EV parking sign, Portland OREnlarge Photo
The problem of gasoline cars parking in spaces reserved for plug-in electric cars to recharge at is nothing new.
It's known as "ICE-ing," referring to cars with internal combustion engines parking where they shouldn't.
But the problem has proved to be lucrative for Raleigh, North Carolina.
That city earned $27,000 in the year ended November 30 from parking tickets on one single electric-car charging spot, located on the city's busy downtown Fayetteville Street.
That represents 540 tickets, at $50 apiece, placed on gasoline vehicles that ignored the signs warning that the spot was reserved for electric cars.
MetLife electric-car charging station for employee use - Dayton, OhioEnlarge Photo
They also ignored the presence of a 240-Volt Level 2 charging station at the curb as well, apparently.
And as the Charlotte News Observer noted in an article, more gasoline cars were ticketed for parking that space than there were electric cars that actually used it to recharge.
Raleigh has a total of 23 public parking spaces reserved for electric-car charging, out of a total of several thousand.
But the space on Fayetteville Street--known as No 378--generated parking tickets seven times as frequently as any other space produced the lower $20 fine for an expired meter.
Electric vehicle parking by Flickr user aaron_anderer, used under Creative Commons licenseEnlarge Photo
To address complaints that the warning sign wasn't obvious enough, the city moved the sign closer to the street.
Part of the issue may be training: Although it installed its first electric-car charging stations in 2009, the city only began to issue tickets for ICE-ing after complaints by city councilperson Gaylord Bonner, who drives a Nissan Leaf.
The city plans to investigate better markings for the spot, including painting spots a different color--as they are at a retail-office-residential center called North Hills.
And advocates note that Raleigh's $50 fine is far less than those in other cities for parking in handicapped spaces; in Illinois, those fines range from $500 to $2,500.
Still, cities scrambling to boost local revenues in the face of a stagnant economy and a surly electorate may find easy cash in aggressive ticketing of ICE-d charging station parking.
At least temporarily, that is, until the word gets out.
[hat tip: John C. Briggs]