Tesla's Sentry Mode is such a fantastic feature for so many reasons, and there's no need to list them all here again. Perhaps one of the least important but interesting nonetheless, things you can view is people that are just walking close to your car. Often, however, some people are there inexplicably to do harm to the vehicle, and in this case, unplug a Model 3 from a public charging station only 15 minutes after they plugged in, so she could plug in her EV instead. 

This isn't the first time we've seen Tesla Sentry Mode video footage of someone unplugging a Tesla so they can plug their EV in, and we're sure it won't be the last, because of how Tesla vehicles need to use an adapter to use a J1772 connector-equipped charging station. 

Tesla Model 3 unplugged
The accused energy bandit

While unplugging an EV isn't technically a crime - yet, it is just flat out wrong to do, under nearly any circumstance. The only time it's acceptable is if you're 100% certain the EV has finished charging. However, unplugging an actively-charging EV has been happening ever since EVs have been available, and the reason many electric vehicle manufacturers make their EVs so the connector locks to the car while charging, and cannot be unplugged unless the doors are unlocked also. 

Tesla's work that way also, but in this case, the Model 3 owner was charging on a public level 2 charging station with a J1772 connector, not a Tesla-specific connector. Therefore they needed to use the Tesla-supplied J1772 adapter that comes with every Tesla. Unfortunately, if you use the adapter, you cannot lock the connector to the car. The adapter locks to the car so nobody can steal that, but the J1772 connector doesn't lock to the adapter and can be simply unplugged. 

CapturePro Charging Lock for Tesla
CapturePro Charging Lock for Tesla Available from Evannex

The good news is that there are 3rd party suppliers like Evannex that sell a J1772 charging lock protector. These devices slide over the Tesla adapter and prevent the J1772 Lock release from lifting, which prevents someone from disconnecting the J772 connector from your Tesla adapter. 

There's also another method of helping to curb this inappropriate EV charging behavior. This actually dates back to the very early days of EVs in the late 1990s when the GM EV1 and a few other limited-production early electric vehicles were on the roads in California. At the time, there were so few public charging stations that owners figured out a system to share them so everyone could get charged up and make their destinations. 

They started leaving notes on their dashboards with their cell phone (or beeper, LOL) numbers with a time that they will be returning to unplug their car. That way the person who pulls up with an EV would know when the charger would be available, and could even call the other driver if they were in desperate need to plug in.

That worked pretty well at the time, but it was a very small EV community and the few people driving them really wanted to make electric vehicles work and go mainstream, so they were usually very polite to each other. Those days are long gone. 

EV etiquette hang tags
The Take Charge And Go Charging Etiquette hang tags

Then about 7 years ago, Jack Brown started a company called "Take Charge And Go" and designed chargeport hangtags that were reusable. They allowed the owner to put their cell phone number on the hangtag, and even write the time at which their car would have enough charge so someone else can use it. There are two sides to the hang tags, one that say's "It's OK to Unplug" and the other side reads "Do Not Unplug". 

Since Brown came out with these he's sold tens of thousands of them and had dozens of companies order them with their branding, handing them out for free at events and even reselling them. Unfortunately, there's been a lot of other companies that have simply copied the hangtags, word for word, and printed them themselves to sell. 

If you live an area that has a high EV adoption rate, and public chargers are frequently all being used, we think these hang tags are a great way to foster goodwill among the EV community and help out drivers. It may also help your car from being damaged if someone tried to forcefully remove a locked connector from your car. A little pleasant EV etiquette can go along way.

The moral of the story? Don't be a jerk; never unplug another EV (any EV, even plug-in hybrids) while they are charging. Be a good member of the EV community and let others plug in if they need to and you really don't. And if you drive a Tesla and frequently need to use level 2 public charging stations with a J1772 connector, get a lock for your chargeport so you won't get unplugged when you really need to charge. 

Got a tip for us? Email: tips@insideevs.com