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Air Quality

Published on May 19th, 2016 | by Cynthia Shahan


Convenience & Inconvenience — Another Large Vehicle Blocking EV Charging

May 19th, 2016 by  

Driving today, I reflected on how simple the inside of the hood of the electric car I drive is. I used to sit above and behind so many things I did not understand. Now, a large battery and an electric motor replace most of that, removing the smelly gas under the car. 003 (1) copyBut I was reminded today that most drivers have no experience of such simple, clean cars — and how they “refuel.”

Charging at my favorite fast charger, having a quick jog around the park in front, and enjoying pleasant inaction near a beautiful marina, I realize I have become too dependant on this place and an assumption that it will always be available. Today, with a time crunch, I found another large vehicle blocking my only fast charger in the area….

On the way back home, two normal cars (gasmobiles) were blocking the fast charger. Apparently, many car drivers out there do not really care about whether EV parking spaces are only for cars that need to be electrically charged through a portal.

With lots of other Level Two chargers in the area, I lost more time finding 2 decommissioned chargers not working before I finally arrived at a site where I found one broken and one working. “Great. Lost more than an hour….”

Nissan DC Fast Charging Station CHAdeMOTypically, I simply stop at the first station and charge up in a brief period of time. The CHAdeMO DC fast charger says “READY.” I touch it. Then, the display gives me a choice of which port I want to use. I touch it and, “pop,” the door opens and I plug the charging handle into the front of my Nissan LEAF. The lighted image of my car shows me how much charge is lacking as it quickly fills in with the speedy charger. It’s easy, fun, fast, and convenient — for my needs, at least. (On the left is a picture of the charging station and its cool lighting. Below is a picture of the informative charging station screen during one of my charges. Click either of them to enlarge.)

CHAdeMO DC fast charger Nissan LEAF

Today, however, the driver of this large gasoline vehicle apparently thinks there are no EV drivers. Parking is difficult. People are still too dependant on cars.

Check out more stories in our long-term review of living with the Nissan LEAF … and no home charging.

All photos by Cynthia Shahan for CleanTechnica (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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About the Author

is a Mother, an Organic Farmer, Licensed Acupuncturist, Anthropology Studies, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.

  • Sadly the “Me first” attitude isn’t limited to ICE car drivers. EV Drivers are also inconsiderate. Recently I couldn’t use a charging station due to a Tesla parked in the EV space. Not plugged in, not charging. A person with an entitlement problem.


    I had hoped it was an isolated incident. I went back a few days later. Same Tesla parked not plugged in.

  • Burnerjack

    If EV’s are to rely on a courteous and something other than a self absorbed, “me first, me only” world to be viable, they are doomed. This is not the world it used to be. Nothing short of INSTANT tow away zones, STRICTLY enforced will work.
    All that aside, I wonder, at what point will forward thinking employers begin installing charging stations at their principle plants and office buildings? Or are they doing it already?

    • Bob_Wallace

      It’s been happening for a long time. More recently California utilities are helping fund charge stations at work parking lots.

      (New markets for them to sell into.)

  • NRG4All

    It probably wouldn’t hurt us EV drivers if we had to walk a ways to get from the charging station to the store. I do that anyway just to minimize the chances of getting damage to our car from people that don’t know how to drive side swiping our car. If the chargers are too close to the store, inconsiderate, perhaps even spiteful “denialists” will ICE you intentionally.

  • Andy

    It is not only ICE drivers who are inconsiderate. Needing to recharge to get home, I arrived at Watford Gap Northbound Services on the M1 (UK), to find a Mitsubishi Plug-in Hybrid, parked on the only charger there. The percentage charge was reading above 80%, which would suggest that the user had set it to charge again after reaching 80%, when it automatically stops charging, which is not something necessary with a hybrid. Obviously, as the charging rate is very slow after 80%, it took a long time for charging to progress. The owner of the car was nowhere to be seen, where considerate drivers would keep an eye on their car when charging, and come out to talk to anyone waiting, and normally, under those circumstances, offer to end their session. I had to wait until the charging cycle ended itself, before I could get on, and having spent so much time, and being behind schedule, made do with 75% charge for my vehicle, which was only just enough, as it turned out, to get me home, running on empty for the last mile or so. The other vehicle was still parked at the charger, with the driver still nowhere in sight, when I left, and anyone, with a larger car than mine, might have had difficulty getting on the charger at all.

    This is the first time I have encountered such inconsiderate behaviour, on the
    charging network, as most drivers are extremely helpful and friendly. It was a most vexing and disappointing episode.

    • Steve Reddington

      Andy: I don’t get your comment where you say “considerate drivers will keep an eye on their car and offer to end their session” Are you kidding me? How does a person who parks at a train station EV spot and then takes the train downtown all day do this? Even shoppers at a store are inside and not watching the car. I wish there was a way for someone who was waiting could push a button and it would send a text message to the person charging their car at the station to let them know someone else is waiting.

      • Robb Rogers

        There must be a way to design a smart phone app to monitor charging progress.

