Electric car etiquette is something all new EV owners – and combustion car owners for that matter – are faced with learning, and often it is via the unwritten book called experience.

One Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq 5 owner Andrew Till, who goes by the Twitter handle “Mr. EV”, recently took to the social media channel to get some feedback after he upset the owner of an EV he unplugged so he could use the only public rapid charger in Canterbury in south-east England.

“I’m at a Geniepoint charger,” says Till in the posted video (see below). “When I got there I could see another Leaf using it, so I pulled in and there was no whirring sound.”

As a whirring sound is not always audible while charging, he says he also checked to see if there were any flashing lights in the Leaf and didn’t see anything. “So I unplugged the (Leaf) and plugged in my (car),” he says.

After returning from the local shop, which was about to close, he says he found the other Leaf owner there pacing around.

“He didn’t look happy at all,” says Till. Asking the person if it was their Leaf, he says they replied, “No, not cool, piss off.”

He says he tried to explain that the car can’t be unplugged it if it is not charging, but then other man wouldn’t listen. “He looked like he was going to punch me at one point,” says Till. “If he was with the car when I plugged in, obviously I would have asked … but you just can’t unplug the car if it’s on a rapid charger for safety reasons apart from anything else.”

He asks the question: “If there s a charger and it’s not being used, even it is is occupied and plugged in, surely it’s ok to unplug the other car? What do you think?”

Other EV owners have been more than willing to offer their thoughts on the matter. Some told of extremely angry responses in some cases.

MusingsEV said: The rule is ‘never unplug another car if it’s charging. In this case: No lights on car. Nothing on the charger screen(?). Nothing (on) the app. Cable unlocked. Ergo: NOT charging. Unplug away. If he doesn’t want to discuss it that’s his problem. You did nothing wrong.”

Another EV owner responded to this saying they were actually threatened with death after unplugging a BMW i3! While the threat was likely empty, the sentiment was over the top, to say the least.

“That’s absolutely terrifying,” said Till.

Broadly though, most people agree it is OK to unplug an EV if it is not charging and blocking others from doing so.

“I’ve unplugged someone who has finished charging before and will continue to do so. If it’s a rapid charger, you should be around to vacate it when it’s finished charging and free up the space. If you’re not, tough. You don’t own the charge point,” said John Chivers, whose Twitter bio says he owns an electric motorcycle.

“Defo done the right thing. You could have been waiting for ages for the guy to return. You cannot unplug if charging, I wouldn’t have a problem if someone had unplugged my car,” said another.

Another named “EV Beano” pointed out they had used the same charger that day and it had cut out on them, suggesting an unreliability issue with that charger.

“I used GeniePoint today that, multiple times, suddenly cut out charging after about 5 minutes. I would have been pissed off to come back and found someone else plugged in!!! Instead I came back to a non-charging car,” they said.

Paul Webb said he deals with these issues by staying with the car: “I just don’t leave my car ever when on a fast charger just in case it trips off and needs a restart. Personally I wouldn’t touch another car but I’d be there waiting when the guy got back and point out his error,” he said.

Ordinarily I would. It was five minutes to closing time of the shop so I ran in,” said Till in response. “‘What’s the worst that can happen’, I thought!”

Extracted in full from: EV charger wars! Anger and death threats as frustrated owners unplug electric cars (thedriven.io)