Dealing with ICED Superchargers

Dealing with ICED Superchargers

I think that Elon Musk should just implement some bollards at the Superchargers. The Teslas clearly have identifying elements that could cause the bollards to recede. This would stop the asshats driving the ICE cars from parking in the nice spaces... Your opinions?

boerlin | December 4, 2013

Yeah, would be a great Idea. Some kind of HomeLink maybe?

J.T. | December 4, 2013

This simply puts the expense of keeping ICE vehicles out of EV charging spaces on the company and eventually the consumer.

Put the expense of bad behavior on the perpetrator and tow the vehicle. The certainty of a painful experience is the only education necessary.

bp | December 4, 2013

A couple of other possible solutions...

A simple mechanical gate at the entrance to the space, with an electronic lock that could be triggered from inside the car (either HomeLink or a command routed through the internet). This solution might also support a queuing system to only open the gate for the "next car" waiting for the charger.

Another option would be an extension for the charging cable that could reach beyond the parking space. If an ICE is parked there, then a Model S could park at the end of the space and still get a charge.

Better solutions - such as automatic gates or bollards - would be better, but the increased expense would probably rule them out.

Or maybe change the sign to something like Chili's has used:

"Warning High Voltage Charging Station - Parking reserved only for electric vehicles while being charged - other cars will be crushed and melted"

tes-s | December 4, 2013

I'd rather they not do that - save the money and keep the cost down, and put it towards more superchargers.

hsadler | December 4, 2013

Just park a tow truck next to the SC's

negarholger | December 4, 2013

hsadler +1

jkn | December 4, 2013

Make parking in SC expensive. When Tesla plugs in, car signals how long charging it needs. Car is given free parking for this + 15 minutes. This solves two problems: If ICE wants to park in SC he must pay more than in other places nearby. Tesla owner will come to move car when charged.

ir | December 4, 2013

@jkn: who enforces the parking? Who collects the money and how? Most SC are in free parking lots. There are no gates or attendants or meters. That's the basic problem. The malls that own the parking lot are unwilling to tow ICEing vehicles in the first place.

Jewsh | December 4, 2013


"Put the expense of bad behavior on the perpetrator and tow the vehicle. The certainty of a painful experience is the only education necessary."

Agreed. If we change bylaws such that parking in an EV spot is akin to parking in an unauthorized area people will learn it's too expensive to park at a SC if you aren't supposed to. Furthermore drivers are already used to watching for parking signs and there is an infrastructure designed to handle parking violations.

RandomizeMe | December 4, 2013

I think the Gate idea with the auto locks and what not would be a great idea. Also the bollord is probably better! All synced to the Homelink in the cars. But heres the major issue: If it fails to open or unlock for some reason, who is there to fix it on a daily basis? Having a number to call wouldn't help when you need to charge at that moment.

My solution to this problem: Have tow away signs up and such. Then inform all businesses around all superchargers that if they see a car, other than a Tesla, they should call the tow away number.

Then to take it one step further, put up sensors or "scanners" that does link to your homelink when you pull in to charge. A notification pops up on the screen that will need to be confirmed once in. Just to verify that it is a tesla in the stalls. Just something i thought of. It can all be done with small maintenance to the superchargers (not even a day) and an update to the cars.

Just my thoughts on it.

mrspaghetti | December 4, 2013

I stopped at Collin's Bakery in Corsicana TX this past weekend to get some goodies and see the superchargers. When we got there, no Teslas were present but later I saw a vehicle park in a SC spot so I went outside to chat, assuming it was a Tesla. It was an ICE driver who appeared to be genuinely oblivious that she had parked in a reserved spot. When I pointed out that she was in a reserved spot and expressed concern that she might be towed, she (an older lady) was surprised and immediately moved her car to a nearby open non-SC spot [which was actually closer to the door than the SC spot she'd initially taken...].

It was a revelation to me that some of the ICE offenders may be parking in SC spots due to authentic ignorance rather than malice.

Don't get me wrong, I still think they should be towed, but I'm more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt now.

dramingly | December 4, 2013

How about just putting them in areas that are not in the prime spots? That way, people won't want to park in them for convenience/laziness or resent that Tesla drivers are being given special treatment.

Pricee2 | December 4, 2013

And for those of us that chose not to pay $4000 for home link how do we gain access.

Pricee2 | December 4, 2013

This is the law in Washington. Maybe you can convince your legislatures to do something similar.

Per RCW 46.08.185 it is a parking infraction to be parked in a properly indicated EV charging station and not be connected to the charging equipment. The fine is $124.

Same amount as unauthorized parking in a handicap spot I think.

jvandeford | December 4, 2013

Signage isn't the best of solutions but since Tesla only has permission to use in most cases signage my help. This is from Port Lucie in FL.

Personally an aggressive towing company would solve it but the landlords/property owners won't stand for it.

