub-par experience, or increase the likelihood of the charger being fixed quickly, it’s also a great opportunity to share the best locations to power up. If the charger is close to great coffee, shopping centre or other amenities to bide your time, that’s useful information too—and it’ll only take a minute to post. If you found this intel helpful, it’s most likely that the rest of the EV community will too, and it’s important to repay the favour.

Maintain the energy with friends and family.

If you’re on a longer trip to visit friends or family, it’s inevitable (just like a petrol car) that you’ll need to top up your charge somewhere along the way. So, instead of a public charger, consider if you could pay your friends and family to charge up at their house instead. If you plugged in your EV to a standard residential power socket for 10 hours overnight, you could top up your EV with up to 100 kms of driving power—all for around the price of a cup of coffee. It’s convenient and it’s also a great conversation-starter to demonstrate and share how inexpensive EV charging can be. Like most, your friends will be surprised!

Safety first.

EVs, sometimes described as ‘technology on wheels’, are designed for safety. With a lower centre of gravity, they don’t roll as easily, they don’t include any flammable liquids and it’s impossible to unplug one while it’s charging. Some EV owners choose to leave a note with their phone number, in case somebody needs the charger urgently. As more people are on the road, this has taken the form of custom, hotel-style door hangers and the NeedToCharge app, which may allow you to get in contact with the owner of the EV on charge.

Maintain good charging habits by always hanging up the EV charging plug and cable once you’re done. This protects the charger from incurring any additional or unnecessary damage, keeps the plug dry and also means it’s ready to go for the next person.

Future-focused transport solutions.

We’re confident in the power of EVs for the capital region and beyond. We’re developing technology to make your EV charging experience a positive one, every time, and our recent partnership with national charging network provider, Evie Networks, is bringing several new charging locations to the capital region. Part of the world-first Realising Electric Vehicles-to-Grid Services (REVS) project, we’re also focused on the future of our energy and transport for applications such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G).

The first step to a fully integrated energy ecosystem is solar, and more than 30,000 ACT homes and small businesses are already utilising the sun rays to power their day. Charge your EV with solar power and you can also have peace of mind that your drive is 100% carbon neutral—and that’s courtesy to our environment, too. If you’re looking to take the next step and enjoy the perks of your own EV charger at your home or work, we’ve got you covered.

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Read more about a custom EV charger installation that’s right there, right when you need it.

Learn more.

Vehicle-to-grid technology is creating a more stable and reliable grid, and allowing you to maximise your energy investments. So, how does it work?

What is V2G?

Learn the difference between a Fast Charger and a Rapid Charger or how to register to use our charging network?

Read our EV FAQs.

Switch on to an energy plan designed for EV owners and you could unlock 4000 km of free drive time*.

The EVolve plan.
References

^Electric Vehicle Council

*4000km of electric vehicle charging is calculated based on a medium-sized electric vehicle, with approximate efficiency of 6km/kWh charging at ActewAGL residential off-peak time-of use rates, consuming 650 kWh per year. Free charging is in the form of a $156 credit per year applied evenly to each quarterly electricity bill.

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