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Charge rage warning for EV drivers

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Drivers of electric vehicles are calling for a clear code of conduct to be issued on the rules on using public charging points amid reports of ‘Charge Rage’ incidents across the UK.

Experts from LeaseElectricCar.co.uk say a code of conduct is needed urgently to put a stop to motorists bickering at charging points.

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Drivers have reported multiple incidents of irate motorists arguing over whose turn it is to use a charging point and even unplugging other vehicles so they can use the charger.

New electric car driver, Jessica Fletcher, took to Facebook to complain about the treatment she received at a charging point in a supermarket car park – just one week after collecting her new EV.

She said: “I’ve had the car a week, never had to queue for a charger but tonight I think (if the shouting bloke is to be believed) I inadvertently jumped the queue. There seems to be so many unwritten rules and so much anger toward those who get it wrong.

“I pulled in the car park and saw a bloke in a little smart car waiting for the chargers. I thought I’d done the right thing by parking up in a bay out of the way so when the smart car had a space I moved into his space.

“Only then I ended up with some bloke in a huge Audi jumping out of his car jabbing his finger and shouting at me that I’d jumped the queue – he’d been waiting and I’d just pulled up.

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“I soon realised that there was no point in trying to explain that I’d been parked in a bay and just begged him to leave me alone.

“Is this what it’s like? Did my first charge lull me into a false sense of friendliness because the guys using the chargers were lovely.

“How do you know what order to wait in? Or is it best not to bother waiting and not seek out supermarkets, gyms or restaurants with charging? I’m wishing I’d stuck with petrol right now if I’m honest.”

Other EV drivers were quick to come to Ms Fletcher support with many admitting the rules around public charging need clarifying.

Tim Alcock, from LeaseElectricCar.co.uk, who are one of the UK’s biggest suppliers of EVs, said it was time for the industry to publish guidelines to prevent incidents of Charge Rage happening.

Mr Alcock said: “Contrary to popular belief not all electric vehicle owners are tree hugging vegans who wouldn’t hurt a fly. The truth is EVs are mainstream now and the drivers who use them are simply a cross section of the wider public.

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“They get just as angry and frustrated as other road users. But they also have to deal with a scarcity of charging points along with the extra stress which comes from range anxiety.

“When you factor these things in, it’s little wonder that we are seeing a worrying rise in reports of Charge Rage as drivers compete for a limited number of public charging points.

“Sadly the story Jessica shared on Facebook is just one of dozens of similar incidents our customers have shared with us. We’ve even heard of drivers coming to blows over whose turn it is to plug their car in.

“It’s also common place for drivers to unplug a vehicle which has been left on charge and to plug their own vehicle in instead. The driver of the first car returns to their vehicle expecting it to be topped up only to find someone else has stolen their charge.

“These problems are likely to get worse in the short term as the number of EVs on our roads continues to rise and the number of charging points continues to lag behind.

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“We need better infrastructure to keep up with demand but we also need a clear code of conduct around the use of public charging points and what is and isn’t acceptable. Clearly it is never acceptable to become aggressive and intimidating and what happened to Jessica sounds very frightening.

“But until the number of charging points significantly increases and a code of conduct is adopted and integrated into the Highway Code, we fear incidents of Charge Rage will only increase.”

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