Been ICEd? Gas Cars Parking In Electric-Car Charging Spots (Video)

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If you drive an electric car, it's nice to know that if you're making a trip to the mall or a regular spot that you can charge up your car while you're running errands.

Well, it's nice until you get there to find that some ignorant soul has parked their gas-guzzler in the space, preventing you from charging.

Unfortunately, it's a trend noticed all too frequently by Santa Monica-based reader Kelly Olsen, who shot the video above to demonstrate just how many spaces are being hogged, in a trend he dubs "ICEing"--in other words, being displaced by vehicles with Internal Combustion Engines.

The video shows cars at three business locations near to Kelly's home, which all use ECOtality Blink chargers. Not a single car featured in the video is a plug-in, but all are taking up plug-in spaces.

He describes it as a particular problem in Santa Monica, where "a segment of the population feels entitled to anything they want because of their L.A. 'me first' attitude", and he's currently working with Santa Monica City staff and parking enforcement to work on signage and enforcement.

In the meantime, plenty of other electric car owners are getting "ICEd" by inconsiderate drivers parking in EV-only spaces, and whether through ignorance or self-entitlement it certainly puts a cloud over plug-in ownership.

Have you ever been "ICEd"? Share your parking experiences in the comments section below.


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Comments (36)
  1. I would never depend on a public recharging spot. When I decided to get an electric, I made sure I could complete my transportation needs using only home charging. Of course, I live in S. California...

  2. It is weird that people would be doing this.

    Over here in the East Coast, you often see many open handicapped parking spaces in an otherwise full parking lot. No one violates that rule out here. Of course, the fines are steep.

  3. Maybe that's what's needed: Ticket (and tow) of ICE cars parked illegally in "EV only" spots?

    But given the few number of EVs (even in Santa Monica?), I can see how that could lead to petty vandalism (damaged charge points, EVs) by "outraged" ICE owners who feel entitled to park and pissed off at the
    special spots that EV owners are getting.

    I feel the same as John Porter above. I would NEVER DEPEND on public charging.

  4. I disagree, there are a significant number of EVs in Santa Monica. Everywhere I look I see a Leaf or Volt (and sometimes now an Active E).

    I think there are two issues going on here. First, LA had many old, paddle style EV chargers installed a decade ago. After the first year or two, most sat completely unused for years, so people starting iceing the spaces. Since no one was using the spaces, no one complained.

    Second, is enforcement. About 1.5 years ago when I first started driving my Volt, the garage at Santa Monica Place didn't initially ticket for iceing one of their EV spaces and often the spaces were iced. Sometime in the last year, they apparently started ticketing and I haven't seen an iced space there since.

  5. Evil Attorney is correct. It's about modifying patterns of behavior that are a legacy of the "old-style" chargers that never got used.

    Enforcement is the key. My subdivision has two stop signs within 200 feet of each other as you exit to the main street. EVERYONE blew through the first without stopping (a hazard to children transiting to/from the nearby play area) until complaints were lodged with the local police and they began enforcing the stop sign. Write those tickets to the offenders and the behavior will change!

  6. Hey John...i drive a plug in the one charging station in a Montclair location...namely charge point...i had to use one of stickers MANY TIMES for ignorant drivers they DO think oh many fools would drive an electric...mind u mine only takes 1.5 hours for 4.4 Kwh.....the other is at a private lot in Livingston where I charge as well they actually have orange cones stopping people from parking in 4 spots...well guess what they get out of there cars and move the cones ....what now Ii have a stack of the stickers...hope they get sick of scraping their driver side views....I place them so that when they turn their heads to check for traffic the sticker partially disrupts their ability to see well....unreal

  7. Charles, where can I get these stickers? There should be an A-Team to enforce these parking spaces. BTW: The Livingston chargers don't show up on any maps. Where are they? We can manually add them in Chargepoint map.

