Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
With a lot of retailers and destinations putting up free chargers, both 3-7kW and in some cases 50kW what do people feel are the ethics of using these?

Do you feel obliged to use the store if you're using their charger?
Does your level of obligation change depending on what sort of place the charger is attached to, says a supermarket chain vs. a local farm shop?

There seem to be a lot of comments on Zap-Map that vary from a sense of utter entitlement to ruthlessly exploit every free electron possible through to people urging restraint for fear of sending every public charger pay-as-you-go.

Any thoughts?
Jason.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
918 Posts
I think a lot is down to everyone's personal ethics. I'd certainly use a farm shop to buy something if I was hooked up to their charger, on the basis that's a local business, but I wouldn't necessarily go into Tesco when using a charger there!

Everyone's different, so you'll get a wide range of opinions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
I think etiquette is that generally you should buy a drink etc if you are getting free charging. I guess if you are a regular shopper at Tesco / M&S etc then you have probably built up enough credit to ease your conscience if you don’t shop every time you charge!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
When store managers realise that these free chargers are being 'abused' - trust me this has been occurring since the days of Ecotricity free vend - then I suspect two things could happen. The chargers will move from free vend to a cost/ per charge - as happened in my local Waitrose store a couple of years ago, or time on the charger will be policed.

I recall mentioning in passing to a guy working the trolleys in our local Supermarket carpark that it was always the case that a particular EV was parked at the same EV post each time we visited the store. He quietly told me that' the car was owned by the Store manager'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,844 Posts
Is ethics the right word here?

Surely fair usage is enough?

We really don't know if slave labour was used in the mining any of the materials used in the manufacture of the imbedded electronics. Were all the workers involved in the installation paid the Living National Wage. Were any seabirds killed by the wind turbines providing the power. One could go on if ethics are being examined?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,436 Posts
As above, it's not really ethics. If you put anything out in public for free then a large number of people will descend on it simply because it is free. Most of them neither need or particularly want it, but can't resist free (I'm married to one).

Personally I'd rarely take a 3-7 kW public charge unless I was expecting to be there for at least 2 hours - for me the hassle of dealing with the cable, etc, just isn't worth a £ or two of power - so certainly not for a supermarket shop. Cinema and/or meal out, maybe (unless it's raining which ups the hassle value).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
With the advent of apps like Zap-Map it brings some chargers to light that might well have been missed otherwise. A local education centre has a 7kW charger which is virtually on the roadside, they have a cafe there which has very limited opening hours. Quite a few people on Zap-Map report stopping of for tea and cake but there are also notes saying that out-of-hours charging 'works' but those plugging in are not greeted with open arms. One user stating that, "if they don't want people to use it out of hours they should switch it off".

Also lots of disgruntled users who are rolling up to use a Polar rapid at a local hotel, and then getting PCN's from ParkingEye because the charger is in a patrons only car park that isn't immediately obvious.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
Technically not the same thing, but my wife and I had a weekend break at a Hotel which has two Tesla chargers. By lunchtime on Sunday, there was a gathering of Tesla owners in the car park merrily chatting away; some playing ball games, and some having a picnic whilst waiting for their turn on a charger. Tesla owners came and went until late into the day. It looked to be a very sociable event. I cannot see it happening for a free vend on a 7kW post.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,539 Posts
Also lots of disgruntled users who are rolling up to use a Polar rapid at a local hotel, and then getting PCN's from ParkingEye because the charger is in a patrons only car park that isn't immediately obvious.
What does Zap Map say? The Zap Map entry for the one in a hotel car park I have used says "This rapid charger is available for public access (confirmed by BP Chargemaster)". If the entry doesn't say that, then you risk the above.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,669 Posts
All the Polar rapids in hotels are available to the public, but you always need to check parking arrangements. Typically you just need to explain you are charging and they will add your reg to Parking eye (or similar). Personally I usually pop in for at least a coffee or soft drink. I actually got a free coffee recently at a Holiday Inn which was a nice touch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,604 Posts
These companies offer free leccy to attract trade. They always have the option to make them token operated to force you into the store - that is their choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
These companies offer free leccy to attract trade. They always have the option to make them token operated to force you into the store - that is their choice.
I am not sure that less than a £1s worth of free electricity for a few EV shoppers compared to 5p off a litre of fuel for 00s will make much difference to a store's bottomline. But then 'every little helps'.
 

·
I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
Joined
·
23,001 Posts
I think destination chargers are ridiculous for BEVs, and merely divert good money for en route rapids into this nonsense.

Using them merely encourages the belief that they are of some value, and thus some misguided ICE driver in government thinks it is worth a sound-bite to throw tax payers' money at them.

Ergo, very unethical for BEVs to use them at all.

The caveat is that there is a clear positive value in PHEVs using them, as it extends their non-fossil range.

All destination chargers should be funded exclusively by private means. In that regard, the owner of the charger can set any terms they wish, and if that includes offering free-loaders a free-load, then I bid them all the best for their cheap-staking nirvana.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I am not sure that less than a £1s worth of free electricity for a few EV shoppers compared to 5p off a litre of fuel for 00s will make much difference to a store's bottomline. But then 'every little helps'.
I was chatting to a Zoe owner in Droitwich the other day and he said he'd stopped shopping at Aldi because Lidl has a free rapid charger. If it's enough to gain a regular customer then I suspect they recoup his charging costs at least and he many help subsidise a few freeloaders.
 

·
I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
Joined
·
23,001 Posts
I was chatting to a Zoe owner in Droitwich the other day and he said he'd stopped shopping at Aldi because Lidl has a free rapid charger. If it's enough to gain a regular customer then I suspect they recoup his charging costs at least and he many help subsidise a few freeloaders.
I'd like to see the maths which makes that profitable for Lidl.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
These companies offer free leccy to attract trade. They always have the option to make them token operated to force you into the store - that is their choice.
At the Greggs in Kidderminster next to the Instavolt charger is a lonely little charging post that I suspect was put in by Worcester County Council, it takes tokens. I asked the guy in Greggs if they had any tokens and he said that in the two years he's been there nobody has ever asked and they don't have tokens to give out.
 

·
I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
Joined
·
23,001 Posts
I'd be interested in seeing how much some of these large chains pay per kWh. If you have hundreds of stores and are using multiple MWh per year I would hope that gets you a decent rate.
The extra sales profit probably covers the electricity.

That's not the issue I am thinking of. I can't see how they can justify a multi-£10k hardware investment, plus maintenance, on the back of an extra dozen or so customers a week.
 

·
I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
Joined
·
23,001 Posts
I agree for supermarkets, but hotels and B&Bs would be a good application for destination chargers.
For 7/22kW yes. At the hotel's expense alone.

For rapids, not really, unless they are usefully on main routes, like many Polars are.
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
About this Discussion
39 Replies
18 Participants
EdH
Speak EV - Electric Car Forums
A community for enthusiasts of all makes and models of EV from BMW to Tesla, Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi and more. Join the electrifying discussion today!
Full Forum Listing
Top