By Jonathan Marshall
New technology often brings with it new challenges for social etiquette—from texting under the table in business meetings to deciding which acquaintances to exclude from your “friends” list in Facebook.
Now, just in time for buyers of new electric vehicles, Ford Motor Co. has released a handy set of social rules for charging your car without making a nuisance of yourself.
Ford’s list of dos and don’ts comes in response to customer demand—or more precisely, the concerns of one important customer: Todd Woody, a tech writer for Forbes magazine and driver of a Ford Focus Electric.
This spring, Woody received a text alert that his car “had an accidental unplug” at a Berkeley garage, the only public charging spot in town. Turned out another EV owner had yanked the plug to charge his own vehicle, a Coda Automotive sedan, thinking that Woody’s car had had finished juicing up. Not cool.
Woody warned readers to “expect more parking lot rage as drivers vie for the few available public electric vehicle charging spots.” He also complained about “parking spots reserved for electric cars in San Rafael in Marin County that were occupied by gas-guzzlers, including a BMW blocking an electric car charger in an otherwise nearly empty parking garage on a Sunday afternoon.”
As part of its contribution to National Plug-In Day last month, Ford responded with a colorful chart of etiquette tips (see below), reminding drivers only to park in charging spots if they need to, to place the plug cord where it won’t cause trip hazards, to move out of the charging spot when you are finished, and, of course, not to unplug someone else unless you know they are fully charged.
At the end of the day, all of that seems like common sense. Most etiquette is. If you misplace the Ford tips, just go by the Golden Rule—do unto others as you would have them do unto you—and you can charge up in good conscience.
Email Jonathan Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.