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GM Riles CA Electric-Car World (Again) Over AB475 'Charger Sharing' Ban

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2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt

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California's electric-car advocates are often "true believers," and they can be single-minded in the pursuit of what they believe is right.

But the nuts-and-bolts experience they've gained during the state's 15 years of electric-car use can be invaluable--which is why policy-makers and car companies take their views seriously.

Usually.

Which brings us to the strange case of California Assembly Bill 475, and why it has upset advocates so much that they want it vetoed or completely rewritten.

AB 475 is a bill, backed by General Motors [NYSE:GM], to allow Chevrolet Volts (and other plug-in cars with engines too) to use certain charging stations legally.

Plug-in cars, with engines too

Public charging stations have existed in California since the first wave of electric cars started to arrive in 1996. In 2002, a law was passed that restricted parking in certain "EV spaces" to Zero-Emission Vehicles.

About 800 electric-car owners have paid the state $18 for a "Zero Emission Vehicle" sticker that marks their car as authorized to park in these spaces. But not all charging-station spaces in California require electric cars to display the stickers, though some do--no one seems to know how many.

California Zero-Emission Vehicle parking permit, from DanielBusby.com

California Zero-Emission Vehicle parking permit, from DanielBusby.com

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Because they didn't exist at the time, the 2002 law said nothing about plug-in hybrids (e.g. the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid) or range-extended electric cars (e.g. the Chevy Volt).

These cars have plugs, but also gasoline engines, so they're not zero-emission vehicles. So they can't get the ZEV sticker, and hence are illegal at charging stations that require a sticker to use.

Drafted by Betsy Butler, staff, GM

The bill that became AB 475 started out by adding language to make this new type of plug-ins eligible for the stickers.

The largest number of plug-in hybrids today are Volts, leading GM to assist the staff for sponsor Assemblymember Betsy Butler in drafting the bill. The company did so, it says, at the request of Volt owners who wanted legal access to chargers.

A subsequent draft of the bill eliminated the need for electric-car owners to get the sticker. At that point, Plug-In America and other advocates got involved to address several concerns about the bill's new language.

GM: We'll work with you

GM said it would work with the advocates, recounted advocate Chelsea Sexton, to refine the new draft so it addressed their concerns. After months of meetings and revisions, the bill was passed by the Senate on August 18. Butler introduced it in the Assembly on Friday, August 19, where it was passed on Monday, August 22.

But the final bill contained none of the revisions urged by advocates. Instead, it used the same wording that had brought Plug-In America and others into the process in the first place.

Sacramento Electric Vehicle Gathering, June 18, 2011

Sacramento Electric Vehicle Gathering, June 18, 2011

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California Governor Jerry Brown has until October 9 to sign or veto the bill. If he does neither, it passes into law.

Plugged in isn't always charging

The final wording requires any vehicle parked at a charging-station space to be "connected for charging purposes," i.e. plugged in. Or as GM representative Shad Balch put it, "Your charging cord is your parking permit."

Balch stressed that GM sees the overall goal of AB 475 as ensuring spaces with charging stations are occupied only by vehicles "using the space as intended--to charge" and to ensure that it does not in any way simply provide a better, "preferential parking" space for any random electric car.

But whether a car is charging is different from whether it's plugged in. If that little green light on a plug-in dash is green, it's done charging, whether or not the plug is still inserted into the socket. If it's orange on the Prius Plug-In, the car is still charging. (On a Volt, solid green is charging, and flashing green means "done".)

Unfortunately, the requirement that a parked electric car be plugged in at all times makes illegal a practice called "charger sharing," which Sexton and others say has worked well for 15 years now.

Share with your friends, kids

Here's the problem: Suppose you're driving an electric car, you want to recharge while you shop, so you pull in next to a plug-in vehicle already hooked up to a public charger.


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Comments (90)
  1. Great article John, thanks for covering the nuances so carefully.

    I think some flexibility is needed and Chelsea's approach is better. If sharing of charging points becomes an issue, it can be addressed later.

    GM's defense is baffling. Are they saying this a good law, but if it is bad, you can ignore it at the discretion of parking lot managers? Make something that is workable everywhere.

    For everyone that thinks the LEAF should be given preference over the Plug-in Prius, consider that the Prius will only be able to travel home on clean green electricity if it can plug in at work. So I think the argument could be made for the Plug-in Prius being given preference.

