Charge Rage: Who Would Have Figured?

four-chargersOpportunity charging can be a pretty big deal to electric car owners. Topping off at public charging stations, or for that matter at chargers available at the workplace, can considerably extend electric driving range. This can help relieve range anxiety or simply deliver the additional battery power needed for longer drives. But this strategy depends on a charger being available.

For years, EV owners have expressed frustration whenever drivers of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles park in an EV charging spot, thus blocking access to a charge. There’s even a term for it – being ‘ICEed.’ Now there’s a new twist. With the number of electrics on the road far surpassing the number of public or workplace chargers, EV owners are now squabbling among themselves as they jockey for their position at an available charger. Enter a new term – ‘charge rage.’

That’s what’s happening when an EV owner sees another EV at a charger and believes it has already topped off and is now simply hogging the charging opportunity. Or charge rage could also occur when an EV driver really needs a charge to get to where they need to go, and other EVs are simply plugged in and an obstacle to their mobility. What’s happening is frustration, unkind words, and often enough one EV owner unplugging another’s car so they have access to a charge.

There’s no easy to answer to this other than a huge infusion of new chargers. There’s movement by some charging manufacturers to institute a charge reservation program. Some companies are also taking reservations for workplace charging, encouraging EV owners to unplug and move out of a charging space once they’re adequately topped off. There is no instant answer. What there is, simply, is a challenge that has not been adequately considered. It will be interesting to watch this unfold.

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