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Unplugged from Charging Station

I recently parked at charging station at SFO and returned to find the car unplugged and the SAE J1772 adapter was gone (now I have to purchase a new one for $95) and the charge port closed. There was not another car using the charger at time of return. I am guessing I may have broken protocol as I had the car there for three days (longer than it required charging) but I also understood that the adapter could only be removed by owner. Anyone else have this type of experience. What is protocol when you need to use airport charger but have multi-day trip?


I would think that the SAE J1772 adapter would lock when you lock your doors. Unless your doors was open for 3 days?

I know that if I had seen someone parked at a charger for several days I would have been very upset especially if I needed a charge. So yes, I would say you broke protocol. But the adaptor should have been locked into your car.

I think we have a ways to go on airport charger etiquette. If you park there during a trip, you need to charge. Who goes to an airport garage to charge for a couple of hours? A lot of 110 outlets would be a solution for long term parkers.

I agree in that the adapter should only go missing if the car is unlocked.

Look on ebay if a new SAE J1772 is being sold.
jk, maybe someone from the airport parking crew stored it (if there's such thing; too optmistic again?)

@ cp_meyer - what made you think that you could hog an EV charging station for three days? These are charging stations, not parking spaces! I am dumbfounded by the number of inconsiderate Tesla Model S owners who routinely hog up a hotel charge spot all night, park at a supercharger and then head off to a movie and a dinner with no regard to others who have to wait, and now someone who thought it was appropriate to occupy a charging spot for three days. When something bad happens, these same people are shocked. Unbelievable!

What is it about owning a Model S that makes you believe that any slot with an EV plug is a parking place made just for you? So many stories about these issues are posted over at TMC. Did it occur to you to ask the parking attendant or an airport official whether you would be allowed to park there for three days? That would have been the prudent thing to do rather than to just make an assumption, inconvenience another EV owner who obviously couldn't charge because of you, and then act surprised when someone takes matters into their own hands.

Thanks for all the comments. @AmpedRealtor - I hear you and am trying to figure out what the proper protocol is at airports (very different from going to movie/dinner). With the need to charge, park and take flight how do we best manage this. Not really a solution to charge when one returns from flight. I did ask the attendant and they stated that there is no policy re how long one can park in an EV spot. Thanks

Might not be always possible, but better let family/friends drop you off and pick up again, maybe less hassle.


To your defense, no one should be using an airport charging station, unless they have business at the airport (which you clearly did). However, I agree with hfcolvin, all airports should have areas for long-term EV parking with 110 volt connectors.

Regardless, if anyone was at fault, it was the airport for ignorance of their own EV parking rules.

Sorry to hear about your someone taking your adapter. I agree however that it's not appropriate to take up a spot for 3 days. Still, there should be some formal protocol established that would be good.

Not to hijack your thread but along the same topic, have any of you found you came back from a public charger only to be disconnected? For whatever reason... maybe some jerk that doesn't like EV technology... but is this happening at all out there?

You're giving Tesla owner a bad name. ;-) It may reinforce the believe of some owners of lesser (or they say real) EVs that Tesla owners are just a bunch of spoiled rich boys.

Of course it sounded that you did not intentionally break the protocol but those charging stations serve one purpose only which is to charge your, and everyone else's, EV.

It looks like you missed this part: "I did ask the attendant and they stated that there is no policy re how long one can park in an EV spot."

What is one supposed to do when they GO TO THE AIRPORT? Is this not why the chargers are there?

What do you propose? Instead of blaming and pointing fingers and scolding, come up with a solution and present it accordingly.

After reading AmpedRealtor's comments, I am curious what the appropriate behavior should be regarding airport and other charging. I completely agree with AmpedRealtor that parking at a supercharger and going to a movie is completely inappropriate. Superchargers are fast, and we should only keep our Model S in those spots until we've gotten the electricity we need, then clear out and make room for others.

