Originally published on CleanTechnica.

I live in an area with plenty of EV chargers, and typically I experience no charging problems due to lack of chargers. A few times, I’ve found gas cars in EV charging spaces. So I slowly moved on. The question arising: Why does a gas car park directly in front of a sign plainly stating ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING ONLY? More than once, there were other empty spaces in the parking garage — so why?

I wondered. Not a grand imposition as much as a “Why?015-e1457811571945 copy

Finally, one day I did have an out-of-town trip with a time issue. I needed to charge as much as possible before getting on the road into busy traffic. Congestion at all parking lots due to a downtown art show made this a chaotic day pedestrian- and traffic-wise. On busy days with festivals, the parking garage with chargers fills up. I went to the one lone charger not in a parking garage on my way out of town. I experienced my first more bothersome effort in search of an open EV station. A gas-guzzler (non-EV) was in one of my regular small charging spots — in a parking lot with only one EV spot. Rerouting inconveniently to find another, I was late, and yes, the blocking SUV contributed to my tardiness. The huge SUV was parked in a tiny space clearly meant for a moderate to small EV. The SUV sandwiched in dangerously close to any opening doors seemed ridiculous enough — let alone that the driver could not read.

2015-12-05-17.33.44-e1449357312566 (3)A tightly bound huge GAS-ONLY SUV between two other cars in front of the sign ELECTRIC VEHICLE PARKING ONLY — societal unconsciousness?

Questioning again: Was this arrogance or ignorance toward EVs? What have you? There was no mistaking the sign in front of the SUV. ELECTRIC VEHICLE PARKING ONLY. I flash in my mind’s eye what would happen if a tidy Nissan LEAF sat in front of the gas station blocking cars in need of fuel.

A few days later, the same spot in a parking lot, there sits another gas car. This time, there are empty parking spots in the parking lot. I park a few spots away to see if I can stretch the plug to my EV — “no, not long enough.” As I return it to the charging port directly in front of the unplugged car minus an EV plug-in spot, I look at the sign directly in front of the driver’s window: ELECTRIC VEHICLE PARKING ONLY.

The driver must think the attendant does not know the difference between a gas car and an electric car. My LEAF three spots down is a bit too far for the plug to reach. Mr. or Ms. blue gas-only car probably could have parked here — not an EV spot. Even with an EV, I only park when charging in an EV parking spot.

Why do they do this? Do they think EVs are non-existent?

Perhaps this is why some spots are also painted on the ground beneath — as the spot pictured below is. So if the driver somehow misses the sign in front of their window, they may notice the road underneath. EV. Compact Car Only. ELECTRIC VEHICLE PARKING.


Well, that’s the end of my rant.

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16 thoughts on “What Does ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING ONLY Mean?

  1. They should be labeled “electric car charging”, not parking. I only use public DCFC, and I get blocked by Tesla, Volt, Prius, and Leaf (done charging), so “getting ICED” is not only from ICE cars. I just double park or triple park to charge, and it doesn’t matter if I block their way since they don’t come even after I’m done charging.

    Blocked from ICE is bad, but getting ICED from EV is even worse. Far more encounter is with Leaf on 50 kW DCFC at only 2 kW (4% utilization) and take full 30 minutes. Technically, they are charging, but they could do just as well with L2 and let others who need FAST charging use it. I call it getting Leafracked.


    1. I just leave my unlocked and say to feel free to remove the charger if I’m not available, but people are actually quite friendly here in Dallas, so have not run into an issue from other EV drivers, just the ICE cars for sure.

      1. That’s fine if there are enough spots for other cars to pull up and use the charger. But often the problem is that there are no spots, forcing people to double park their cars while charging. That also prevents people from going to get groceries or other short task while charging.

        1. i recently installed an app that’s supposed to help with this too: ChargeBump. supposed to let you ping other EV drivers when the spot is occupied and you want to take it over.

          sadly it seems no one else has it installed. seems like something all the EV makers ought to standardize and build into their brand-specific apps. that would surely help make the EZ community a little more introspective.

          i’ve not seen any of the frustrations you vent about at your blog in the boston area, but i have my own issues – mostly with broken DCQC chargers at nissan dealerships or DCQC with ICE dealer-owned inventory parked in the EV spots. 100% of my charging frustraions have been one or both of the above. not once have i had a bad experience with some other EV taking up a DCQC spot for too long.

          i’ve actually had the opposite be true; pulling up to a DCQC spot i’ve had other LEAF drivers pop out of restaurants and say, “saw you pull up – i should be topped off by now, let me move my car for you”. could be more of a local cultural thing though (i’m actually ~30 minutes OUTSIDE of the city and wouldn’t expect the same courtesy in more urban areas).

