Yes, parking in a space dedicated to charging electric cars can be very expensive.

It is not uncommon not to be able to recharge your electric car because of a thermal vehicle parked in the places dedicated to recharging. Abusive parking that goes by many names and that is as common with thermal vehicles as it is with electric vehicles. A practice which penalizes electric motorists and which can however be very expensive for the scatterbrained or provocateurs who are responsible for it!

Source: Vincent Sergère // Frandroid

Imagine. You are on the road, your fuel gauge has just come on, you need a fuel pump quickly. Phew! The next station is only a few kilometers away, enough to give you a few cold sweats by the time you arrive. And there on the spot, it is amazement: the pumps are not accessible. Cars are parked in front. Worse: electric cars!

This situation, which seems ludicrous for anyone driving a thermal car, is nevertheless everyday life for anyone driving an electric car: the places reserved for recharging so-called “zero emission” cars are often squatted by cars that have no business there. And this as well in a small village, as on dedicated spaces in a supermarket car park or even in stations reserved for electric!

Yes, but there is a “but”: compared to our reverse story of the vehicle that cannot fill its tank, excessive parking is not necessarily the result of a thermal car. Sometimes it’s even the opposite, with an electric car that doesn’t charge… or that finished charging a long time ago! Or when electro-motorists shoot themselves in the foot!

Example of an electric Dacia Spring parked without recharging. // Source: Mael Pilven

Pure wickedness or simple ignorance of the rules? Jealousy or thoughtlessness? I don’t care or claim? One thing is certain, and we will see, it can be very expensive for anyone who parks abusively in these spaces reserved for electric vehicles!

Call them EVhole or ICEing

This phenomenon of abusive parking in places dedicated to charging electric cars is already so widespread throughout the world that it has a name. Even several. We are talking in particular about ICEing, which is based on the acronym ICE in English meaning Internal Combustion Engine, understand internal combustion or thermal cars. We add “-ing” to it to make it a verb, which could be translated as “thermer”.

Another name that applies more broadly to these suction cup cars that block those who would like to charge their car with ions: EVhole. EV being the acronym ofelectric-vehicle, again in the language of Shakespeare, and “-hole” to get closer to the English insult “asshole”, whose French translation is very close to a certain cheese called “Trou du cru”. CQFD.

If initially this phenomenon aimed at blocking places comes mainly from the United States, where the parking of pick-ups in front of Tesla Superchargers reflected the aversion that some people have for the electric car (there is also the “coal-rolling” consisting of drowning an electric car in a cloud of black smoke), with us it is certainly more nuanced.

A thermal car in a space reserved for electric cars

Let’s start with the case of thermal cars that park in spaces reserved for electric cars. And especially when recharging them! If the pictogram on the ground with generally a car surrounded by a socket (when it is not written “Electric” in full) and the terminal at the end of the square are obviously not enough to put the chip in your ear of the motorist who comes to squat a space, this can be due to several reasons.

There are those who had their habits in this place before it was a dedicated place. There is thoughtlessness. The fact that the places dedicated to electricity are still often empty… Whatever the case, the law says the same thing: it is an offence.

Source: Vincent Sergere

What the law says:

As “recent” as electric cars and the installation of charging stations on our roads are, the inconvenient parking of a car in a space intended for charging an electric car is indeed part of the highway code. .

More specifically in the Section relating to dangerous, inconvenient or abusive stopping or parking, in article R417-10. Here is what he says:

“The stopping or parking of a vehicle (…) in front of devices intended for recharging electric vehicles is considered to be a hindrance to public traffic. »

What penalties?

Still in this article R417-10 of the Highway Code, just go down a little lower to learn more about the penalties provided:

“Any awkward stopping or parking provided for by this article is punished by the fine provided for second class contraventions”.

The second class fixed fine is 35 euros. But it can be worse if the owner of the vehicle or the driver refuses to stop the abusive parking, immobilization of the vehicle or impoundment may be requested.

Source: Vincent Sergere

An electric car must be charged in the spaces intended for charging

Can we park in a space marked “electric” without recharging?

Improper parking in spaces intended for recharging electric vehicles is not the result of an opposition between combustion-powered and electric cars. And often even, they are zero-emission cars that block their counterparts, whether electric or plug-in hybrids. But why is that? Simply because of a simple confusion, probably due to a lack of information.

