Many early EV charging stations ended up close to the store or other building they shared a parking lot with. Why? Because putting copper in the ground is expensive. The copper wires themselves, the conduit, the trench work, and the repaving all cost more the longer the wire run is. To save some bucks, many stores put the stations right up front.
But, as we’ve seen on YouTube and social media, people can get pretty crazy over parking spaces. Countless people have gotten in fistfights, and a few people have even resorted to deadly force (cars, guns, baseball bats, tire irons) over a parking space. Obviously, it’s stupid, but there are a lot of stupid people out there.
So, when the store gives the “rich people driving $100k Teslas” special spots right up front, it gets some people fuming mad. So, to get back at the stupid green new deal communists and the snobby rich people (who are somehow the same group), it was pretty common for people to park a pickup truck in the EV charging space.
Since these early days, many companies putting in charging stations have wised up. Instead of putting the charging right up front to save a few bucks, most places now put the stations in the middle or the back of the lot to avoid this problem. There are still a few EV haters and other idiots who block stations, but it’s not the big resentment-based problem it used to be.
But most of these parking lot spats are over a space or two at most. However, a recent story at Yahoo News (reprinted from The Yorkshire Post) tells the story of a spat over a whopping 10 EV parking spaces, and it involves a whole municipal government, hundreds of angry drivers, and some merchants who feel like they’re losing customers. And I thought Texas did stuff big!
Basically, the problem is that parking is scarce in historic Yorkshire Town. The main parking lot is always full of tourists and other paying customers, and they’re the lifeblood of the local economy. Out of 56 charging spaces, the local government put in 10 EV stations, marking them for EV charging only. But, EV adoption among the customers seems to be low, so most charging spaces sit empty, even on the busiest days.
This, of course, makes the owners of the local shops mad. With around 20% fewer customers able to park, they figure they’re getting around 20% less revenue. I don’t know about you, but a 20% pay cut sucks. This loss of business has led one of the shop owners, a hairdresser, to circulate a petition which has managed to gather 500 signatures from various people who don’t like the dedicated EV parking.
But, the local government can’t back out on any of the spaces and slow down the re-allocation to EV charging because it could violate the conditions of the grant that paid for them. So, the stations are staying put. Plus, it’s just a pilot program, and officials aim to eventually put 12 in every parking lot.
I don’t know what the answer to this conundrum ultimately will be, but I’d guess that the best way forward for now will be to reduce the number of spaces off-limits to ICE vehicles while leaving the stations installed for future demand.
But, either way, it’s pretty clear that things need to be more well thought out.
Featured image by Jennifer Sensiba.
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