Regular Chargepoint type level 2 chargers are so much slower, and it would seem to me that you'd need to go to a movie or a meal or something to give it time to charge adequately, so I am curious about people's opinions on this.

Specifically regarding airports, I had assumed that the spots with EV charging were for travelers with electric vehicles who need to be plugged in while away. I had thought it would be ok to travel for a couple of days and leave my car in one of those spots. Otherwise, how would one use them? Do you get back from your trip, plug in, and then spend hours at the airport waiting to charge?

I'd like to hear opinions on this.


I think every charging "space" should have a policy clearly posted in writing and in plain view.

I think it was perfectly appropriate for the OP to drive to the Airport and have his car charged while he is away. Airports chargers are a very distinct group and cannot be generalized with other charging etiquette. Who else is going to use an airport charger except someone who is flying and needs the car charged when they get back. Do not blame the OP simply because there are not enough charging stations for other fliers. Its not his fault.

@AmpedRealtor: Right, and until then you cannot, and should not have, gone off on the OP like you did. He broke no rules; he went to an airport and used the charging station for his EV, which is the reason for which they are provided!

"what made you think that you could hog an EV charging station for three days? These are charging stations, not parking spaces!"

Edit: words

I pulled in the the SC at Tejon yesterday and found a Dodge parked in one of the charging stalls, with one person sitting inside and another standing outside the car. I thought they might be making an anti-EV statement by parking there and photographed the car in the stall. That really upset them. What is the problem, we are only sitting here for a few minutes, the woman said? I said that they were in a parking space reserved for EVs and left with our car charging. They left soon thereafter, and within a few minutes, 3 more Tesla pulled up to charge, one using that spot.

I was probably too confrontational as no harm was done by them sitting in the shade of the solar panels for a few minutes, and my comments may have done harm than good to the reputation of EV owners with the general public. However, what might have happened if they had still been there when that space was needed as it was a few minutes later could have been an even more difficult confrontation. So I guess my point is that we may need to relax a bit about minor broaches of protocol, but I certainly agree that taking a spot for 3 days is not acceptable if it is a location that is commonly used by others for short-term charging.

@jeffaa Read what I said. Yes you have every right to do what you want. No. You have even more right than anyone else to do what you want to do.

@ jeffaa - I'm sorry, but I've seen plenty of EV stations at airports. Never once did I believe that those were parking places, given the limited number of them and their location near the entrances. I would never park my car at an airport EV spot unless I first clarified their intended use. Clearly someone was upset at the OP for taking up this space for three days, and that alone implies that the space was misused.

You go to the airport and you see a few spots with chargers. Do you just assume they are parking places reserved just for special EV people and put your car there for however long you wish, or do you first ask someone if that is an acceptable use of the facility? I am the kind of person who would do the latter rather than the former - I want to be in the right if something bad ever happened.

Unless designated as short-term parking (i.e. hourly parking), I consider airport parking spaces, including those with charging stations, long-term parking spots. The whole purpose is to keep the car plugged in and charged when the traveler gets back. I don't think the OP "broke protocol".

Leaving the car on a charger in airport long term parking...okay. Leaving the car on a charger in airport short term parking...not okay. And if Tesla would ever get off the dime and bring back the Sleep Mode, all this would be less of a problem.

@AmpedRealtor Let's see if OP chimes back in about the location of the charging station. But then again, does it really matter where it is located? There are a few parking lots/garages here in Denver that have charging stations located closer to the entrance of said lot. So one might look at it as a bonus for having an electric car.
And one person being upset at the OP absolutely does NOT imply misuse. Maybe this person hates Tesla, or EVs, or cars period. Maybe he was just having a bad day, who knows? Not you or I. How are we to know this person was mad for the reason you stated?

Again, there were no protocols in this particular case. OP did nothing wrong, this time.

Do you have any recommendations on how airport charging stations should be used?

Clearly airport changing stations are meant for travelers. They are parking/charging spots. Using common sense it would almost be rude for me to charge my car as I picked up my family for 30 minutes, potentially taking a spot for someone leaving on a week trip.