          1. I don’t use smartphone, so it’s not good for me. Lack of ChargeBump usage is what I heard, but would people be so polite? I don’t know, maybe I’m getting too cynical.

            If your DCFC is sitting empty most of the time, that means there’s lack of EV that get free charging in your area. If that ever come to pass, you’ll be frustrated with people clogging up “free” DCFC instead of charging at home. Why should they charge at home and pay when they can plug in while at market (or at movies!) and get it for free?

    2. wow you really hate us leaf drivers.

      for what it is worth:
      – i bought my 2012 SL LEAF used last May, so i’m not in the “no charge to charge” program
      – nrg eVgo is by far the most expensive charging option for me around here (Boston area, MA)
      – there are pretty much zero CCS compatible cars around here (very few nation-wide too, really) and the ONLY CCS chrfgers around here are eVgo

      i HAVE charged at eVgos a few times. but i would never wander far from the charger. too fracking expensive. and my 2012 leaf has a 3.3kw onboard charger, so an L2 charger is pretty much never a meaningful option for me.

      the leaf DOES take a lot longer to charge on DCQC (chademo) than i had hoped; roughly an hour per top-off on a recent (March 6th) trip of 107 miles (214 miles round trip, which resulted in 6 required charging sessions total and cost me over $35 just at eVgo chargers (and i tried avoiding them like the plague).

      i just plunked down $1k for a tesla model 3 reservation a few days ago and i’m looking forward to the upgrade in a couple years. till then, well, if you ever visit this area you’ll be fine: there is pretty much NEVER another car parked at a DCQC charger around here, though being that you have CCS and there are maybe ~4 CCS chargers in all of MA, there would be lots of contention the moment a CCS vehicle starts selling around here.

      1. I don’t hate all leaf drivers. I have encountered LeafSaints, like Todd in my blog commenter who gave me the Leaf data and who charge at night. However, they are far more Leaf slow charging with DCFC or taking dual head and preventing CCS when Chademo was left empty. I have special terms for those situations, getting Leafed and Leafracked. With widespread Model 3 to newcomers, I hope etiquette won’t degenerate with Tesla drivers.

        Not sure if you’re on eVgo plan, but at $0.10/min, six 30 minutes would be 180 minutes, or $18. I find that membership costs less than no membership if you use eVgo at least 2 times a month. See my blog on Public chargers in SoCal

        1. I’m on evgo flex plan because I use then so rarely that it’s not worth $15 or $6 per month on top of charging costs.

          so I get hit with a $5 dcqc session fee plus $0.20/min

          level 2 (3.3kw) is $1.50/hr

        2. also worth noting (and you should consider updating your blog based on this) is that:
          a) bmw and ford also have no-charge-to-charge type programs; and
          b) nissan no-charge-to-charge actually costs the driver money if they stay plugged in to a DCFC longer than 30 minutes

          for point b) see here: https://www.nrgevgo.com/special-offers/nissan-no-charge-charge/

          copied from that page for your convenience: “Session times are 30 minutes for DC charging and 60 minutes for Level 2 charging, completely free. At the end of a session, you will be assessed additional fees at a rate of $0.10 per minute for DC charging and $1.00 per hour for Level 2 charging.”

          so beyond 30 minutes of DCFC those leafrackers are racking up the same $0.10/minute that you are paying. at least they aren’t paying $180/yr for the “low” electric rate (which matches the exact cost per kwh as i pay at home charging in my garage…)

          so the argument that they are being rude because, “hey why not, it’s free” doesn’t quite hold up. maybe their thought process is, “hey why not, it’s relatively cheap”…?

          of course if THAT’s the case then the same motive would apply to ALL drivers on the $180/yr plan. in fact you might argue that those who pay for it directly would have more motive to stay on the charger since they could be thinking “i paid for this so i’m going to use it”.

          since i pay $5 per session and $0.20/min you won’t see me plugged in any longer than necessary.