“Recharging” is not “parking”

The crux of the problem comes from the confusion between the simple parking reserved for an electric car, and parking to recharge. Because we are talking about parking spaces “intended for recharging an electric car”, and this is how it is written in the Highway Code. Hence the charging station which is not just an artifice.

So no, no matter how much you drive an electric car, if you have no intention or need to recharge, then the places marked for electric vehicles are just as prohibited as for internal combustion vehicles. And given the number of times it happens, there is necessarily a lack of information among electro-motorists. And clearly a lack of common sense.

Of the four cars parked here, only two were plugged in! // Source: Mael Pilven

What the law says:

You are driving an electric vehicle, of course, but for all that, if you park improperly in a space intended for this type of vehicle, but without recharging, then your vehicle is considered annoying, in the same way as a thermal vehicle. in the same place.

What penalties?

And according to article R417-10 of the Highway Code, this means a second class fixed fine, i.e. 35 euros, or even the immobilization or impoundment of your electric vehicle.

Recharge completed, up to 55 euros per hour more

And then there is the case, again considered abusive, of the electric car which is parked in a space intended for it. And who’s hooked up. How is this abusive then? Well quite simply that it no longer recharges, that it is at 100% battery charge, and that it squats in place. A suction cup car which therefore becomes as illegitimate as if it were not charging, even still connected to the terminal, since it prevents another motorist who needs it from coming to connect.

And in this case, be careful, because it can cost the negligent motorist very very expensive. Well beyond even the fixed fine of 35 euros!

Unjustified occupancy charges

Some charging operators apply what are called “unjustified occupancy fees” which can very quickly drive up the bill. And some have already had very bad surprises when they received the receipt for the charge.

Here are the prices posted by a few operators who charge unjustified occupancy fees:

  • Belib: 10 euros/hour after 2 p.m.
  • Tesla Supercharger: 0.50 euros / min after 5 min – 1 euros / min if the station is full / between 22.50 and 55 euros per hour
  • TotalEnergies: 0.20 euros/min beyond 45 min

Example :

Now let’s take a simple example: you leave your car (Tesla or other) one hour too long at a Supercharger. “Only” one hour. You plugged in your car when it actually needed to be charged. But taken by a sudden fever of purchase, your shopping session lengthens a little. Problem, you forget your car connected to the Supercharger located in the parking lot of the commercial area. And whose battery is already up to 100%.

Over the hour, you will be billed as follows: 55 minutes x 0.50 cents = 22.50 euros. It’s expensive time! And again in your misfortune, you are in luck: the Teslas are not jostling at the Supercharger that day. Because otherwise, you could be charged 55 euros for the hour too much!

What solutions?

Thoughtlessness, provocation or I don’t care, whatever the cause of this abusive parking in spaces dedicated to charging electric vehicles, it absolutely must stop. So what would be the solutions to stem this phenomenon?

The hard way…

There is the hard way. Like some punchy operations like in Sweden where groups of Tesla owners went to park at gas pumps for a few minutes to raise awareness among owners of thermal cars. It’s a safe bet that the message actually gets through, but this kind of operation probably only reinforces the absurd divide that some make between electric and thermal. While we are above all a motorist, we share the same roads.

In the same vein, there is the even stronger, not to say violent, manner of certain American motorists who have gone so far as to show force by towing disruptive vehicles with their electric model. And a Model X has no trouble dragging a pickup a little further to free up space. But there again that would only reinforce the animosity, whereas the goal is to raise awareness.

…and the way that works!

If the sanction with us sometimes costs almost the same price as the parking ticket, then perhaps we should go downright further and impose downright dissuasive fines. Like in Australia, which went up a gear a few weeks ago by chasing down cars that park without charging in spaces intended for electric charging. Thermal cars are just as targeted as unplugged electric ones!

Thus in the State of New South Wales (NSW or New South Wales), the fine is set not at 35 euros as in France but at 1760 euros (2875 dollars), while in Queensland, it rises to 3200 dollars, the equivalent here of 1960 euros. Nearly 2000 euros in fines for parking in the wrong place, that’s enough to deter, isn’t it?

Without perhaps reaching such extremes, we can only hope that awareness will be raised naturally with the parallel increase in the number of electric vehicles and the number of terminals in France and elsewhere, and therefore new electro-motorists who better understand the challenges of recharging.

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