    For now, let's have an open discussion with our fellow commuters.
     
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  2. I can't agree about those priorities. BEVs are STRANDED if they can't charge; the idea of waiting for a Volt or PriusPI to finish non-essential charging before one can start juicing up to get home strikes me as unreasonable. PHEVs have an advantage in being able to refuel at gas pumps everywhere, but with that advantage comes the obligation to defer to vehicles that don't have that option.

    In the end, this will probably be a self-correcting problem. I think free access to Level 2 charging is a temporary perk that will fade from the scene if/when EVs become more common, and PHEVs will not be inclined to pay to use charging slots they don't really need, especially if the price exceeds that of gasoline for their 50mpg Prius.
     
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  3. Actually, John, your final question misses the mark. GM's bill does NOT make it illegal for someone to unplug an EV --be it another EV owner, a curious passerby, a mischievous kid, or a malicious vandal. What the bill makes illegal is for the vehicle to BE disconnected, whether or not it is charging --in which case it can be ticketed and towed. Ergo, even though GM claims it wants to thwart plug-pullers, in reality their own Volt drivers are the ones who end up punished. Makes NO sense whatsoever.

    I would also point out that the bill would require the installation of one EVSE per parking space, thus greatly increasing the cost and slowing down the rollout of the EV public infrastructure. Is GM going to pay for the difference?
     
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  4. @Mark: True, the current bill doesn't ban plug-pulling per se, but GM has said the company thinks that should be illegal. From the piece:

    'GM has said unplugging an electric car is "tampering" and should be viewed as vandalism--like smashing car windows or slashing tires--that carries criminal penalties.'
     
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  5. Yes, but "thinking" it should be illegal is irrelevant to what the bill actually proposes. Why, then, is GM even bringing it up? To spin the issue enough to distract public opinion with hypotheticals and conjecture?

    Now, if and when GM tries to incorporate unplugging into the criminal code as well someday, I would again oppose it. But that's a subject for another story.
     
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  6. And, since the connected cord is your parking permit, yanking it out of somebody's car is akin to scraping off a neighborhood parking permit. Just don't touch somebody else's car.
     
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  7. @Shad: Let me add my welcome to what has turned into quite a lively little discussion on the issues I interviewed you about.

    For accuracy, I should point out that someone who removes a charging cord is NOT touching the CAR, assuming s/he doesn't close the charging door afterward.

    If that charging cord is attached to a public charging station, the cord doesn't "belong to" the car (as it would if it were the 120-Volt charger that comes with the Volt). It is not the driver's charging cable; it belongs to whichever entity installed the public station.
     
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  8. @John: thanks! A lively discussion indeed. Agree that the cord is not the property of the EV owner ... in the same way, I suppose, that a nozzle at a gas pump belongs to the station owner. If only we could charge a battery as fast as we could fill a gas tank
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  9. @Shad I love the non-sequiturs you use to avoid actually answering a question. You're really very good at it. Rate of refueling is irrelevant to the fact that disconnecting a car is not at all the same as scraping off a parking permit, that you have totally misrepresented "sharing" to spread fear, and that your law doesn't do anything to prevent it anyway. Since you come up with a new spin on what this law is supposed to do every day anyway, you might as well retire this one.
     
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  10. @Chelsea, if you recall, I am an attorney in NY. If I can be of any help, either in reviewing proposed bill drafts or in actual drafting, please feel free to ask.
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  11. I think John Voelcker understands what is in the current AB 475. I think he is asking what should be in it. Should we make it illegal to up-plug an EV.

    My guess is we should probably not make it illegal, because we may want to put a note on the dashboard to allow people to do that.
     
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  12. Ideally, yes - but you can't have public policy based on post-it notes. Plus, what's so bad with requiring parking stalls that are designated for charging to actually have a charger?
     
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  13. @Shad: Your phrase "Post-It notes" feels reductive, even contemptuous. As I suspect you know, electric-car drivers have used a variety of methods, including large laminated signs and hang tags to give permission to share a charging station when their car stops charging.
     
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  14. Let me rephrase then. The garage owner puts up a nice professional sign saying "Cars may be unplugged by non-owners after charging is complete." Then someone in an adjoining spot might unplug a car and plug in their own. That assumes that there isn't a law that makes this illegal.