      • Andy

        These chargers I am talking about are specifically on the UK motorway network, (Multi-lane intercity highways) to enable electric car drivers to make longer journeys. They are situated only on isolated service areas, which are accessible only from the motorway. People stop briefly to charge up, and have a coffee, and use the rest-room. The chargers are cost free, and users are expected to follow etiquette in their use. Users normally keep the car in sight when it is charging, and ensure they do not inconvenience other EV users waiting to get on the charger. The chargers rapidly reach 80% charge, and then automatically end. once ended, another user can disconnect the charger, and reconnect it to their car. In the particular case I mentioned , the user had gone beyond 80%, which is only possible by reinitiating the charger, and only the user can end their charging session. Also,on this particular station there was only one charger. After 80% the charging rate is very slow, because the current falls away to only 10 Amps or so. People only do this with pure electric vehicles if they need more than the standard 80% charge to get them to their next charging point, and with a hybrid it is not necessary at all. I hope that explains it better.

  • hybridbear

    Was the cord not long enough to reach?

    • cynthia Irene

      I finally did pull up on the striped lines by the EV parking space (filled with a gas car) and the cord just barely stretched far enough. But yes, I charged parking in a space that was not a parking spot. With my EV pulled right next to the gas car by a couple inches away. I managed the stretch to the plug.

      • hybridbear

        I’m glad you were able to charge.

  • eveee

    We talked about this before. EV drivers need gated and IDed EV charging and parking areas. Thats the only way to keep ICE drivers out of EV charging spaces.
    I hope there was a number there and you called to have the ICE drivers towed.

  • Adrian

    Cynthia, there are business cards regarding ICEing and EV charger etiquette, it might be worth printing a few and keeping them in the car. It won’t fix the immediate issue, but that person has no idea of the trouble they caused you. With a note or card they would know that the chargers really do get used.

    The person still might not care, but at least they’d know…

    • Michael B

      Link to said cards? Gracias.

  • AaronD12

    You should have posted pictures of the cars with their license plates here. Public shaming.

    • Burnerjack

      Some people such as those that would do this do not care one iota. Taking a disabled spot, maybe. Blocking a EV charger? Not one bit. Tow, tow, tow.

      • Coley

        You are spot on the money, people who do this think they are ‘challenging the system’
        And possibly, a slight disagreement? they are the same people who use disabled/ children in , spaces, in short, arseholes.

  • darth

    As a fellow LEAF driver, I know this situation all too well. That’s why its so important for charging companies to build chargers with more than 1 DCFC unit! If you are trying to get somewhere and the 1 DCFC is out of service or blocked, you are just stuck. At least in my area, EvGO has added CCS combo DCFC to most spots along with the original ChaDemo unit, giving LEAF owners 2 DCFC per location. That still doesn’t help with ICE vehicles blocking the spots. Maybe we need those blocking devices Fred is talking about!

    • I’m working on an install of 8 workplace chargers and opting for the dual pedestal for 4 spots model. That way, it has the capability to charge 16 vehicles – half before lunch and half after lunch, 4hrs each (roughly). We’ll stick with just 8 spots for them at first with the option of blocking out the other 8 later if demand increases.

      • J.H.

        When demand increases!

    • Andy

      I find a lot of units (DCFC or level 2) are built into corners or against walls. If they were in more open spaces it might not matter when the EV spot is ICED if I can park close and string the cable over the offending car’s roof.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Wish I could find that picture where some EV driver, dealing with a blocked charger, ran the cord through the windows of the offending ICEV.

        • cynthia Irene

          Thats a great One!

  • Rikaishi Rikashi

    Maybe EV drivers should use gas stations as parking lots.

    • haha, that would be funny

    • eveee

      Just park in the gas pumps.

    • energymatters

      Difference is Gas Stations are private property with active monitors who will tow. Open EV chargers are unmonitored and typically no towing.

      Current arrangements assume a great deal of good behavior and donated parking.

      • Burnerjack

        It would seem to be no great reach to install proximity sensors and call for towing automatically should a vehicle be on site without charging. Towing companies would jump at a contract such as this.

      • Rikaishi Rikashi

        Of course, it was obviously not serious suggestion.

        Although if someone wanted to make a “don’t be an icehole” PSA, a driver with an empty fuel tank looking at a petrol station packed with parked Leafs, Bolts and Teslas (grill-less versions) would be fun.

    • Andy

      I park my Leaf in front of a gas pump every morning, albeit only for about a two minutes while I grab coffee for my commute.

    • Funny you should say that.

      I went to the gas station in my LEAF to get gas for the mower. I pulled up to the pump near the air hose which has ethanol free gas.

      I was just opening the rear door of my car to get the gas can when I heard someone shout out. “Hey! Can you move your car, I need to fill my boat.” .

      I held up the gas can and said “Sure, as soon as I’m done”. He apologized saying, “Oh sorry, I didn’t realize you were getting gas!”

      The driver clearly thought I had blocked the gas pump with my LEAF. AT least there is one gas car driver who knows how it feels to have someone deny you access to your fuel of choice 🙂

  • Fred

    A clear lack of common courtesy. Sad to see some people still behave like 5 years old children.
    I a. In Japan, and have seen many parking spaces that are blocked by an electricly actuated blocking device. Once the driver pays, or swipes his pass, the block is removed. A very cheap and simple system that could fix the ICEing problem once and for all. Don’t understand why it is not applied to EV chargespots.

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