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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

A quarter of EV owners left running on empty by loved ones this Christmas

New Research1 from Direct Line Motor Insurance reveals that nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of EV owners have been refused permission to charge their vehicle when visiting their friends or family members.

With Christmas around the corner, many EV owners will be planning their journeys carefully and relying on re-charging their vehicles once they arrive at their loved one’s homes. Just under half (46 per cent) of Brits say they would be comfortable letting visitors charge their EV at their home, no questions asked and one in ten (8 per cent) have admitted they would never let their friends or family charge their vehicle, leaving many running on empty before being able to return home after the festive period.

Electric Vehicles

For what reason would you let a friend or relative charge their EV at your home1?

Reason given


If they were low on charge / couldn’t get home

20 per cent

If they had travelled a long way to see me

13 per cent

If they were doing me a favour

6 per cent

I would never let them charge

8 per cent

Unsurprisingly, 86 per cent of petrol or diesel car drivers would not ask for a contribution towards their fuel when visiting friends and family. But EVs have changed this dynamic, with 53 per cent of Brits admitting that they are more likely to let someone charge their car than offer to pay for their fuel. With a full charge usually costing between £17 and £282 per vehicle, Brits could be looking at a total additional cost of £9m on their electricity bills this Christmas3.

A fifth (18 per cent) of those who would let loved ones charge their EV wouldn’t charge for charging but admitted that they would be annoyed if their loved ones didn’t at least offer a contribution towards the cost. It seems there’s an age split in the etiquette, with 17 per cent of 18 – 34 year olds feeling comfortable asking for a contribution towards charging costs, over three times that of those aged 55+ (5 per cent).


Commenting on the evolving topic of protocol when charging electric vehicles, former Royal Butler and leading etiquette expert, Grant Harrold said:

“Christmas is about the season of goodwill and thinking of others and being around loved ones. In order to be together in the 21st century more and more cars are now electric. So, when preparing the Christmas treats, presents and meals also be ready to offer your electricity to EV owners so they are able to visit you, after all, if Santa’s sleigh was EV due to the reindeer being on holiday, I am sure you would offer him some electricity to ensure he can visit you and others.”


Grant Harrold’s top tips on EV charging etiquette:

1.       Ahead of the Christmas period, always ensure your EV car is fully charged in order to reduce the number of times you may need to charge when visiting friends and family


2.       If you need to use your family or friend’s electricity to charge your car, please remember to always ask in advance, and do offer to pay something towards using it. If they decline money, then do take a gift to say thank you


3.       If other family members need to use the charger as well perhaps work out who needs to leave first so they charge their car first, or it may turn it into a game of musical chargers


4.       When writing your Christmas thank you letters remember to thank the hosts for their electricity as without it you may have had a very blue Christmas indeed


5.       Remember your inner Mary Poppins! Always make sure you tidy up and leave the charging area tidy. Your family or friends will not thank you if you leave charging cables hanging out everywhere


6.       Do not brag about having an EV when at Christmas parties/events, remember not everyone wants one/ can afford one so be respectful of other people’s situations


Lorraine Price, Head of Motor Insurance at Direct Line, commented: 

“Whilst most of us wouldn’t dream of asking our hosts to chip in towards fuel when visiting them, it is completely acceptable to ask if you can plug in to charge your EV.  That being said, over a quarter of EV owners may find themselves running low on charge if refused access to charging points by loved ones. EV charging points at service stations are likely to be busy over the festive period so it’s important to plan ahead and to make sure that your hosts are happy for you to charge your vehicle at their homes. And if they don’t have a charging point already, being prepared for this as well. ”

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