A preview of a future parking controversy - are hybrid cars allowed to use electric car parking?

reikiman's picture

6cfa3aa2.jpgHere in California there are electric vehicle charging stations in some parking lots or garages. Primarily these were installed in the period 10+ years ago when the EV Mandate was still strong. Obviously EV success is more assured when there is recharging infrastructure. Part of the success of gas cars is the existing gasoline recharging infrastructure that lets gas car owners to conveniently drive anywhere. It's so ubiquitous and ingrained in everybody's thinking that they don't even consider the inconvenience it is to stop at a gas station or the times they run out of gas before finding a gas station or the network of businesses that exist to assist recharging gas cars who inconveniently ran out of gas before their operator found a gasoline recharging station.

In any case later this year there will be several electric vehicles come onto the market. Occurring in parallel with these vehicles are projects to build new EV recharging infrastructure. A US Dept of Energy program is building EV charging networks in 13 cities around the US. Nissan specifically chose cities for their initial rollout based on willingness to build EV charging infrastructure. etc. It's widely understood there is a chicken-and-egg situation where prospective EV owners are less likely to buy if there's no charging infrastructure, and prospective owners of charging infrastructure are less likely to build if there are no electric vehicles.

The experience from the EV Mandate era is something from which we can learn lessons, and the need for infrastructure is one of those lessons. One of the lessons is what EV owners have called being ICE'd out. "ICE" means "Internal Combustion Engine" and the ICE'd Out is what happens when an ICE car uses the parking reserved for EV's. The EV parking spots were usually installed at "the front", most places put them near the front of the store perhaps next to the handicap parking. The enforcement of EV parking rules has been spotty especially considering that very few electric vehicles exist and the EV parking usually goes unused. It seems that, often, the EV parking spots have gas cars parked in them. The ICE car in EV parking prevents an EV car from using that parking spot.

Would gas car owners appreciate it if a contingent of EV owners parked their cars to block all access to gasoline stations? No. But that's the effect of an EV owner being ICE'd Out. An ICE'd Out EV owner is being prevented from recharging their car just as if a gas car owner would be if their gasoline stations were blocked.

fdb38010.jpgI've been experiencing a strange form this at my workplace. At the office there are EV charging spots in the parking garage that were installed 10+ years ago. What's shown in these pictures is the EV parking, and a hybrid car that blatantly is parked in the EV charging. What appears to have happened is over 10 years of disuse some especially blatant hybrid car owners have decided that their hybrid car qualifies them to use EV parking. While I appreciate that hybrid car owners have taken some step to decrease their environmental impact, they just don't get it. Maybe they're under a delusion that EV parking is a perk rather than a necessity. EV charging in parking lots is almost as much a necessity as handicapped access is in parking lots. Electric car owners have to recharge their cars and, unlike gasoline recharging infrastructure, electric recharging infrastructure is in parking lots. Hybrid car owners cannot use the electric recharging facilities, unless they are plug-in hybrids.

This is easily predictable.. As electric cars start being sold later this year, and as EV charging networks are improved or built, there will be some confusion over who can park in them. It will be like the competition over handicapped parking where some uncaring nonhandicapped people use the spots reserved for the handicapped. There will be signs clearly marking EV parking, just as there are signs clearly marking handicapped parking. But some simply won't care, or won't understand, etc. A lot will depend on how many EV's are bought and how well used the EV parking is. Maybe. For example it's kinda sorta understandable if you squint your eyes right that unused EV or handicap parking rubs people the wrong way ("the best parking spots are never used.. WTF").


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before comments


Right on!

Only one thought; why do EV spaces need to be in "desirable" locations? I get why handicapped spaces need to be at the front, but surely having your car be supplied with "go juice" is worth walking from the back of the lot.

Electric vehicle charging equipped parking spaces should be reserved only for vehicles that are using the charge facility! If the vehicle is not physically connected to the charge point, the vehicle should be towed away, and the owner fined. Placement of these spaces is often done with consideration to the COST of installing the wiring, so near to the building may be less expensive.-Bob

Robert M. Curry

Mik's picture

I have the same problem with the ICE motorbikes at my workplace. The charging power points are always used up by ICE bikes.

But who cares, the Vectux seems to be the only EV around and I have not ridden it in about 6 months!

The secret to keeping the ICE vehicles off the charging spots is to keep EV's on them!

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

reikiman's picture

The secret to keeping the ICE vehicles off the charging spots is to keep EV's on them!

Yes, true. The hybrid owners here have pretty much stopped ICE'ing the EV charging spots. The way this worked out is - the first day I drove to work, I talked with the security people and ended up talking with the facilities person who organizes the charging stations. The message was - hey there will be more EV's coming this fall so it's a good idea to prepare ahead of time.

Someone (either security or facilities) put up extra signage beyond the green signs you see above. The extra sign is the white one below the green, it has a message saying that "hybrid cars are not electric". Another thing was to put a red pylon in one of the spaces -- supposedly that pylon was supposed to mark my reserved spot but I've been leaving that pylon in place and parking in the next spot over. There's been a Tesla Roadster parking regularly in the spot where the pylon is located.

This means most days two of the EV spots are taken - and the extra signage - and now the hybrid cars have pretty much stopped ICE'ing the EV parking. Took several weeks of consistently using the EV parking.

Unfortunately it means I've stopped taking the mass transit. I'd been taking the bus and/or riding an e-bicycle. But ... if you had a choice between a 20 minute electric car drive or a 45 minute trek on mass transit, which would you use? So far it's the electric car that's winning.

Unfortunate side effect: I've put on some pounds that I'd lost during the period that I was walking more often due to taking the bus.

Mik's picture

It's a bit like most efforts to create a paperless office: The paper use grows massively in the process!

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

"there will be some confusion over who can park in them."

Only more reasons to enforce and hand out parking tickets. :)


Hey, what a great little Karman Ghia! An asset to any garage!


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