  8. I have seen it more times than not. At an eVgo quick charge station saw a man park his car in the EV spot about 30 spots away from door. Yet on the way to door passed a dozen empty spots closer to the door. At a resturant spots are always fill with ice trucks and they even had there screens smashed making them inoperable. Then have been repaired not but still can park there due to ice cars.

  9. Vandalism by the right-leaning ditto-heads may continue onward into the future. This is what hate-mongering has done to the easily-lead public. Thanks to those media players trying to make a point and instead causing hate.

  10. People aren't right to respond this way, but they are right to be mad about their tax money being wasted on green tech boondoggles. The fact that so many charging stations sat unused for a decade illustrates this point. Fortunately, things are changing, and people are starting to create an EV market, so charging stations are becoming necessary.

    So write the tickets, but I would also suggest putting cameras on the stations to catch the vandals and get them thrown in jail. If these spaces get enforced the same way handicap spaces are, the problem will be greatly reduced.

    Just to be clear, the issue the vandals have is with wasteful tax-funded subsidies, not with the tech itself. And they should be thrown in jail.

  11. Seems they are adding to the wastefulness by trashing the charging stations but suppose they are not intelligent enough to realise this, Morons!

  12. easy fix. write the ordinance, call the tow trucks and sharpen the pencils!!

  13. Of course, being ICE'd would annoy me, but part of the problem is that the ev spaces are put in the "choice" locations. Whenever our car club ( is asked about evse locations, we always recommend spaces far from the choice locations, like the back of the parking lot. Otherwise, you're just setting yourself up for lots of ICE'ing.

  14. The problem with this is that installation costs increase exponentially as you move away form the source of the electricity, which is typically where those choice spots are located...

  15. I agree. Other than infrastructure requirements, there is no reason to put the EV spots right next to the disabled spots. Nothing wrong with a bit of a walk to and from your car - if anything it'd be a few minutes more for charging. :P

  16. The signage is there, but it's not being enforced like a handicap space would be. And I'm not shocked by the cars taking the spaces, it seems like no one wants to think or make an extra effort anymore, if it's easy they just take what they want because they're lazy. That's also why I think people complain about range and charge times, because people don't want to take the time to figure out what their needs actually are before they buy. When people see a space their mind just says "park", I worked in a museum and saw this all the time, they see a door they think "open", they see stairs they think "up", they're told do not touch or take pictures and two seconds later they're doing it. People don't think anymore it's almost like its too hard.

  17. Our Orlando City Hall space has been ICED by the UPS guy multiple times when I've driven by and even by a City of Orlando squad car. Finally, parking enforcement jumped into action and the City is now actually making a little extra revenue while keeping the spot free.

  18. There is a fix, and a new product possibilty here.

    Some type of lockable "blocking device" - hanging from the ceiling or floor - could do the trick. In Europe and other parts, there are cylinders which jut out from the ground or floor to keep vehicles out of certain spots. In front of my building in NYC, they have similar pneumatic cylinders that are controllable. Possibly by RF device or some other automated way. That adds costs well beyond the L2 charger - but might some day be needed to afford usability to these EV charging stations.

  19. They should just boot them, that's way more inconvenitnet embarrasing.... they'd think twice about repeating that action.

  20. And impossible to ignore like a parking ticket sometimes is...

  21. More than half of the models shown in the video are Toyota/Leuxs...

    The next most popular models are Mercedez and Porsche.

    I didn't see a single Ford in the video...

  22. Apart from the white Mustang 1:30 through ;) Might be an Escape at 1:10 too.

    Worst offender for me is the guy in the Corolla at the end. Not only does he park in an EV space, but he also opens his door straight onto another car...

  23. I missed that. Thanks for pointing it out.

  24. It is all about enforcement. If tickets are flying, the spots will be opened up...

  25. I made this video. I'm a former Santa Monica City Councilman and a longtime EV proponent. The reason EV Charging spaces at businesses are so important in our community is because about 70% of our residents live in apartments where it is not possible to install chargers. Therefor, the only charging opportunity for apartment dwellers is at work (if charging is available) and public charging stations at businesses.