    However, I must admit that this might be an issue for vehicles using the AC power to maintain battery temperature on zero degree days even after the battery is fully charged. So Shad may have a point.
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  15. Correct, the electric-car drivers have used a variety of methods in these situations - including me (a post-it note). But these cars are being purchased by folks who are not part of the EV community ... with no history of following protocols or even knowledge that they exist. Obviously the "right to unplug" is a sensitive issue. Wouldn't it be more prudent to enjoy that type of behavior in a community with informed and willing participants rather than force its acceptance statewide, from top to bottom, where new EV drivers are emerging as we speak? With no policy in place to deal with unplugging there is tremendous opportunity for it to backfire and get eliminated for everybody.
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  16. @Shad: As I wrote, I'm surprised at how dark GM's view of its customers and plug-in buyers seems to be. Plug-in car owners for the next few years are, by definition, likely to be pioneers, early adopters, and open to new things. Spreading a community code for "how it's done" & setting out rules for sharing seems to me as viable an alternative as criminalizing any unplugged electric car at a charger.

    Clearly GM assumes drivers are inherently going to behave badly. And the proposed AB 475 does nothing to help drivers whose cars are unplugged by random passers-by.

    IMHO, this whole unplugging thing is getting increasingly bizarre. Show us the data that there is ANY kind of problem?
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  17. Again, Shad- no matter how many times you suggest that people randomly unplug each other for fun and sport, sharing is VOLUNTARY. Any new driver who isn't aware of the process inherently won't be putting "post it notes" on his car giving permission. Ergo, he has nothing to worry about.

    And again, nothing in this law requires the EV spot to actually have an EVSE, nor that the vehicle "connected for charging purposes" must be connected to an EVSE. Given that there are scenarios where basic 120v outlets would be more appropriate, the law shouldn't specify that. But while the latest spin is creative, the law does nothing to protect spots for charging, not parking. As long as I'm plugged in, I can stay parked- but not charging- indefinitely.
     
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  18. A hybrid, like the Volt, can stop at a gas station and fill up and make it home; and EV cannot. You can get a lock gas cap to keep people from stealing your gas...the automaker can install a lock to keep the EV from being unplugged, but, if the EV is fully charged and an hour has passed then the EV should be given a ticket for illegal parking. The automaker can install a program that would notify the EV owner by cell phone that the car is charged...move it to an empty parking space before they receive a $100.00 parking ticket and their vehicle may be towed away if they do not comply within a few minutes.
     
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  19. But how can you possibly know when a car is fully charged? Case in point - the author of this story incorrectly says that for Volt, orange means it's charging and green is charged - feeding our fears about allowing cord yanking (to clarify, in Volt orange occurs only when you first connect and the car "handshakes" with the EVSE. Blinking green means it's charging, solid green means it's fully charged). Further, I don't put gasoline in my Volt, which you also wouldn't know. Finally, I want to precondition my battery with my iPhone before I start my trip - this greatly increases EV miles (that's our common goal, correct?) Should you get to decide whether or not I get to use the preconditioning feature?
     
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  20. @Shad: Thanks for the correction, which I've made to the story. My apologies. I suspect I may have been remembering my test of the Prius Plug-In.

    Here's an idea: Most plug-in vehicles already have a visual indicator of charging progress. Why not standardize and mandate it, so every plug-in shows the same external displays/colors in the same sequence? If SAE can wrangle automakers to agree on J-1772, a single dashboard LED oughta be simple!

    Then the issue you raise goes away. Every parking sign could say, "Do not unplug car under any circumstances unless dash light is solid green" (or whatever). Just sayin' ... :)
     
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  21. Seems to me the charger itself would "know" when the car is filled up. Seems easier to standardize at the chargers end.
     
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  22. Shad, the automaker can implement a program into the car's computer that will notify you on your cell phone app when the battery is fully charged, and you can even watch your cell phone and see when your battery is fully charged. With the lock to keep some kid with an attitude from unplugging your car; the lot security can be issued a universal key that will unlock their charger from your car, in case an abandoned car needs towed out of the space or you get an attitude and want to wait until you finish your shopping before you unplug.
     
