They’re springing up everywhere from shopping malls to freeway rest stops, and they provide a useful service to anyone with an electric car, especially if they’re low on charge. Yet electric car public charging stations are often the subject of an intense debate between electric car and non electric car drivers.
For a start, there’s the problem of ICEing. The name given to the act of parking a vehicle powered by an Internal Combustion Engine in an electric car space, ICEing is a major problem in many towns and cities around the world, with differing levels of punishment for those who violate electric car only parking laws.
Then there’s the other side of the argument: those who argue that electric car owners are getting special treatment when (usually) prime parking spaces are converted into electric car parking spots. Often criticised for not being used enough by local news outlets and residents, electric car only parking and charging spaces come under an almost constant attack for being a waste of taxpayer money.
As always, there are two sides to every argument. Electric car drivers like to know charging exists at their destination and often patronise specific businesses because they have charging stations installed on site. Those who genuinely have difficulty walking longer distances for health reasons feel that they are being marginalised.
Here at Transport Evolved, we’ve been lucky in our many years of electric car driving. For the most part, we’ve always been able to charge at a location where someone has blocked the charging station with an ICE car, or — with a few scary exceptions — managed to convince those parked in the way of a charging station to politely move on.
Other electric car drivers we’ve talked to have been less lucky, receiving physical threats from ICE car drivers blocking an electric car parking space or complete indifference from parking attendants to their problem. But we’ve also heard from drivers who say they’ve come across electric cars parked in electric car parking spaces which haven’t been plugged in, or are parked long after they’ve finished charging. In both of these instances, the offending electric cars have prevented others from plugging in and charging.
So it’s got us thinking. How would you like to see electric car charging stations set up? From a practical point of view, electric car charging stations are traditionally located near buildings where there’s easy access to power. As well as keeping installation costs down, it also serves as an added security feature as it ensures charging stations located close to entrances aren’t vandalised so easily.
On the other hand, charging stations near entrances in prime parking spots are more likely to be ICEd — and more likely to upset those who genuinely struggle with their mobility.
So we’re reaching out to you, our readers, to help us define a set of five top rules you’d like charging station providers, electric car owners, and businesses to bear in mind when siting, using, and maintaining public electric car charging infrastructure.
How would you ensure everyone gets a fair charge? How would you explain to ICE car owners the importance of being able to charge?
And what sort of policies would you like to see put in place to keep everyone happy?
Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the Comments below.
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