          1. BMW i3 charges quick enough that it’s done far before 30 minutes whereas Leaf tapers so severely that they always take 30 minutes. Some Leaf drivers plug out, then plug in again for second 30 minute session as I discuss in my blog. Yes, i3 result in some waiting, but almost all waiting is for Leaf.

            I point out in my blog why you can’t get i3fracked (or SparkEVFracked); it simply not possible since they won’t be charging at 2 kW using 50 kW charger like Leaf. They use CCS, and there are no dedicated CCS chargers next to dual head chargers (at least none that I’m aware of) that would block Chademo cars by taking dual head while CCS was left empty.

            As for pay to charge with eVgo resulting in more (ab)use, that argument is just silly. You use to optimize, and if it’s costing you 2X what it’d cost you at home, there’s no reason to pay that instead of driving couple miles home to charge. Even with membership, Leaf would cost more to use DCFC than charging at home, even with outrageous home electric rate of SoCal ($0.19/kWh at home base rate). Again, I’m talking about needless DCFC use from locals, not for distance driving.

            Now if you’re talking about Tesla type of one time pay unlimited charging, that’s different. That also result in abuse as you correctly point out, and that’s why Tesla sent out letters to Tesla owners to only use Supercharger for distance driving. For now, there are enough conscientious Tesla drivers that it’s working. Once there are millions of them and they still have one time pay plan, they will have lots of abuse.

          2. i3 drivers could easily plug in and walk away for 30+ minutes. their car might be done charging within 20 minutes but how does that help you if the driver is nowhere to be found?

            if the issue is getting blocked by drivers who aren’t around to move their car then it doesn’t matter what they are driving, it only matters that they aren’t there to move the car.

          3. It’s interesting that you brought that up about drivers just walking away way past full charge. That seems to occur with Leaf, but I have yet to encounter such with i3. Not sure why, but I’d hazard to guess that most i3 would be done far under 30 minutes, so they stick around or come back in time whereas Leaf would take 30 minutes and still not be done, so they just take their time.

            Anyway, my blog post bitching is a cautioinary tale for those who make free charging available for mass market EV that is slow to charge. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself, you wouldn’t believe such consequences. Waiting for Leaf using fast charger at 3 kW out of 50 kW charger and 25 minutes left to go? I certainly couldn’t have imagined such when I first got SparkEV.

            Tesla has yet to announce “free” supercharging with Model 3; Tesla S has steep charge taper, and smaller battery 3 could be even worse. I hope they hear my bitching even through 6th degree of separation, and make it pay per use by time rather than “free” or “one time fee” or even “monthly fee”. Otherwise, Supercharging will be known as LongwaitCharging.

          4. seems to me the issue is more likely that there is an order of magnitude more leafs out there than other cars so you see them being the issue for you.

            if/when another EV ships in similar numbers and doesn’t have its own dedicated infrastructure (model 3 would suffice if superchargers aren’t free) then you’ll likely find those cars tired with or replace the leaf as your source of frustration.

            in my experience folks either walk away from their cars out they don’t. that the leaf has useless charging rates after 30 minutes doesn’t matter at all in that context.

          5. Leaf is only about 3X more than i3. From many incidents of Leaf’s just sitting far past full charge with the driver nowhere to be found, one would think I would encounter at least few i3 doing the same. But none so far.

            One could also argue that the demographic is different where i3 tend to be more affluent and they’d rather not waste time at DCFC to save few cents. But Tesla S also suffered similar problem where they had to send out notices to curb so much Supercharger use, so I don’t think demographics is the issue.

            Two things in common between my frustration with Leaf and Tesls waiting are 1) they get free charging 2) the charge taper is severe. In case of Tesla S, taper is even worse than Leaf as I wrote about it in my blog “sparkev-is-quickest-charging-ev-in-world”.

            CA has about half of all EV in US. As such, what I’m experiencing here is closer to what could happen with wider EV adoption in rest of the country. Hopefully, your area won’t be impacted as badly when more EV are on the road (we know there will be). The best way is to have pay-per use by time and worst is “free”.

  2. Electric car charging spot earned a mall $15,000 in tickets on gas cars…

    One way to pay for charging…

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