Top 10 Workplace Charging Etiquette Tips

Jun 3, 2014 9:20 AM ET

According to our EV infrastructure expert Britta Gross, EVs begin to sell themselves once people see how easy it is to plug in at home and work and realize the fuel savings.

In an ongoing effort to promote a workplace culture that encourages employees to drive electric, we now have 401 electric vehicle charging stations free for employees and visitors, with more than 20 percent using solar energy.

To help our employees get the most out of their charging experience, we developed a top 10 list of workplace charging etiquette tips. It’s worked well for us so far and we thought we’d share these best practices as other companies may be looking to develop similar tips.

We gratefully acknowledge Brad Berman’s “Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette” ( as a model for our document.

Does your company offer workplace charging? If so, has it offered charging etiquette tips? Let us know in the comments.


1. Safety First

Practice safe charging. This means properly managing the cord during and after charging. During charging tuck the cord under your car so people will not trip on any excess length, or drive over it. After charging, neatly wind the cord on its holder and tuck in any excess length. Avoid overstretching the cord to help ensure it can be used for years to come and do not place the cord such that it comes in contact with the paint of another vehicle.

2. EV Spots are for EVs

It’s not acceptable for an internal combustion car to park in a charge spot designated for a plug-in car. That’s a firm rule, no matter how crowded a parking lot is, and no matter how infrequently the charging location is used. Contact security if such a situation occurs.

3. EV Drivers Must Adhere to Posted Signs

It is never acceptable for an electric vehicle to park in a designated handicapped parking space – even if the handicapped parking space is next to the charger.

4. Charge Only When Necessary

Don’t charge if you don’t need a charge. Leave the spot free for another EV driver who might need the charge to complete his or her daily travels without gasoline. GM is providing workplace charging to employees and campus visitors to promote the early growth of an EV market. To make the most of GM’s investment, please utilize your home as your primary charging location and use workplace charging as needed to augment your home charge.

5. First Come, First Served

Company vehicles and personal vehicles have the same right to access workplace chargers – there is no special treatment for either.

6. All Electric Vehicles are Created Equal

An owner of a pure battery electric vehicle (BEV) does not have the right to unplug an extended-range electric vehicle (EREV), such as a Chevy Volt, or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) just because that car has a back-up gas engine. Our goal is for every EV driver to maximize his/her daily electric commute.

7. It’s Okay to Ask for a Charge

If a charging spot you need is being used, and you are able to park next to the car that is currently charging, open your charge port door as a signal to the other EV driver to plug you in when he/she is finished charging.

8. Don’t Unplug Someone Else’s EV… Except When They Are Done Charging

Don’t unplug someone else’s EV, unless they have clearly finished charging (blinking green charge-indicator light on the dash). Take care when touching anyone else’s car, charge cord, etc – treat it like your own. And if you unplug a car that has finished charging, make sure to close the charge door so it is not mistaken for a car waiting to be charged.

9. Charge Up and Move On…

Whenever possible, only occupy a charging spot while your car is being charged. As soon as the charging session is completed – either when your battery is full or when you have adequate range to comfortably reach your destination – be prepared to unplug and move your car, making way for a fellow plug-in driver. (You can use your OnStar Remote Link App to set a “Charge Complete Reminder” that will send either a text or email when your vehicle is done charging.) It is never acceptable to park your vehicle in a designated charge spot for more than a day. These are charging spots, not parking spots. Contact security if such a situation occurs.

…Or Expect to be Cord-Swapped

It is common EV courtesy to share chargers and/or outlet access with all EV drivers. If you charge in a popular area where there is high charger demand, then once your vehicle is fully charged you should expect to be unplugged by another EV driver who also wants a charge. If you anticipate being cord-swapped, consider disabling your charge cord theft alert (set vehicle’s display panel option to “off”), so that the alarm doesn’t sound when your vehicle is unplugged.

10. Workplace Charging is a Privilege, not a Right

Remember, charging your vehicle in a company-provided charge-spot is a privilege. You are an ambassador of an important and growing market for plug-in electric vehicles. It is an important strategy for our company. We appreciate your engagement. Thank You!


GM is a founding member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge, which seeks to persuade America’s employers to commit to provide electric vehicle charging access to employees through partnership, advocacy and promotion.

In addition to workplace charging, we have another 400 charge spots dedicated exclusively to vehicle development and testing. Chevrolet and Cadillac dealers have installed approximately 5,900 charge stations at their locations for owner use – 17 of these dealerships use solar charging canopies.