2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car at EVgo fast-charging station, Newport Centre, Jersey City, NJ
Well, that's ... interesting.
The city of Beverly Hills, California, has issued new regulations for parking and electric-car charging.
As of Monday, April 2, only battery-electric cars will be allowed to park and plug in at any of the city's 35 public charging stations—plug-in hybrids will not.
In fact, according to a press release describing the policy dated Monday, plug-in hybrids in those spaces will be treated just like conventional vehicles.
Which is to say, if they are in a parking space designated for charging—whether or not they are plugged in and charging—they will be ticketed.
The new policy "encourages more availability and efficient use" of the 59 240-volt Level 2 charging connectors in 14 parking facilities within the city and also at Roxbury Park.
2011 Chevrolet Volt using Level 2 240-Volt charging station in Vacaville, California
Beverly Hills will also impose a fee for charging, at 25 cents per kilowatt-hour on top of the parking fees, and a $6 "station fee" after 2 hours regardless of whether a vehicle is charging or not.
Those fees will encourage more turnover, which addresses a problem that has plagued public charging stations for years: owners who leave their cars parked and plugged in well after recharging is complete.
To back up the new policy, the city reserves the right to tow away all plug-in hybrids, electric cars that aren't plugged in, those whose charging session are complete, and those plugged in longer than 2 hours.
The charging fees aren't likely to be too controversial, as different charging networks impose a variety of per-session charges as well as membership fees.
A $6 fee for parking at a charging session more than 2 hours may also seem reasonable to electric-car owners who can gain 30 to 50 miles of range during that time if their cars can charge at 6 kilowatts.
The ban on plug-in hybrids, however, may ruffle feathers among owners of Chevrolet Volt, BMW i3 REx, and numerous other plug-in hybrids who want to maximize their electric driving with frequent recharges of smaller battery packs.
Jay Leno's McLaren P1 being delivered in Beverly Hills
Charging etiquette in general has long been a contentious issue among owners of plug-in electric vehicles of all varieties. And the nuances are many.
Should electric cars take priority over plug-in hybrids that have gasoline as a backup? (Beverly Hills has now answered that question for the city-owned charging stations it oversees: Yes.)
Should electric cars with larger battery capacities (Chevy Bolt EV, any Tesla) give up priority to those with lower ranges from smaller batteries (early Nissan Leafs, Mitsubishi i-MiEVs, and a host of others)?
What should happen when charging is completed? (Some thoughtful owners post windscreen cards giving permission to unplug, if the car allows it, once the session is complete.)
And how to solve the chronic problem of plug-in hybrid owners plugging in for a charging session that may only take a few hours, but leaving their car at the station for an entire workday?
Beverly Hills has come up with answers to at least some of these questions, and we suspect it won't be the last municipality to grapple with them.