Police traffic and parking control officers have an important job: they help keep traffic flowing in major cities and also ensure that cars are parked legally and safely. 

But local authorities in the U.K. city of Coventry are under fire after one of its parking enforcement officers ticketed an electric car while it was parked at a public charging point. 

No, it’s not April 1.

A traffic officer actually ticketed an electric car making use of a public charging point because it had stayed more than 3 hours. 

The incident, snapped by an anonymous city center worker who was appalled at the traffic officer’s behavior has created waves of distain. 

Toyota Prius at parking meter

Toyota Prius at parking meter

Talking to the local newspaper, the whistle-blower said I took the picture because it made me think that we’ve got all these new charging points and we’re pushing this big green agenda, but when people start taking it up the first thing that happens is that they’re hit with a fine.”

The city of Coventry is one of several cities across the U.K. taking part in the U.K. governmental “Plugged in Places” scheme - a system designed to encourage the purchase of electric cars in the area through increased infrastructure and local incentives. 

The ticketed car was said to be one of the few pre-production Tata Indica cars taking part in a government-run electric car trial in the city.  The five seat electric hatchback is due to go on sale in the U.K. later this year and is expected to cost the same as a 2011 Nissan Leaf.

While city officials told the Coventry Telegraph that there were clear signs near the charging point indicating the parking time limit and the car was ticketed for infringing that limit, electric vehicle advocates are questioning the logicality of installing charging points if electric car owners can’t properly make use of them. 

Expired meter

Expired meter

After all, the charging station in question was only a low power level 2 charge bay capable of providing  3 kilowatts of charge per hour. Plugging in for only 3 hours would result in a total additional range of around 20 miles.

Coventry City Council has offered the driver the right to appeal, but have hinted that in this case, rules are rules. 

Another case of bureaucracy gone mad, or just desserts for an electric car which overstated its welcome. You decide. 

[Coventry Telegraph]