Free Charging Etiquette

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?

Using a Free Charging Station

Using a Free Charging Station


6 thoughts on “Free Charging Etiquette

  1. No obligation to BUY, but a quick visit inside would be nice, since charging was free. I bet they hope people will do that and wind up finding something they like. 😉 That was their choice–free and NOT labelled “for XYZ customers only,” in hopes someone will find something of interest. But no obligation to BUY, good grief. 😉 Think of it like this: what you went there explicitly for the biz and the charging were secondary, and you wound up not finding what you wanted?

    IMHO the utility’s irrelevant.

    Different scenario, but FWIW: I needed charging in Raleigh and pickings were slim. I went to a mall at 11 PM to charge for free; at that hour, only bars are open really, especially as it got later. I felt no obligation to go have a drink! During the day I’d’ve shopped, but mostly out of boredom–not obligation. But very different situation, I know…this was a mall charger, not tied to one store.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Poking head in/looking around (with an open mind): Good. Buying: NOT obligatory, not even a token purchase.

  2. Pingback: Charging at Night | Tesla Owner

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