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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all! Considering getting a 2017 Chevy bolt but have a question about proper etiquette when using free 240 volt chargers. we have a few free stations nearby and I was wondering if it's okay to leave the car for 7 to 8 hours to charge. I rarely see cars in these charging stations but I wonder if that's proper etiquette or are these only supposed to be used to charge like an hour at a time. We only have 110v at our house so I wondered about using these free chargers until I get 240 volts set up at my house. Does this become okay to do every couple of days or is this obnoxious?

Thanks all!
 

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The chargers are there to charger cars. They are not in place to create reserved parking spots for EVs. So, if your car needs 7-8 hours to charge, then I think it is ok to leave there for 7-8 hours. But, the moment it is done you have to move the car. Also, if the charger does start to get crowded, then let the car charge until it needs to be charged, not until it is fully charged, so you are spending as little time as possible and allowing more people to charge their cars.
 

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Free chargers are often there to attract customers. Don't abuse it.

If you charge after business hours, promptly move your car when done, and only use it when you need it, in the short term it could be a good solution.

Depending on your daily need, 120V charging may be ok. It will generally add 50-60 miles of range nightly on 12A. Maybe use 120V at home, and use the free chargers when you start falling behind.
 

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It really depends on where the charger is located, and who installed it.

I have a friend with a Chevy Volt. He lives in a townhouse which is across a parking lot from a hotel. The hotel had two "free" chargers on the edge of the parking lot. My friend would park his car there in the evening and walk home. After a couple months, someone at the hotel figured out what was going on and left a note on his windshield that the chargers were for hotel guests only.

A Whole Foods in my town has a couple of "free" EV chargers in the adjacent parking garage. They are clearly intended for the convenience of people who are shopping in the store. Question is whether anyone is paying attention to who is using them. My guess is that if they noticed the same car parked there for several hours every day or every few days, they might object. In my view, using them in the evening when the store is closed is less objectionable than using them during store hours. In that case you're only taking electricity (which the store is probably paying for), and not blocking shoppers from the chargers.

If the chargers are installed/owned by your municipality, then IMHO they're fair game - especially during the evening. But it's always courteous to move elsewhere when you're done charging, so you're not blocking someone else who could use the charger.

I was at a local university for a high school debate tournament. They had several garages around the campus which each had two Level 2 charges in the garage. During the week, you had to pay to use the garage. There was no extra payment required for using the EV chargers. (And on the weekends there was no charge for using the garage.) During the three days I was there, I did notice one PHEV that was always parked at one of the chargers (and not charging). I'm guessing it was a professor who had assumed ownership of that parking space. It was a bit annoying, because it meant that when I parked in the adjacent space to charge my Bolt, then both chargers were effectively blocked in that garage.

Outside California, we're living in a time now when there is not a lot of competition for public chargers. I believe that's going to change over the next few years as more people adopt BEVs. It will become increasingly likely that a charger will be in use when you arrive.
 

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I'm a very considerate guy by nature. Not patting myself on the back by no means but what I mean is if the Charger is free, I will monitor it periodically.....If the demand for it is non-existent I will let it continue charging till full then move my car. If there are people needing to charge and I'm close to done I will pull it and give the next guy his/her chance.

Craig
 

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#1. Patronize the business. If you're not purchasing onsite goods or services, you shouldn't be using the chargers.
#2. Follow and respect any posted time limits. For example, Volta L2 AC chargers typically have a 2-hour parking limit.
#3. Only use them when and for as much energy as you need. We have a burgeoning EV population, and many owners still don't have access to charging at home or are visiting from other areas. If you don't actually need to charge, don't use the charger just because or be ready/open to unplugging for someone who actually needs to charge. (There are EV charging etiquette cards to communicate this.)
 

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@tlucca You have already received some great suggestions. I too would need the location context and charge station owner to provide a specific opinion. We have several free level 2 charge locations installed by our municipality. Where there are groups of six charge locations, and I have never seen more than 3 used at a time, I would feel free to leave my vehicle until it was fully charged, and then promptly move it. If only a single station was available at say a store or hotel, I would not. In my early days of driving electric (2017) for me, I would leave a tag with my phone number and a comment "opportunity charging, feel free to unplug me if you need to charge" nobody ever did call or unplug me as I recall...
 

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Hi all! Considering getting a 2017 Chevy bolt but have a question about proper etiquette when using free 240 volt chargers. we have a few free stations nearby and I was wondering if it's okay to leave the car for 7 to 8 hours to charge. I rarely see cars in these charging stations but I wonder if that's proper etiquette or are these only supposed to be used to charge like an hour at a time. We only have 110v at our house so I wondered about using these free chargers until I get 240 volts set up at my house. Does this become okay to do every couple of days or is this obnoxious?