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  23. So not only do you want to hog the EVSE to charge, you want to hog it until you return to the car? You're showing your true colors, selfish Shad Balch. No wonder you fit in so well at GM!
     
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  24. Many areas in California hit sub-freezing temps during the winter. In these conditions preconditioning for many EVs is an absolute necessity - these cars must remain plugged-in.
     
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  25. LAX is not one of those areas. And expecting to be able to stay connected to an EVSE, even if you're away on an extended vacation, just so you can precondition your car upon landing, is the height of arrogance!
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  26. I thought the latest spin on what this law was meant to do was reserve spots for charging, not preconditioning? And even if preconditioning saved you a few EV miles, how long should you get to occupy a space (preventing at least 12 EV miles for every hour you're blocking the charger but not charging yourself) so you can save those few miles?

    Installing between spaces would make a lot more sense- someone else could use the charger while you're on your trip, plug you back in, and you could precondition upon your return..everyone's happy, except that it would require a less cynical opinion of your fellow drivers.
     
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  27. There are more comments in this thread
  28. Another solution is to charge the vehicle owner for the TIME the vehicle is connected to the charger, whether it is charging or not. Therefore the owner has the incentive to disconnect their vehicle and move it ASAP in order to minimize the cost and thereby making the charger available for the next person. That seems a more practical approach.
     
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  29. And individual sites undoubtedly will, Joel. But sites should be able to establish what policies suit them best, not have to pass individual ordinances just to overcome an overly restrictive state law. This law doesn't do affect how long people stay in a spot one way or the other.
     
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  30. @Joel: I think that's exactly where this is headed. Public chargers are a convenience, allowing EVs to operate beyond the range of their batteries by providing opportunity charging. There's no reason that should be free, or even cheap. Sensible pricing should handle this issue without a lot of hand-wringing.
     
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  31. What if the owner had to display a sticker in the front windshield stating it ok to unplug when charging is finished. This sticker would be a "official" sticker with a date when it was issued with a registration number. That way it would be OK to unplug a vehicle with this type of sticker, but not legal to unplug if no sticker was present. These stickers would/could be issued by the dealership or inspection stations. ???
     
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  32. Agreed, Neal, it could be a consistent item. But whether consistent or not, the willingness to share is expressed in writing by each vehicle owner. Some give blanket permission, some under certain circumstances, some just leave a phone number so they can come move/unplug their car themselves.
     
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  33. To: Joel Pointon

    My bad. I meant to "thumbs up" your comment, but clicked on the wrong icon. Sorry. I liked your idea.
     
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  34. I am baffled that GM stubbornly refuses to see the forest for the trees. Are they so hell bent on complicating, slowing down, and making more expensive the rollout of an EV infrastructure that they would just as soon punish their own Volt owners? That’s pathetic.

    A far better solution would be for CA to issue EV license plates, or at least EV decals for the plates. This would not only solve the parking/charging problem, but also HOV access, and vehicle registration. Three birds down, one stone thrown. What’s not to like?
     
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  35. The bill passed by a landslide, and I'm glad. All of this bickering is going to give EV owners the image of being endless complainers. PlugInCars' concerns reflect what *might* happen a very small percentage of the time. These are PUBLIC chargers, and EV-owners are not an elite group that is "in the know" as to how it should be done. I don't want anyone touching my car to unplug it, and I don't want to touch anyone else's car.

    The link at the picture below represents what happens FAR more often, and this is why I'm glad AB475 is passing. This picture was taken last Friday.

    http://gallery.me.com/victor1970#100026/idiots_in_ev_spots&bgcolor=bl
     
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  36. Seems like ICEing is illegal under any existing and proposed laws.
     
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  37. Fine, Victor. I completely understand and empathize with your preference that nobody unplug your car.

    Unfortunately... this bill does NOT stop that from happening. It only gets YOU towed if somebody does. Yet you're glad about that? Odd.

    Please note in the photo you linked that those are two ICE vehicles (NOT "unplugged" EVs), and thus already covered by law to be towed for illegally parking there. Also note that this law will make it necessary to upgrade that site with one EVSE per parking space, rather than letting two EVs share one unit. Otherwise, the unplugged one will be towed.

    I suppose that GM will foot the bill for the extra equipment and installation, since they insist on one EVSE per vehicle --whether or not it is charging...?
     
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  38. No, they would not be illegally parked there.
     
