A young family making a long dash in their Ioniq 5 electric SUV late last week from Sydney to Wagga Wagga for a weekend wedding were prepared for some waiting time at fast charging stations. But the rudeness and entitlement of some drivers still came as a shock.
The young family, with an 11-month old baby on board, had tried to charge at Yass, but with just one charging bay and a long queue forming, they decided to drive on to Jugiong, where there is another a single, free NRMA charger.
They found a Tesla Model 3, emblazoned with the logo of a well known Sydney solar company, occupying the sole charging bay with the charger showing the Tesla’s battery was already more than 90 per cent full.
Half an hour later, the Ioniq 5 driver – noting that the Model 3 was now sitting at 99 per cent, and had been for some time – asked politely how long the Model 3 intended to be.
“I’m calibrating,” came the reply. Another 20 minutes passed before the Model 3 moved on. Our Ioniq 5 driver says the Model 3 was sitting on 99 per cent for around half an hour.
It’s difficult to know whether the Model 3 driver is ignorant, entitled, or just plain rude, or a mixture of all three. But it seems to be part of a trend, as we noted some months ago when a Kona driver left his EV plugged in while he went on a ballooning trip, and didn’t appear to understand the problem.
Just for the record, calibration is required from time to time to allow the new LFP batteries in Tesla EVs to make accurate energy calculations.
But, as a horrified Tesla employee told The Driven, on no account should this be done on a fast-charger, least of all when others are waiting to charge in a remote area on a cold winter’s night. It’s just plain rude.
The calibration process is impossible to predict: It can take up to an hour. And it is not even allowed on Tesla Super-chargers, and Tesla automatically imposes idle fees on EVs that fail to move on.
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. There is an increasing amount of selfish and entitled behaviour, particularly at the free fast-chargers offered through the NRMA network, which is a shame, because the NRMA network has been a marketing coup, and a big benefit to EV owners. But it is being abused.
NRMA’s decision to finally roll out billing at its fast-chargers from the end of the year will come as a relief to many, as one commenter noted in our story earlier this week.
“Visited Temora which only has one NRMA charger only to find a BYD charging up and it was at 95%. No owner to be found – hadn’t used Plugshare and didn’t call the number I put on their windscreen,” the reader noted.
“Walked off to have lunch and came back 45 minutes later to find no owner and car still at 95%. A fee needs to be levied (when) the charger is idle and occupied and not just when charging.”
So, it’s not just Tesla drivers at fault here. As our reader infers, it is common courtesy to leave a note – the Plugshare app is a good place, or the windscreen – to let people know how long you intend to charge, and to provide a phone number if it’s urgent. Many people do this, as the Plugshare report for Jugiong shows.
Australia simply does not have enough working fast-chargers in regional areas to allow boorish and entitled behaviour. Sadly, though, it is increasing as the collegial spirit of the early EV adopters is diluted by the growing mass-market. In some cases, it is a matter of ignorance. Some people simply don’t know.
Our Tesla insider also suggested that other charging networks should follow its example and impose an idle, or waiting fee, for those who fail to move on, and to use software to prevent people from sitting at 99 per cent for extended periods on fast-chargers.