Thanks all!
It also wouldn't hurt to ask whoever is providing the chargers. Generally I feel that if you approach the store owner / manager whatever, and at least talk to them, you'll get a better idea of what kind of person they are. Some people are awful, and some couldn't care less. If it seems like you're mooching and trying to avoid contact with staff or avoiding using nearby pay chargers, it looks shady, but if you speak to a manager and let them know the situation....they might not care, or show up with a box of donuts every other week or whatever.. And let them know it's temporary. At the end of the day, you're always dealing with another person. It's important to be nice by default. No guarantee you'll get it back, of course, but that's nothing to worry about, since you did your part.

Funny story (for me) Had a guy in the neighborhood at work, where parking was REALLY tight, that would park his i3 wherever he could. He started parking in our lot OVERNIGHT to charge, the locked lot, and would leave his car for days sometimes. There was also a bank of 12 pay chargers plus a DC charger literally a block away. Of course we didn't know at first if he was a guest, and weeks and weeks go by without seeing the guy, with the car coming and going, but one day I asked him as he slunk away out of the lot one afternoon, TOWARDS the bank of pay chargers up the street "Hey buddy, where you goin'?" and he just looked back and said "To the store, I'll be right back" so upon our arrival the next morning, seeing his car sitting there, covered in dew and dust, the staff gleefully called the towing company and the problem stopped just like that. The moral of the story? It's better to ask. We probably would have let it slide if he asked, but the behavior and tactics he used made it clear that he knew what he was doing was wrong and his intent was to steal electricity, rather than use a charger. Just goes back to engaging with another human.
 

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Some people go to great lengths to steal $3 of electricity... they put in more effort than they would if (for example) they saw a $5 bill stuck under something heavy. Maybe people think of gasoline as "expensive," and electricity can make your car go, so it must also be expensive.

The same misconception happened with my last employer: they didn't want to add an EVSE in the lot, because they didn't want to give a "job perk" to EV-owning employees but not others. This is a bit weird, because (for example) some staff drank 4+ cups of coffee per day, while others drank none.
 

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Some people go to great lengths to steal $3 of electricity... they put in more effort than they would if (for example) they saw a $5 bill stuck under something heavy. Maybe people think of gasoline as "expensive," and electricity can make your car go, so it must also be expensive.

The same misconception happened with my last employer: they didn't want to add an EVSE in the lot, because they didn't want to give a "job perk" to EV-owning employees but not others. This is a bit weird, because (for example) some staff drank 4+ cups of coffee per day, while others drank none.
Funny story. Part of what prompted my work to install chargers was we had a 120 V outlet next to our lockers/changing rooms. At one point, a coworker bought a Volt, and they started plugging it into the 120 V outlet. I assumed they had asked permission, but I found out later that they hadn't. About a month later, another coworker with a Nissan LEAF started plugging into the outlet too. I'm not sure why it didn't trip the breaker at that point, but it could have. A week or so after that, I saw another coworker with a Fiat 500e plugged in.

Apparently, one of the three felt they should still be able to access the plug, so the put in a splitter. About an hour into the workday, the office went black. They, apparently, didn't trip the circuit breaker, but instead tripped the main breaker. When I spoke to our facilities manager about it, he told me that the electrician said they almost destroyed a transformer that would have cost the company $75,000 to replace. The next day, the socket had a padlock on it.

A few months later, my work installed our first two dedicated L2 AC units. After consulting me, they decided to charge employees $3 per 4.5 hour session (half a work day). I never saw a single one of the three employees who tripped the main breaker ever plug into the pay-to-use chargers.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone! We have two level two chargers at our town hall that usually has at least one spot empty. I think it's used to charge some of the Town cars that are evs. There is usually one or both spots empty. There is also two level two chargers at a municipal parking lot about two miles away that are always empty as well but they are fairly new. I'm guessing these would be okay to use on the occasional charging need? this would probably just be until we got a level two charging port in our house. I read some feedback on plugshare where one person said they will disconnect you if they see that you've left your car to charge for a long period of time. These are definitely free for the people of my town. I'm surprised more people don't take advantage of them.
 

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Some people go to great lengths to steal $3 of electricity... ...

The same misconception happened with my last employer: they didn't want to add an EVSE in the lot, because they didn't want to give a "job perk" to EV-owning employees but not others. ....
Can you give some examples of 'people stealing electricity'?
We're talking about Free Public L2's.

But I do agree with what you say about employers not wanting to help bring in the Clean Energy Future.
Back to that Greater Good thing...
 

