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Dear EV owners, please don’t hog public charging stations

The infrastructure should also keep up with growing demand

Free charging is one of the few perks that EV owners in the Philippines enjoy for now. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Yes, this may seem like a problem for the one-percenters out there, but hear me out. Sharing is caring.

Our electric vehicle industry is kicking into high gear. With the influx of affordable electric vehicles in our market, these are no longer just for the well-off.

These come with perks like coding exemption and cheaper registration. Most important, they get the benefit of dedicated and free charging spaces in public areas, which helps bolster adoption and eliminates the aspect of range anxiety.

One of these EVs was still there even after the author left a few hours after. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

While this is a privilege that early adopters enjoy, it would be nice if those people didn’t hog said free public charging spots.

Take this scenario, for example. Arriving at Alabang Town Center to charge the BYD Atto 3, I was informed by the guard that the two slots were both occupied with one person queued up for charging.

The problems of EV owners. SCREENSHOT BY SAM SURLA

I thought that waiting for a bit wouldn’t hurt, but I had other things to do.

I messaged my colleague who also had an EV test unit and was in the area, and he told me that those same two cars had been there since the early morning (I also confirmed this with the attendant). He charged his car elsewhere and suggested I do the same.

Please be mindful of others. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

These mall chargers aren’t meant to fully charge your vehicle, they’re meant to act as a quick top-up while you shop or watch a movie.

Unfortunately, most of these are unregulated, which is why people can get away with behavior like this.

For the operators of these public charging stations, consider this: Don’t let people leave their cars charging for more than a set amount of time to allow others to charge as well.

Should the free public charging be regulated and monitored? PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

If the owners watched a movie or attended an event to justify parking for at least two or more hours, they must present the movie ticket or stub; otherwise, risk being fined.

The government has not issued a proper regulatory rate for EV charging yet, so this is one way to help prevent this kind of selfish behavior from going on.

Our existing infastructure won't cut it with all the new electric vehicles coming in. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

With all the new EVs being bought by different people (of all shapes and sizes, no less), the infrastructure should also find a way to catch up.

Simply having two or three repurposed parking slots won’t cut it. There should be more slots with more powerful chargers, and they should also support more charging standards.

One can dream, but we should follow the example of other countries and find a way to install public EV chargers, but that’s only if our government decides to look further into the future instead of having a reactive response.

Most EVs come with home charging solutions included in the price. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

And before you call me out for crying about something trivial, think about this: All EVs come with free chargers that you can plug in overnight at home. Some even have a faster home charger included in the price of the vehicle that gets installed at home for free.

Yes, there is the issue of EV drivers who reside in condominiums (including myself) not having sockets or charging stations in their parking lots. But please, think of the others who will use the charger as well. A public charger isn’t your personal charger.

If the very few who can afford EVs are like this, what more once everyone else gets access to these cars? PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

I’m pretty sure that what happened isn’t an isolated case, considering there are people who even manage to park their regular cars (non-EVs) in these spaces, but this is a classic case of typical Filipino squatter mentality.

If you think that leaving your car at the free public charging station for a long period of time is the equivalent of getting a full tank of gas, people like you are the reason why we can’t have nice things in life.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.