Motorway charging queue

Etiquette authority Debrett's now has official advice for electric car drivers

Including proper manners at public charging stations

Queues at electric car charging stations aren’t the norm but any EV driver who has faced a long wait at the motorway services before being able to plug in knows that it can be a bun fight. Fortunately Debrett’s has updated its official tome on etiquette to address just such a scenario.

A “record keeper and chronicler of British society since 1769”, Debrett’s is considered the authority on modern manners and advises on matters relating to protocol, precedence, etiquette and behaviour. 

Its A to Z of Modern Manners, which the organisation describes as “an indispensable introduction to the bewildering world of contemporary conduct,”  has been updated and reissued with advice on very 21st century dilemmas, such as online dating and use of hashtags, as well as how to deal with the likes of oversharing, manspreading and virtue signalling. Of course, it also has refreshed views on the likes of sending out invitations and devising seating plans.

Debretts A to Z of Modern Manners

For drivers of electric cars there’s also a very clear message in an all-new part of the book: be polite.

“Our UK roads are being transformed by the electric vehicle revolution and it is imperative that behaviour and etiquette are modified to accommodate these changes,” says the guide.

“Queues at charging stations should be orderly; make sure you are following specific rules relating to queuing protocol and that your car is neatly parked in designated bays and not blocking other cars.

“You should never jump the queue; however, you can discreetly check the charging point to see how long a car still has left to fully charge and you may be able to politely negotiate with another driver using the bay – they might have sufficient charge to move on.”

Debrett’s also believes that at crowded charging stations, allowing those who only need a quick top-up to go ahead of you is courteous.

And importantly, drivers should: “Note how long it will take you to reach your desired charge level and ensure that you are back at your vehicle as, or shortly after, charging is complete, so you are minimising inconvenience to fellow motorists.”

Although it’s not mentioned by Debrett’s, many experienced EV drivers might add to this section that rapid charging should only be to 80 per cent of the battery’s capacity, as the speed of charging slows significantly after that point.

Ohme Home Charger with VW ID.Buzz

Debrett’s has advice for those charging at home or somebody else’s house, too. For one, ensuring that cables do not create a trip hazard, it says. But when it comes to asking to plug in at a friend or relative’s house, good manners involve not marching in brandishing your cable and demanding to know the whereabouts of the nearest power socket. Instead, EV drivers should, “Ask your host politely if they would mind you using their socket to charge your vehicle and meticulously follow their requests and instructions about where to park.”

Again, we might add that you should make sure the socket is capable of delivering a high-voltage charge for an extended period, too — you wouldn’t want the embarrassment of tripping the fusebox, or even worse causing a fire. Burning down your acquaintance’s home would be the height of bad manners.

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