Electric Vehicle Charging Issues Redefine Squatting

JUL 18 2013 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 15

What’s squatting?  Well, if we throw aside the usual definition and instead focus on how it applies to plug-in vehicles, then the description of squatting takes on a different meaning.

Please Don't Squat Here

Please Don’t Squat Here

With the rise of plug-in vehicles, charging station etiquette is increasingly becoming an issue.  Squatting is one of those avoid-at-all-costs issues.

The most obvious definition of squatting, as it applies to plug in vehicles, is when a battery-powered vehicle occupies a charging spot all day with no intention of ever charging.  It simply sits there without ever being plugged in.  This prevents those in need of a charge from using that station.  It’s illegal in most states now, but it still is a common sight to see.  There’s typically a reason why squatting like this occurs and it’s directly related to the location of the charging/parking spot.  If it’s in a prime location (let’s say it’s one of the nearest parking spots at a mall), then it gets squatted.

The second form of squatting is less intentional, but still irks most plug-in vehicle owners.  This is when a vehicle continues to occupy a charging/parking spot long after the charge is complete.  The proper etiquette here would be to move your plug-in vehicle shortly after (let’s go with a 1-hour grace period) the charge is complete.  It’s not always possible to move a charged vehicle in a timely manner, but occupying a spot all day long when others could be using it is not the right way either.

Proper charging etiquette would solve these issues.  So to would more charging stations.  Charging stations cost money.  Etiquette is free of financial fees.

There was one more solution suggested and it might just work.  For charging stations that aren’t free to use, an increased fee could come into affect one hour after charging is complete.  This won’t do anything for those squatting under the first scenario laid out above, but it would probably work wonders to extinguish the second type of squatter.

Source: EV World

Categories: Charging

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15 Comments on "Electric Vehicle Charging Issues Redefine Squatting"

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How about longer cables, more spots, and let people move the cables?
The cable could be locked to the car until charging is complete (or a timer).

There was a story here at InsideEVs a while back (I cant seem to find it now) where you had two charging stations serving four parking spots, in the middle of a parking lot (a grocery store in Texas, if I recall). That seems to be an ideal design – serve 4 parking spots with only 2 chargers, with mediocre spots.

OK, This is a thought that will start the stones coming. Maybe public chargers are not the place to start.
1) Home charger first and foremost
2) Workplace (assigned parking)
3) Hotels (again a form of assigned parking)
4) Quick chargers should be limited to 30 min – 1 hour which will handle the the transit traffic.

I contend that the place for the charge is where the car sits idle. This is the problem with the public charger. I do agree with Eric’s statement that the public chargers really need to be limited to 1-2 hours. If it is treated like the old parking meter then the ICED problem will be resolved.

There is very easy solution for the second problem: 30 minutes (or 60) after your car is charged, but still plugged in, it will start to discharge. This will solve the problem for most situations.

Ooooh Seth, wow – what a selling point to get more EVs on the road! Tons of really pissed-off people! Such is life that unpredictable events come about. Your “solution” would increase “range anxiety” to just plain uber “EV anxiety”. All-in public charging often has ties to public-private financing ( EV Project, city/state projects, etc. ). I believe Kdawg’s solution to be much more workable. Privately-funded L2 and QC charging opportunities where say, four to six chargers can service many more times that in cars. Timers and charge limits make fistfights and arguments nil, as the cable switcher just looks for the vehicle with the expired meter. I like FocusEV’s circular indicator to shout out lvl of charge. Eventually, the next stage is mass proliferation. Just like gas stations. There is no shortage of them in major population areas. This happened organically with the rise in need. Keep government out of it ASAP and this will happen faster and better. The EV Project proved huge waste and misdirection occurs when government’s are involved ( who knew? ). It’s a scarey world when many expect governments to take care of our healthcare, spoon feed us and provide adequate services like EV… Read more »

Well, the piss off part is the incentive to move your car for the next in line 😉

I know it is not very user friendly, but it will do the job and make people aware of the fact that there is scarcity. A better solution might be to make an app where you sign in when you charge and the next in line can ping you if he needs it badly.

Having plenty plugs everywhere is the best solution of course.

I’ve seen YouTube videos of creative parking solutions for cramped parking
situations – Think- ALL of Europe! Solutions like invisible underground parking
facilities that just rise up out of the ground – stacking your car like a HotWheels
car in a computerized gizmo. Above-ground stacking is also a viable solution. With inductive
charging coming to fruition – no more cords please! Just create a stack elevator
that rotates cars according to charge status. An ICE car is detected and automatically
ticketed – or worse….slid off to the side for impound.

It’s a thought.

How about a split structure so first one pays for the electricity consumed while charging, then when charging is complete, they pay for staying in the space.
Set the rates to fit the demand (higher rates for QC).
The charger could be set up to automatically send a text or e-mail when the charge is almost complete, if the car doesn’t do it already. Then one can decide whether to move the car or pay a higher rate just to park there without charging.
Of course this doesn’t work in free situations, though, like Tesla’s supercharger stations. Suddenly there is no incentive to vacate a spot besides one’s goodwill.

Your suggestion is perfect. Spot on.

I used “squatting” to my advantage the other day. Pulled into a Half Price Books near my house and the parking lot was completely full. People were circling the lot to park. The two EV spots were empty. Although my car didn’t need a charge, I parked in one of the EV spots (both were empty), attached my car to the charger but didn’t start (or pay for) the charging, and walked inside.

EVs are still relatively rare in Dallas so I knew I wouldn’t be disrupting someone else’s charge. Having some sort of mechanism on the charger handle, etc., showing that charging is complete would be nice. Then others could unplug you without worry.

My wife suggested that the EVSE detect that there is a car present but not charging, and start to alarm. Something just annoying enough to cause some embarrassment.

I think the car should move itself to another parking spot when it’s done charging.

Along with more charging stations I would like to see businesses put them toward the middle or back of the parking lot. That would eliminate people parking in them because they are close. Hopefully only those that need them would use them. And who doesn’t need a little more exercise anyway.

This will solve many of the use issues but a lot more underground cabling is needed increasing cost.

What about airports? Need a charges to drive home when you return but your trip is a week long. Do you take a spot for a week and charge? No valet available.