We are known to be a kind and compassionate folk on Salt Spring Island. We believe that, as Karen Armstrong promotes in her TED, the golden rule:
"Do to other as you wish them to do to you."
We are an open and friendly community, make eye contact in the streets, wave as we drive past (especially the electric car owners) and have very low crime rates. We try at every opportunity to move towards kind and supportive communications and to make our actions be constructive and positive.
This may have led to our island having a strong environmental "attitude", supporting land conservation and restoration, promotion of bicycling, building a solar scholarship array on the local high school and becoming part of the international Transition Town movement. A core theme here is treating the environment as our "other" and making every effort to be nice to it, so it will be nice to us in the future.
And we buy electric cars - a lot. We quickly grew to having the highest density of electric cars in Canada, and the trend is only, as they say, "trending".
The Etiquette Card began through observation of our friendliness on display at the our local chargers. Folks would park at the adjacent parking spot (not designated as a EV charging spot) and leave their charging port door open. The charger cord could easily stretch that far. As someone left the designated charging location, they would kindly check and then plug in their neighbour. This began to be a pretty big topic here, encouraging others to do the same but we wondered if we could improve upon it.
So, we went for coffee, as is our way, and discussed how we could provide additional and desirable inter-vehicular communication and permission while we were not there. The advantage would be to allow the two officially marked spots and the two adjacent spots access to the charger, if so desired. Thus making 2 locations into 4. Many of the EV's have a charging status indicator on the dash, so it is easy to determine the status while the owner is elsewhere.
We came up with the design of a dash card that, based on which side you left up as you parked your car to charge, would inform the arriving adjacent folks, what options they could take.
One side (Green) indicates you can plug your car in immediately if so desired. This is based on the original car only desiring a convenience charge (they can charge, but that can also get by without it). In other words, if your charging need is greater then mine, go for it.
The other side (Yellow) says you can access the charger, but only after I am full. Or, I do need the complete charge, but feel free to move the charging cord to you car after the lights stop blinking.
If no card is visible, then the default rules apply. (Please be kind and do not touch my car)
This has been especially beneficial to visiting tourists, who may arrive with a low charge and see the chargers in use. Now they may be able to take action without any fear of confusion. (Salt Spring has become a tourist destination with Level II chargers at 3 B&B and 6 public locations.)
Funding was provided by a local dealership, Motorize Auto Direct, winner of the 2015 Best EV Dealership in Canada award.
The card has been a great success and is used by the SSI EV owning folks almost universally. The original run of 50 has been exhausted and we are just now printing a run of 50 additional cards.
Salt Spring Island - EV Etiquette card by Jim Standen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.