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Charge Rage Warning for EV Drivers

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Drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) 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 urgently needed to stop motorists bickering at charging points.

Drivers have reported multiple incidents of irate motorists arguing over whose turn 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 seem to be so many unwritten rules and anger toward those who get them wrong.

“I pulled into 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 in a bay out of the way, so when the intelligent 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.

“I soon realised there was no point in explaining that I’d been parked in a bay and 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 wish I’d stuck with petrol right now if I’m honest.”

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

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

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.

“They get just as angry and frustrated as other road users. But they also have to deal with a scarcity of charging points and extra stress 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 the 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 common for drivers to unplug a vehicle left on charge and plug it in instead. The first car’s driver returns to their vehicle expecting it to be topped up, only to find someone else has stolen their charge.

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

“We need better infrastructure to keep up with demand, but we also need a clear code of conduct around public charging points and what is and isn’t acceptable. It is never good to become aggressive and intimidating; what happened to Jessica sounds 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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