When Plugged In On-the-Road, Can Someone Unplug Me without Permission?

By Paul Gipe

Yes, this can happen on Level 2. Many EVs have a charge cable lock that prevents someone else from unplugging your car from a Level 2 (208-240 V) charge station. However, it is good EV etiquette not to use this feature, that is, to turn the lock off if the default is on. There can be good reasons to unplug you. For example, if you’re away from the car and the car is finished charging, you have no right to hog the charger, preventing someone else from charging.

If you’re at a DCFC station, the car locks the plug once it communicates with the dispenser. This is a safety feature. If the car is finished charging or it has been 30 minutes, the dispenser will stop the session and tell the car to unlock the plug. So, no, someone can’t typically “unplug” a DCFC plug without taking a few steps. They can wait until the session is done, and then unplug you. Or they can tell the dispenser you are done by ending the session and then unplugging you.

It is good EV etiquette to have your cell phone number on the windshield of your car or to sign-in to PlugShare so that others know how to reach you if they need to plug in while you’re away from your car.

On the flip side it is permissible to unplug someone if their session is finished and they are not around to do so. However, always check the windshield or PlugShare to see if the driver has left a message on how to get in touch with them.

However, driving electric is new. Some don’t know good EV etiquette. And, as in all things in life, some don’t care to know.