5 Hacks to Owning an Electric Vehicle Without Owning a House - The Renter's Guide
Many renters and city dwellers without garages worry about consistently charging their electric vehicles (EVs). However, there are a number of creative solutions to this problem. They include charging-while-shopping; creative use of placards; mapping nearby charging stations; creating workplace charging policies; and EV-charger advocacy. Below we expand on each of these five hacks for charging your EV without owning a home or having a garage.
1. Charge where you shop
If you're interested in EVs, you're probably aware of the three primary charger levels, whereby the time required to charge your EV decreases dramatically at each level. In 2017, there are quite a few shopping plazas and grocery stores with Level 2 chargers that will give your EV 20-miles to a full charge while you shop.
2. Use a "Do Not Unplug" placard to ensure people don't unplug you when you really need to charge
Although you can make your own, "Do Not Unplug" placards are becoming increasingly popular, and ready-made ones are easy to buy for a few bucks online. Similar to a "Do Not Disturb" sign that loops around a hotel doorknob, a "Do Not Unplug" sign loops around your plug when you leave your EV to charge in a public place. The placards are often made of dry-erase material so that you can use a dry-erase marker to enter the time you expect to be done charging, as well as your phone number. When your charging isn't urgent, and you want to give others with more urgent needs a chance to charge, just flip the placard over to the side that reads "Okay To Unplug."
3. Take note of all reliable chargers within a 20-mile radius
One of the best ways to ensure that you never run out of charge is to have a strong sense of where all the nearby, reliable chargers are located. Memorizing all the best chargers within a 20-mile radius is a good goal to have. You can start by using virtual "pins" in your favorite maps-app on your smartphone, or you can print out a map and mark them. Either way, having a map in your hand or your head of reliable nearby chargers will always give you a backup plan when your favorite nearby charger is occupied or out of service.
4. Rally EV owners at your workplace to create a policy on sharing workplace chargers
A great alternative to charging at home is charging at work. However, if there are several EV owners at your workplace competing for one charger, then it's time to rally the team to create a policy that ensures everyone has a predictable charging schedule.
If your workplace doesn't have any chargers installed, another option is to rally your coworkers with EVs to propose a plan for installation and management at your workplace.
5. Join local organizations that advocate for installed charging stations in new shopping complexes
There are hundreds of environmental organizations and advocacy groups devoted to decreasing reliance on fossil fuels, while increasing EV ownership and usage. One of the most common initiatives driving EV advocacy is the expansion of the number of reliable chargers available to the public. By joining your nearest EV advocacy group (i.e. Electric Auto Association), you can help influence new or existing public gathering places, such as shopping complexes, to install chargers that will make the lives of local EV drivers easier.
A creative approach to EV charging
As long as you plan ahead, there are many ways to keep your EV charged, even if you don't own a home or have a garage. First, try charging while shopping at nearby grocery stores with chargers. Second, buy a "Do Not Unplug" placard and use it whenever necessary. Third, create a map of nearby, reliable charging stations so you always have an alternative to go to. Fourth, rally your fellow EV-owning coworkers to ensure that your workplace has an EV charger installed and that fair workplace-charging policies are put in place. Fifth, participate in local EV advocacy efforts to expand the number of fast, reliable, public charging stations in your area.
Photo by Hardik Pandya