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Did you know that an EV parked at a charging station can get a parking ticket and even be towed
if it is not actively charging!
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EVs Getting Tickets at Charging Stations and Even Being Towed
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This could even happen if the car was connected but was fully charged. OK, that has not been reported but it could happen legally given the way some relevant laws have been written. That includes the laws written by the state of California which include the phrase – “if the vehicle is not connected for electric charging purposes.” Consider that a fully charged vehicle can no longer be there for charging purposes if someone wants to get picky about it. Get out the ticket book or call the tow truck – we have another sucker here!? The issue of law and policies is considered in the article about Legalities, Policies and Standards for Charging.

One of our local EV drivers parked at a charger with a weird activation system. It takes too long to start the charger so the driver skipped that and went about their business. The only parking control sign specified Electric Vehicle Parking only, nothing more and nothing less. When they returned they had received a ticket. Yes, an EV parked in an EV only parking space got a parking ticket.

James Reach is a local Tesla driver, an attorney and an EV advocate who decided to dig in and find out what was going on. He uncovered the ordinance for the City of Oxnard where that occurred. The ordinance (see related article) supported the ticket. James contacted the police department to find out about how the police were interpreting the ordinance. He reports that “They told me that they not only checked to see if the cars were plugged in but they also looked at the charger to see if it was still charging. The charger has a light that comes on when charging and goes out when charging is completed.”

The ticket story ended with the ticket being invalidated due to inadequate signage – but who needs that kind of grief.

All of this has set off alarm bells in the local EV community. It is one of the things that the newly formed EV Advocates is taking on as a project. The group has set about finding ways to keep this sort of thing from happening and to create an EV charging system that makes sense and supports EV drivers and increased EV use.

Doing EV charging well means giving the drivers what they need in a convenient and affordable way. It raises some questions that will influence the use of EVs. These include:
Parking and Charging At EV Charging Stations
Links to help others find this information
EV Stickers
& Books
Community
Solutions
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Santa Monica
Solution
Santa Monica
Solution
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Copyright 2014 Russell Sydney, All rights reserved.
Articles on Related Subjects
  1. Do we want to have to move our electric car every time it gets fully charged at a public charging station? 
  2. Does it make sense for EVs to be subjected to shorter parking time limits than ICE vehicles? 
  3. Do we want to be able to share chargers such that people can take the charger from our car once we have a full charge?
Spelling out what convenient and affordable charging looks like from the EV drivers point of view is a good starting point for getting this right. The conditions that are of concern include:
  1. Allowing EVs to park at the chargers long enough to get a decent charge 
  2. Allowing EVs to stay after the vehicle is fully charged up to the time limit for other vehicles in that location 
  3. Allowing EVs parked in adjacent parking spaces to use the charger when another vehicle is fully charged (sharing chargers) without triggering a citation for the vehicle in the main EV parking space. 
  4. Keeping one EV from blocking the charger longer than is reasonable after getting a reasonable charge 
  5. Keeping Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles from blocking the chargers
The affordable part is a challenging piece of this. It involves the business model involved, the utility rate schedules, demand charges and the way that the billing of fees is handled. Billing by the minute or the hour is not equitable due to the different charge rates for different vehicles. Getting the details sorted out about billing by the unit of electricity – a kilowatt hour – is the real long term solution. The industry is moving in that direction.

The time limit restriction only makes sense as long as it is the same for all vehicles in that parking area. Otherwise it seems prejudicial against EVs. Why should we have to move our vehicles more often than anyone else?

There is one answer that would make sense to non EV drivers, particularly people operating the parking and EV Chargers. That answer is to make the charger available to more drivers by asking EV drivers to move in less time than ICE drivers. That has some advantage to the EV drivers as it increases the likelihood of finding a charger. The drawbacks are obvious in that the EV drivers have to move our vehicles more often and may not get a full charge. What is less obvious to the non EV driver is that EV drivers already have to walk much further from the charger to their destination given that the charging stations are a very small percentage of the existing parking spaces.

Another option that might be friendlier to the EV driver is to build the charging system so that it supports sharing the limited number of charging stations available. Implementing that takes knowledge about installing the charging stations and providing the right legalities and policies. There are additional articles in this month’s newsletter that cover both of these concerns

Unless EV drivers want to spend even more time dealing with chargers, it might be a good idea to do outreach and education. That would include creating groups for this purpose as discussed in the EV Advocacy articles. Did anyone mention that hanging out with other EV drivers can be a good time!
Sharing Charging Stations
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Charging Station Legalities and Policies