Master your EV etiquette: the Do’s and Don’ts of EV charging

We live in a rapidly changing world, supported by rapidly changing technologies. It takes time to develop social norms around the use of new technology; the use of an electric vehicle (EV) charging station is one example.

Until becoming accustomed to new electric fuel, new EV drivers risked feeling “range anxiety” and a need to charge every time they parked. This leads to unnecessary use of public charging stations, aggravated drivers, and sometimes even physical altercations. If we stop to think about it, drivers of fuel vehicles don’t hit the gas station at every destination, or whenever the tank is half full.

To help educate people on EV etiquette including when to charge, the BCIT Smart Microgrid Applied Research Team (SMART) teamed up with three BCIT Digital Design and Development students to design and produce three short animated videos to help illustrate the proper way of good etiquette when charging an electric vehicle. SMART works on research, development, and communication initiatives aimed at innovative solutions for reducing barriers to EV adoption.

“These videos have been developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever we need to be kind to one another,” says Joey Dabell, SMART Project Leader. “Part of our ongoing research investigates how we build social norms that adapt to new and evolving technologies. With this student video project, we explore a gentle way to shine a light on good etiquette to help build social norms for EV charging.”

BCIT students Tasha Vithaya, Emily Kwok-Choon, and Ashlynn Chen began their practicum the week COVID-19 restrictions were put into place. Through weekly Zoom meetings with Joey Dabell, the students went to work bringing three EV personas to life.

SMART student researcher Maria Bushmin presented two workshops to the BCIT community on EV (EV 101 and EV 102) last fall. From her development and research on these workshops and in consultation with BCIT EV expert Kelly Carmichael and social science researcher Joey Dabell, the three personas were developed to reflect some of the most common etiquette issues the research team has encountered with EV charging. The team wanted to educate the growing community on good EV charging etiquette to help smooth the transition to EV driving and to share these fun, educational resources with stakeholders such as municipalities, utilities, industry, and car dealerships.

“I am very happy with the final product our team created for the EV Etiquette project,” says Tasha Vithaya, BCIT Digital Design and Development practicum student. “Working in a small team to create these videos provided me with invaluable experience which I know will help me in the future.”

Be kind and be safe: meet our three drivers who need a refresher on their EV etiquette

Olivia Overstayer drives an EV and takes too much time charging her vehicle, preventing other EV drivers from getting a chance to charge.

Ian Icer drives an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car and parks in spots designated for EV charging.

Peter Perker is an EV driver who thinks the charging station is used for VIP parking.


The Smart Microgrid Applied Research Team (SMART) conducts research, development, and demonstration projects that converge Information Technology, Electrical and Power Systems Engineering, and Computer Science expertise innovative solutions for complex applied research problems. Our applied R&D in emerging and next-generation technologies helps stimulate BC’s IT industry through collaborative industry, academic, and government research.

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