    It is illegal to park in an EV space in Santa Monica and has been for ten years. A car can be cited for the offense. I'm currently working with the police department to step up enforcement and to try to get the businesses to have the proper and effective signs.

  26. I think it is against CA laws to park in the EV stpots without charging. But I am NOT sure if the laws apply to "private" parking lots... The owner of the lot have to "enforce" the rules.

  27. Kelly, does the business with the charger have to call for enforcement each occurrence? Can they set up a permanent approval for enforcement? How does it work for the business owner?

  28. Debra, I'm trying to get the police department to include these EV charging spots into the routes of the parking enforcement officers. They already drive by these places on a regular basis several times a day. All they have to do is pull into the lots where the chargers are. Owners of the businesses are not likely to call the police on their own customers, even if they are breaking the law or making it difficult for their other customers with EVs, but to answer the question, they could do so if they wanted to. But again, I'm trying to get the P.D. to just make this a part of their regular routine.

  29. Don't bother with the tickets or the boot. They generate revenue, but don't clear the space. They should just put up the proper signage, and then hook up the cars and haul them away. AC ticket may hurt, but not as much as an impound fee and several hours of lost time. I don;t think any of those idiots would park there a second time.

  30. I think it is time for a federal law for fines/enforcement for this infrastructure. $1000 fine, second offence double fine and towing. Half the fine goes to the property owner. The federal grants used for this infrastructure should have attached to them a stipulation that proper signage, with full guidlines as such, is to be installed and parking enforced. If the stations are installed without proper signage or repeated reports of non-enforcement of being blocked or inoperable, the federal grant money could be revoked, and the property owner sent an invoice for the grant amount. A blocked or inoperative charging station is a waste of tax payer money and there should be no excuse for it.

  31. Some states already have laws on the books for fines and/or towing for ICEing of EV charging or just "hanging out" in the spot in an EV but not charging:

    If you live in a state that enforces, call the non-emergency number and report it. If not, lobby your local representative to get on the ball and get these kind of laws on the books.

  32. I witnessed an ICEing before. I was near boston in a shopping center. There is a dual level 2 charger and a car double parked IN BOTH SPACES. But of corse when I saw them, they just got in the car to leave.

  33. Whether ignorance, (which is hard to believe because most EV Charge locations are clearly marked - and there is this big charger with cord right in front of you.) or self-entitlement, you will always have this problem unless there are some fundamental changes to how these locations are designed. 1) I believe the charge stations lack a parking "arm". A simple arm, attached to the charge station, running a portion of the length of the parking spot, manually operated, that unlocks when you swipe your card... would allow only the card holder to unlock and lift the arm. 2) Why locate these spots in the most desirable locations? If you put them in locations at distal ends of the parking lot then they become less attractive to the self-entitled.

  34. While this is obviously an issue for EV drivers (myself included-- 2013 Volt), it does strike me as kind of odd that those blink charging stations chose to make their "EV Only" signs BLUE, which is of course the same color as handicapped parking signs, making it completely possible for en elderly driver with handicapped tags to not realize that they're parking in an EV spot. I wouldn't expect most elderly drivers to even know what an electric vehicle is, and they always seem to put the EV charging spaces near the front of the store as an added incentive, so I wouldn't blame your grandpa for seeing a parking space with a blue sign near the front entrance and mistaking it for a handicapped space. A more obvious choice would've been GREEN!

  35. There needs to be a Federal law to stop this.

  36. Update: After I made this video I sent this video and story to Whole Foods and they put in new signs that were VERY effective. Recently they took out the blink chargers and put in free chargers.

    After the instillation of the new free chargers they took down the really good signs and have signs now that are not so good and gas cars parking in the spaces has become a bit of a problem again. Not nearly as bad as in this video, but the signs could be better.

    Good news is that we have 2 free chargers and 4 spaces marked off for the 2 chargers so there is a better chance of getting next to the chargers.

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