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  39. Shad, Welcome to the discussion
     
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  40. @Shad: I'm confused by your comment. Are you saying the two ICE cars are legally parked in the photo Victor linked to?
     
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  41. @John - correct. Without AB 475 (or an altogether separate parking ordinance) the ICE cars are parked there legally. And if this lot decides to follow AB 475 should it become law they are not required to install another charger - a more economical and practical solution would be to simply put the no parking sign right at the designated stall. That way anybody contemplating pulling a cord will know that the car must remain plugged in. But in now way does AB 475 require new infrastructure
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  42. @Shad: Assuming that this lot uses the ZEV permit laws (which are optional, as you've pointed out), are you saying that the ZEV permit regulations are no longer in effect?

    Unless they were repealed before now, I would assume they're still be in effect and those ICE cars would be illegally parked because they do not have ZEV stickers. Am I wrong?
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  43. @John - I'm talking about this particular parking lot, the Science Center at USC. It does not follow the current ZEV sticker law, so these ICE cars are legally parked. But your point is accurate, if the lot did follow current law any car without the ZEV sticker (including Volt and PHEVs) would be illegally parked and subject to ticket/towing.
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  44. There are more comments in this thread
  45. I agree that non plug-in cars should be ticketed or towed if they are in public charger parking spots. I think we all agree on that.

    It's the idea that we can't use the charger even if the vehicle that is plugged into it is full charged. That is a waste of a charger. I was at LAX and all the chargers were plugged into cars. But a few of the cars were done charging. Why should I not able to use that public charger?

    I am not touching that person's car.. just the public charger handle. Also when people leave notes in the dashboard, you can just call the person. That way we are using the public charging infrastructure the most efficiently.
     
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  46. There are more comments in this thread
  47. It is odd that GM is putting so much effort into this, Volt owners don't need to use public chargers. Isn't that the point of having a PHEV, when you run out of electricity you just let the gas engine kick in and charge when you get home? I think the spaces should only be used by pure electric cars, EVs need to charge and cars like the Volt can easily go without.
     
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  48. hi cd,

    you just got a thumbs down from a gm-troll. i await mine - LOL.
     
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  49. Hi ev, yeah I think the Volt fans are getting a little overly sensitive, I wasn't being negative yet I got a -1 oh well.
     
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  50. technically, I give you a +1
     
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  51. If you have a Plug-in Prius with only 13 mile electric mode, you might well exhaust your electrons on the way to, say, the mall. Sure you can get back home using gasoline, but you would really like to get home on electrons. So I would say you should be allowed to plug-in to keep the planet cleaner.

    Now what about the guy in the LEAF that absolutely needs that charger. If your Plug-in Prius is there, he cannot charge, and cannot get home. That is bad. But I guess it all depends on the probabilities of that happening. If you think it is likely that a LEAF will need that spot, then perhaps you should not put your Plug-in Prius there.
     
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  52. It reminds me a little of the handicapped bathroom stall. When you go into the bathroom, do you ever use the handicap stall? What if, when you are using it, a handicapped person shows up and needs that stall. That person cannot use any other stall. So shouldn't you feel badly for being in that handicapped stall.

    Well, I don't worry about using the handicapped stall because the probability of a handicapped person needing the stall at the same time is very low.
     
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  53. Yeah, John, I agree. It makes sense for a plug-in hybrid to stay away from public charges until there are more public chargers available. I would not plug my Volt (if I had one) into a public charger at this point in time because I would feel I was possibly depriving a Leaf owner the opportunity of topping off to get home. Just does not make sense at this time to take advantage of public chargers. I feel GM is correct to some extent with their position although I believe they made a bad strategic move in not fully explaining their position.
     
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  54. In the era of copper theft, my Volt will sound an alarm if unplugged. It may correctly assume that someone is trying to take the cable.

    A correction: The volt's dash light is solid green for charging and blinking green when done charging.
     
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  55. And the LEAF's three blue lights go dark after fifteen minutes. Every car has some different way (if any) of telling its state of charge. That card on the dash better have very specific instructions about when it's ok to pull the plug.
     
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  56. That, or just write in a time. It's not hard to predict about how long your car will take to charge based on the SOC when you arrive. And rarely is it crucial to get a 100% charge in public anyway, if you're off by a little.
     
