Gentle Reminder: Stop Parking Your Cars in Electric Charging Stalls

Imagine being unable to get gas because cars are parked in front of all the pumps.

byRob Stumpf|
Electric Vehicles photo

The automotive paradigm is quickly shifting towards the electrification of cars. But despite key industry players investing in fast charging stations around the world, the number of chargers isn't increasing parallel to the number of electric vehicles on the road. This poses a problem mostly in dense environments where charging and parking are both scarce, and short commutes are the name of the travel game. Unfortunately, another layer of complexity has made its way to those looking for a charge: treating chargers like parking spaces.

Electric Car owners call it "being ICE'd"; a non-electric car with an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) pulls up to a charging station and parks there because (to them) it equates to an empty spot. For those driving EVs, these spaces are more akin to a gas pump than just another spot in a parking lot. Imagine needing to fuel up at the last station for 25 miles, and every single spot was filled by a person inside gallivanting the snack and soda isles for half an hour or more. That's what this feels like.

A member of a Tesla owners Facebook group posted a photo taken on one of Canada's busiest times to shop: Boxing Day. At the Vaughan Mills Mall in Ontario Canada, there were 20 Tesla Superchargers available for owners to charge their cars. Of those 20 chargers, 16 contained non-electric cars who utilized the spaces to park rather than charge, despite the "no parking" signs on every space. We reached out to Vaughan Mills Mall for comment on its standard operating procedure when non-charging vehicles are parked in charging stalls, however, no person that we spoke with was able to provide a comment on how this event is handled.

Boxing Day at the Vaughan Mills Mall in Ontario, Canada, via Facebook

This behavior isn't exclusive to just traditional gas-powered cars. Tesla owners have called out other Tesla drivers for the same behavior; treating the chargers as if they were exclusive parking for anyone with a green enough carbon footprint to own an EV. This thought process is also damaging, especially as the charging situation continues to worsen as EV sales continue to jump in numbers. In order to combat this, Tesla has even been charging owners "idle fees" of up to 40 cents per minute if they continued to stay connected to a Supercharger after their charge was completed.

It's possible that owners of non-charging cars simply don't realize that they're doing something wrong, though it's hard to imagine missing the signs saying otherwise. Those offending might also simply not care about their actions. This could be the mindset of "nobody has an electric car," or believing that the spots are a sign of entitlement and nothing more (this also goes for owners parking and not charging). It's hard to say which category offenders fall under, but the public charging model isn't efficient or sustainable this way.

Simply put, stop parking cars in charging spots if you're not charging, no matter if you own a petrol-powered or an electric car. Just remember that as an average consumer in a world shifting towards EVs, you very well may fall victim to ICEing one day when you really need a charge.