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Funny story. ...
we had a 120 V outlet next to our lockers/changing rooms. At one point, a coworker bought a Volt, and they started plugging it into the 120 V outlet.
About a month later, another coworker with a Nissan LEAF started plugging into the outlet too.
I'm not sure why it didn't trip the breaker at that point, but it could have.
A week or so after that, I saw another coworker with a Fiat 500e plugged in.
.. one of the three felt they should still be able to access the plug, so the put in a splitter.
About an hour into the workday, the office went black. ..
...apparently, didn't trip the circuit breaker, but instead tripped the main breaker.
When I spoke to our facilities manager about it, he told me that the electrician said they almost destroyed a transformer that would have cost the company $75,000 to replace. ......
This story doesn't add up. But it may be a case of 'stealing'. Did anyone get in trouble?
If you have 2 or 3 120V EVSE's on one 120V circuit that would be at max 36 Amps.
Most 120V outlets are on a 15A or 20A circuit breakers. That CB should have tripped at 24A.

Still, how is a 36A load going to 'destroy a $75k transformer'? :unsure:
Sounds like a some drama was used to embellish the situation.:cool:
 

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This story doesn't add up. But it may be a case of 'stealing'. Did anyone get in trouble?
If you have 2 or 3 120V EVSE's on one 120V circuit that would be at max 36 Amps.
Most 120V outlets are on a 15A or 20A circuit breakers. That CB should have tripped at 24A.

Still, how is a 36A load going to 'destroy a $75k transformer'? :unsure:
Sounds like a some drama was used to embellish the situation.:cool:
That's what I thought as well. I didn't speak with the electrician directly, but I trust the facilities manager when he states that it could have blown a $75,000 transformer. I know that a ~30,000 sq/ft was completely shutdown as a result. The only thing I can guess is that the circuit breaker itself wasn't working, which tripped something further up the line.
 

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@tlucca You have already received some great suggestions. I too would need the location context and charge station owner to provide a specific opinion. We have several free level 2 charge locations installed by our municipality. Where there are groups of six charge locations, and I have never seen more than 3 used at a time, I would feel free to leave my vehicle until it was fully charged, and then promptly move it. If only a single station was available at say a store or hotel, I would not. In my early days of driving electric (2017) for me, I would leave a tag with my phone number and a comment "opportunity charging, feel free to unplug me if you need to charge" nobody ever did call or unplug me as I recall...

"In my early days of driving electric (2017) for me, I would leave a tag with my phone number and a comment "opportunity charging, feel free to unplug me if you need to charge" nobody ever did call or unplug me as I recall... "

THIS^^^^

I've been doing this since 1997. The EV-1 Club produced little placards with a clock indicating when the driver will be back, and a spot for a cell-phone number. I do the same thing at DCFCs these days. It never hurts to be courteous.
 

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They, apparently, didn't trip the circuit breaker, but instead tripped the main breaker. When I spoke to our facilities manager about it, he told me that the electrician said they almost destroyed a transformer that would have cost the company $75,000 to replace.
Facility manager is trying to avoid taking responsibility. The only way a branch should be able to pop the main is due to sudden load, with no breaker coordination study done (can be a problem using thermal breakers on the branch but smart magnetic/motor-actuated breakers at the mains). If the branch breaker was defective, dont blame the user.

The EV owners overloaded a branch... that's all. What the FM means is "My wiring plant is 3rd world, please dont fire me"
 

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That's what I thought as well. I didn't speak with the electrician directly, but I trust the facilities manager when he states that it could have blown a $75,000 transformer. I know that a ~30,000 sq/ft was completely shutdown as a result. The only thing I can guess is that the circuit breaker itself wasn't working, which tripped something further up the line.
It is possible that the insulation in that circuit melted by the heat and caused a short, which tripped the main breaker. If the main breaker didn't trip, it could have damaged the transformer upstream. That's a lot of ifs. They could have burned down the building and the transformer, or even more.

The breaker for that circuit should have tripped, but it failed. The main breaker worked as supposed, fortunately.

-TL



Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

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Some people go to great lengths to steal $3 of electricity... they put in more effort than they would if (for example) they saw a $5 bill stuck under something heavy. Maybe people think of gasoline as "expensive," and electricity can make your car go, so it must also be expensive.

The same misconception happened with my last employer: they didn't want to add an EVSE in the lot, because they didn't want to give a "job perk" to EV-owning employees but not others. This is a bit weird, because (for example) some staff drank 4+ cups of coffee per day, while others drank none.
My job recently put in two EVSE's after I had been working there and driving my Bolt every day for 3 years, another employee purchased a Tesla and was using an outdoor 110V outlet to charge his car while at work. I wonder if I had been using that outdoor outlet to charge would they have put in the EVSE's sooner? But I digress, some of the other employees are butt hurt that they don't get free gasoline. I don't drink coffee, so I have saved the company more in free coffee than the company will ever spend on free electricity going into my car.

Keith
 
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