I recently went out of town for a wedding. The venue was probably within my range for driving to and from the event. I decided to top off the charge just in case. After a short bit of research, I found the most convenient charging station for my trip. The station was located at a business, which I knew very little about. In order to generalize this post, I will not name the business as it is not particularly relevant. My new Chargepoint card had already arrived in the mail, so everything was set.
When I arrived at the station, the owner greeted me and said I was the first Model S to have visited the station. I learned that even though I needed to use the card, the energy was free. They had actually built excess solar power and were giving quite a bit of free energy back to PG&E, and did not have many people using their station. In California, PG&E is not a particularly popular business. They did ask me if I wanted to come into the business, and I said that I might upon my return.
Does one have any obligation to visit a business while using their free charging station?
Is it rude to use the power at a station with no interest in the business?
Would the decision be different depending upon the energy company?
Would you make a perfunctory purchase in order to be polite?