I parked at SeaWorld all day in a charging spot because I arrived with less then 10 miles. I can't imagine someone arguing that I should only be in that spot for 1 hour. I would argue that if someone drove 5 miles to get to SeaWorld and didn't need a charge that they should leave the spot open. But how do you "police" don't You just hope for some common sense.

I think if we all use some common sense it works out well. Of course, as with everything in life, there are going to be those people that DON'T.....and ruin a good thing.

(i.e. park in a charging station all day without charging or not needing a charge, going to a movie while at a supercharging station, etc.)

BTW....I just tried to pull my adaptor out without my key. It doesn't come out. I'm guessing it wasn't charging and the guy who took it out was upset about that. Not condoning his actions only trying to make sense of what happened

@ssarker & @stevenmaifert
I completely agree with your thoughts on short term parking spots vs long term parking spots with charging stations at airports.

I don't put this in the same category of "going to a movie while on a Supercharger" at all. It seems to me that airport charging spots should be for long term by definition, but I guess it also depends on how many there are.

To me the bigger question is: how did someone take your adapter if your car was locked? I assume there is no damage to your charge port?

The Protocol is you don't leave your car on a station for three days after charging ends. You're lucky someone didn't just snap the thing off in your port.

@jbunn This Protocol, where does it say that, or where did you read it? Can you share?
And would you risk shock by snapping the thing off if you were in that situation? You might not be so lucky as the OP...

Well, the world is full of socially defect people and there will be some among the MS owners. I think there is no way around it.

Then there are those who just suffer because of something where, even if everyone would honor it, there is just no accepted code of conduct or service offering that makes any sense. Like TeslaMert as I see it.

If you short term park you might need access to a 22kW charger. If you are gone for a few days that seems to not make sense. You should be fine with 3 kW. In any case it would be nice to get your charging equipment back.

I recently asked how they think that works with their 2000€ 22kW charger for dumb CEE32 sockets. Looking at the car charge makes no sense for 2-3 hours from empty. You might want to do that while shopping. But the charger will not be locked to the car or the charging can be stopped by pulling the CEE32 plug and the lock releases anyway. And I am damn sure you will not do that often before your charger finds another "owner".

So, a new frontier, a "chargeiquette" and usefull (long and short term, high and low kW charging offers) might be missing. Until then, only common sense will be with (some of) us.

For Type2 charging that seems to be at least partially clear. Because the cable around 200+€ is at least locked to the car. Maybe it should be standard that 30 min. max. after the charge the locks release and you face the risk of the cable being stolen. In some areas in Germany (e.g. 50 meters from my home) that is solved by a strict no parking zone that is only voided for CHARGING cars. If your car doesn't charge anymore for some time (visible at the charger) or is an ICE age car, you get towed. If you know that you will plan to return to your car.

To common sense!

Nice theory. The practice would seem to be different. Say you arrive at the airport with a low charge state for your three day trip. What are you going to do? Book an extra return ticket to fly back so you can unplug & move your car when charging has finished? Or leave it sitting there and risk the thing being dead when you get back or if not dead, then having a long wait before you can drive off? Or ask someone to drive over (in their ICE probably) to move your car? Or what?

The sensible ideas seem to be low power charging for long term parking and/or having enough charge points in the first place. If we live in a world where people go around thinking that breaking off a charging connector is a fair protest about 'unneccessarily long use of a charge point', then the world is a sadder and more pathetic place than I thought.

@jbunn - In my mind the question is, at an airport, how do you move your car when it's fully charged? You'd have to be hanging around the airport for many hours (those chargers tend to be very slow,) to move the car. Most likely you have flown to your destination and can't possibly move your car. I think the airport chargers fall into a different category from the others. I agree with AmpedRealtor that policies should be posted at all chargers, but right now they are not. I can't see how to use airport chargers any other way. What do you suggest?