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  57. Right. In fact, the most recent protocol card is based on time, because Ranger EVs don't give any clues as to their state of charge. The protocol card will be critical, but probably little used. Did some form of protocol card get written into the suggested revision of AB475? Is the suggested revision available?
    See http://www.evchargernews.com/chargeprotocolcard.pdf
    and http://www.evchargernews.com/chargingprotocol.htm
     
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  58. No, none of the AB475 versions have had any reference to a protocol card, as the current version effectively bans sharing as a side effect of the connected language, and the others used a sticker or other identifier. To the extent sharing continues, I like the idea of the drivers being able to use their own method to enable experimenting with a few versions. I'm all for establishing something consistent, whether part of a law or not- but I don't think it's crucial to do that just yet.
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  59. it is not surprising, but it sure is telling - when a big company is now part of the legislative process.

    all this recharging talk is simply not gonna be needed. it will be interesting to see if we build a big and wasteful infrastructure system.
     
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  60. Big companies have been a part of the legislative process for many, many years. Nothing new here except GM did not fully explain their reasoning to the community.
     
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  61. I have a better idea. Longer cables. That solves most all of the problems. Instead of servicing 2 spaces one EVSE can service 4 or 6.
     
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  62. In some sites with double parking rows, an EVSE already serves 4 spaces. But the point is that this law, if signed, will not allow an EVSE to serve more than one space, no matter how long the cord.
     
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  63. What needs to be done is encouragement for plugged in vehicles to be moved out of the space and into another space after it is fully charged.

    After the vehicle is fully charged the owner should, for example, pay 1.5-2.0 times the rate at a normal space. This will help move people along and also generate some income for the municipality.

    I know, I know. You don't know when your car will be fully charged. You do have a good idea though and should check back on it. Like others do when checking/adding time to their meters.

    Charge and move along is my point. You get a charge but then you have to pay for the spot like everyone else, but more. That vacates the spot for another vehicle to use the charging station.
     
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  64. Ok here's the solution, keep the sticker and have It apply to all plug-in vehicles. The spaces should be used on a first come first serve basis, you don't need to vacate the space after reaching a full charge you can continue to use the space until your buisness is done. If people start to stay in the spaces to long simply install 3 hour parking signs. And no you shouldn't be allowed to unplug someone else's car because the car is someone else's personal property and if you accidentally damage it, you could end up in court over the damages. So 1) get the sticker 2) if a plug-in space is open it's yours until your done with it, fist come first serve. That's fair I think, most parking spaces are first come first serve anyway.
     
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  65. Solution 2, make the chargers part parking meter. You get the sticker for plug-in cars so you can use the space, but the time you can use the space and receive a charge is dependent on what you put into the meter. This would keep people aware of their time spent in the space and keep people from spending way to long in the space. Though it would still be fist come first serve if the owner of the car returns and puts in more money they can stay longer. This could be a very simple way to manage time and raise money for your local government and help maintain the chargers.
     
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  66. Completely agree- and that's how the bill was originally introduced, and what we tried to get it back to.

    Only question- if someone explicitly gives you permission to unplug their car, why shouldn't you be allowed to? The protocol of "sharing" has never allowed unplugging under any other circumstances.
     
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  67. This is not so simple. I agree with GM's premise that unplugging someone's car could be tampering. There are two circumstances, one either being confused about the car's charging status, or deliberately unplugging someone else's car to charge your own. In this case the charge is interrupted. Second, charging will not be free for long, so if your car is unplugged and switched to another car, who gets the bill? The ideal solution is more chargers, and one per parking spot. This way sharing is not required. Being plugged in, charging or not, is your proof that your car is electric.

    About pure EVs having preference, I agree. A BEV requires a charge to get home, a hybrid does not. Who gets inconvenienced more?
     
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  68. When unauthorized unplugging happens, it's really done by curious or resentful passersby, not other EV drivers. Unfortunately, that will be totally unaffected by whether or not sharing is allowed- but it's unwise to make the consequences worse by towing.

    Out of curiosity, how should "tampering" be defined? If no damage is done to the car, and the owner isn't deprived of anything of value (eg, being billed for kWhs he didn't get), what substantiates that unplugging a car- which doesn't even require touching it- should be considered vandalism, but touching it as you walk by isn't? (I asked GM too, still waiting for an answer.)

