/ Electric Vehicles

ICEd by a plugin hybrid

Anyone who owns an electric car is familiar with the annoyance of discovering that the electric charging point you are attempting to charge in has been ICEd. For the unintiated "ICEd" refers to being prevented from charging by parking an internal combustian engine vehicle in an electric vehicle only charging space.

A new variant of ICE'ing is appearing though, with the rising popularity of plugin hybrid cars like that Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and BMW iPerformance range it is becoming increasingly common to find that charging bays are being taken up by cars that strictly speaking don't have a critical need to use them.

Plugin hybrid BMW charging

Take for example the above photo, a BMW 3 series plugin hybrid parked charging in a car park in York; this car features an electric motor with batteries, and a traditional internal combustion engine (Note the exhaust pipe) for when the battery charge is depleted. Unlike the pure electric Tesla Model S parked adjacent, the BMW can drive around just fine without any battery charge as the engine can take over. An electric car like the Tesla however (or the Renault Zoe I was in when this photo was taken for that matter) requires charging to drive anywhere at all, there is no backup engine. The plugin hybrid has essentially ICEd the bay for a pure electric vehicle owner, the BMW doesn't need to charge to get around and is preventing pure electric vehicles from charging when they need it most.

Perhaps a new acronym is needed, PIE'd is my suggestion, P for plugin, and "PIE" to sound a bit like the "hy" of "hybrid"

The problem is simple, in York there are charging points in (almost) every council run car park, and whilst charging you don't pay for parking, even better the maximum parking time whilst charging is 12 hours (Or 1 hour on a rapid charger). What this means is that instead of paying to park (Which is expensive in York) you can pay quite a bit less and charge instead plus you get the benefit of that extra charge afterwards. York should be applauded for the truly excellent provision for electric vehicles, but something needs to be done about plugin hybrids taking up charging points thus preventing those who really do need to charge from doing so.

I propose that in York, and other cities, plugin hybrid vehicles be banned from using public charging points to ensure that only cars that strictly need electric charging use them. I appreciate that councils want to see utilisation of their charging infrastructure, but currently in York selfish plugin hybrid owners are using the public charging as a way to park cheaply, but at the expense of pure electric vehicle owners who want to use public charging as a way to charge their car to continue their journey, not just to park cheaply.

Thoughts? Tweet me @kieranjones