As your parents — or perhaps Sesame Street or even Mr. Rogers — hopefully taught you, it’s good to share. With more plug-in cars on the road than ever before, that’s something early adopters and newbies to electric cars alike are having to learn, as the most popular charging station locations find themselves inundated with more plug-in cars than charging stations.
At most rapid charging sites where owners tend to be within easy reach of their cars and tend not to leave their vehicles for more than 30 minutes at a time, there’s a general rule that says ‘first come, first served’. But what happens when you arrive at a slower Level 2 (Type 2) charging location to find a row of cars plugged in and charging with no owner in sight? How do you know which car to unplug — and how do you know which car can make it home with the charge it already has?
To date, we’ve seen some pretty innovative solutions to help plug-in car owners play nice at public charging station, ranging from low-tech notes scribbled on pieces of paper to high-end smartphone apps with printed window stickers or private SMS messaging.
But a new solution called the “EV Charging Hanger” has them all beat — and it’s about as simple as it can get.
Inspired by the “Do Not Disturb” signs you’ll find on the back of every hotel door, the EV Charging Hanger has been designed by former Tesla employee turned Google hire Jack Brown of advocacy site TakeChargeAndGo, and consists of a piece of heavyweight recycled card with a charging gun-shaped hole punched out of the top.
Just like the hotel door hangers hang on hotel door knobs, so too does the EV Charging Hanger hang over the end of the charging connector as it’s plugged into the car. On one side is a green sign that says “OK TO UNPLUG,” indicating that the owner is happy for another charging station user to unplug their car and charge their own vehicle. On the other, is a red sign saying “DO NOT UNPLUG.” That, we think, is self-explanatory.
On each side, there’s also a space for the owner to write their expected departure time or point by which they’ll have enough charge to be safely unplugged. There’s also a space where owners can write their cellphone number so they can be reached in an emergency.
It also includes some simple rules about EV etiquette on the bottom, explaining the hanger and letting folks know why it’s good to be nice to other plug-in drivers.
Those who wish to buy these simple yet effective signs can do so via online craft site Etsy, or eBay. As the product is new to the market, they’re available now at a half-price introductory offer of $2.49 per hanger, with multi-pack discounts for those who want to share them out among friends.
If you buy some, do let us know what you think. Although they’re probably great for most plug-in users, we’d like to remind you that in some states — noticeably California — parking in an electric car parking spot is only legal in publicly-owned parking lots if you’re connected to the charging station, so make sure you move your car once someone has unplugged it or risk a ticket.
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