    In the instances where charging is monetized, billing stops when the car is unplugged- so that bit isn't an issue.
     
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  69. We are only having this conversation because chargers are not widespread enough. And to answer your question, if you can tell that a car is fully charged from the outside then yes it should be okay. If not, then don't touch my charging cord. The law should say we need a charging indicator light on the outside of the cars that shows once a car's battery is full.
     
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  70. Hi Jason- since the vehicle owner has to put a note on the dash (or something similar) in order to volunteer his car for unplugging, he can easily either specify how to tell if it's full, or simply post a time after which it's safe to unplug. No note, no unplugging.
     
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  71. Would leaving a "note" prevent the authorities from towing an EV or hybrid if it was occupying a charging parking spot but had been unplugged by someone? I don't like this idea of towing anyone's vehicle. Too many parking lot "cops" would make deals with towing companies and receive "kick-backs" for having cars towed. It cost a lot of money to get your car back from these towing companies.

    I don't know if I like much about any of the current or proposed laws. And if there is to be a law, it should be state-wide and not allow parking lots to "opt-out". That way everyone would be able to be on the same page and everyone would better understand how the law is applied in each parking spot.
     
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  72. A note would have no official value against towing- I'd certainly hope that a lot attendant would see it, assume what happened, and not call for a tow, but I wouldn't count on a note keeping your car safe in that regard.

    Actually, having only local laws worked pretty well for years; there's never been any basis for the state law other than anecdotes from a few sites who didn't want to tow gas cars. If there is a state law, it should be more like the 2002 version though- allows PH/EVs, bans gas cars, and creates an identifier for the PH/EVs w minimal downsides. But individual sites should still have customization options to add time limits, etc.
     
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  73. Neal, the lot attendant wouldn't need to call a tow truck if they had a jack to lift your car up and a small tower so they could pull your car over to an open parking space after your car is fully charged. This could even be a courtesy by the business who allows you to use their charge station. Or you could leave your keys with the attendant and they could drive your car over to an open parking space after your car is charged...people trust a valet.
     
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  74. Given the intense reaction of some over the idea of someone merely unplugging their car (though premised on GM's false info on how that works), I'd be more surprised if they were ok with someone driving it, let alone breaking out the go-jacks. And I don't see the site owner wanting the hassle and loability of the latter. Voluntary sharing seems a lot simpler to me.
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  75. Of course, Californians are inherently stupid and believe that a zero emission car really produces zero emissions. When you're dealing with dimwits, you got problems... lots of problems ...
     
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  76. Aww, welcome to the conversation, Kent! Knew you had to be around here somewhere... :)

    So how do you propose AB475 be constructed instead?
     
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  77. Morning, Ms. Sexton. My name is RJ Tan and in my country, the Philippines, has no AB475 because the E-Jeepney is still in existence at makati city
     
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  78. This is the first that I have heard about this plug pulling business. I think a technological fix is in order not a legislative fix. How about a charging station with enough cables to reach all parking spaces that are served by a single charger and a programmable timer or state of charge meter that rotates the charging between vehicles on a first come first served basis. The price of the charging station does go up, but having even two or three cables would get everyone charged, assuming that they will be parked there long enough. Battery warming on cold days could be programmed in by time sharing the charge near a programmed in departure time. A charger upgrade could be attached to existing charges as apposed to a complete replacement.
     
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  79. It is great to allow sharing of charge stations. But I also think GM is probably right that when the pool of EV / EREV users gets large enough, people will not be 'nice' and will simply care about getting the charge for their own car.

    The law could make it illegal for a non-owner to unplug an EV at a charge station _IF_ the EV is not fully charged.

    The law could even have wording to require a system to prevent non-owners from unplugging incompletely-charged EVs. For example, one way: have the charge station require that the first person plugging in their EV enter a temporary 4 digit PIN, which would be used to allow them to unplug the EV when they come back to it. Without the PIN, the station would deactivate; this would be posted.
     
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  80. YThe problem I've most seen most locally, has been GMC pickups and Chevy Tahoes parked in the electric scharge stations.ou must be logged in to post your comment.
     
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  81. I have to say, reading all this reminds me of why I limit my EV driving to what I can reach by charging at home in my own garage.
     
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