Pricee2 | December 4, 2013

Should have added the RCW applies to charging stations on both public & private property.

jbunn | December 4, 2013

Meanwhile, some guy got tossed in jail for 15 hours for using an electrical outlet at a school. ; )

logicalthinker | December 6, 2013

Just put a weight sensor under each parking spot. If the weight doesn't match, OR the car doesn't plug in, Tesla Central is automatically notified and a tow truck pulls the car (only returned to owner at owner's expense). I guess you'd need legislation for that last bit.

J.T. | December 6, 2013

@logicalthinker Please tell me this: what purpose does it serve for Tesla to incur any additonal costs of construction just to protect a few charging spots from some rude and inconsiderate people?

Yes, all the suggestions are clever in a Rube Goldbergish kind of way, but the whole idea is just silly.

skymaster | December 6, 2013

In my opinion, paint is the answer to this problem. If the supercharger parking spots were painted with bright colors such as green (with red stripes), folks would think twice about parking there. You could also paint a charging sign on the asphalt or concrete as well.

Panoz | December 6, 2013

Why not put large orange traffic cones (chained to the SC) that are only to be moved by EV owners? They're cheap and would keep the most distracted of drivers out of an EV charging spot. The EV owner can move them while they're charging, and put them back when they leave.

AmpedRealtor | December 6, 2013

+1 @ skymaster

Perhaps painting the word 'RESERVED' would also go a long way towards keeping others out of those spots.

bogartsdad | December 6, 2013

Pull up behind the offender and start charging. Once the aisle are blocked, management will get the message and start putting up signs and enforce/tow the offending ICE.

As long as bad ICE behavior is rewarded (or has no consequences), things will not changed.

The property owners have agreed to allow Tesla to install SC stalls. They have an obligation to establish and enforce rules to make that space available for the purpose that is intented.

Rheumboy | December 6, 2013

Question...if a space is occupied by an ICE box an extension cord to bypass would be nice. I know TM's position on extension cords but is there an after market solution to extend the 3' Tesla cord from the SC? You could also block the ICE.

CarlE_P439 | December 6, 2013

+1 @ mrspaghetti: I had a similar experience with an oblivious ICE driver: I was waiting for a SC spot to open up and just as it did he attempted to pull in. When I explained that I was about to charge he very nicely drove to another spot obviously unaware what the spot was for. It was a prime spot near the entrance of the rest area and he just did not read the sign. So while it sucks that SC spots are ICE'd please remember that it is not always intentional.

J.T. | December 6, 2013

@mrspaghetti. It was a revelation to me that some of the ICE offenders may be parking in SC spots due to authentic ignorance rather than malice.

Hanlon's Razor Never attribute to malice that which is easily explained by stupidity.

Brian H | December 7, 2013

The cords aren't long enough. You must park right beside the charger.

Andre-nl | December 7, 2013

"It was a revelation to me that some of the ICE offenders may be parking in SC spots due to authentic ignorance"

"So while it sucks that SC spots are ICE'd please remember that it is not always intentional."

What if it is not 'some' / 'not always': but rather 'most' / 'rarely'?

A more friendly, educational approach (instead of towing or blocking) might be a better first step to deal with this. Clearer signage, painted pavement, a leaflet under the windscreen wiper. That sort of stuff.

Andre-nl | December 7, 2013

Oh, and another thing that just popped into my mind.

How big are the chances of you really being prevented from charging due to icing?

If it is at a busy Supercharger, an ICE vehicle owner will probably be addressed by one of the owners of the charging Tesla's.

If it is a quiet Supercharger, then there are enough free spots available to charge, and the icing has no concrete consequences.

Is there a 'true' victim of icing here? Someone that arrived at a Supercharger and had to wait until one of the Supercharger spots became available, while there was at least one spot taken by an ICE vehicle?

Car t man | December 7, 2013

It isn't stupidity. It is human nature. Most people don't even recognize altered signalization in own streets, etc.. The spaces need to be clearly marked, best with a flashing LED diode at the sign. To draw attention to
the signage. None of us here are stupid for not seeing a piece of signage
we don't expect or aren't expecting to encounter. Yes, it is annoying but
people are like cows most of the time.. When on auto pilot.

And you can actually piss normal people off by trying to interfere with their auto pilot. Years ago there was a lethal fire in a Chicago subway station. A
guy was standing at the entrance, trying to warn people not to go. This was
during rush hour, so people were in a hurry. He was largely ingnored and
even pushed away and yelled by some. We have low level software installed.

Just saying, no need to harbor such deep dissent toward ICE drivers in general.
When you meet a prick though, go right off and let them know. But for normal people, I usually let them know politely, without making them fell we EV drivers are douches. Usually they respond quickly and always want to know more about the car and EVs in general and it is a good opportunity to
make a few new converts. So it is really annoying bein ICEd, but I would
advice some basic etiquette, until and unless you find it was intentional.

J.T. | December 7, 2013

@Car t man. +1
If I was at a Supercharger and saw an ICE park in a spot I would politely advise them that the spot is for electric vehicles and that it's possible they might get towed. I'd say it in a way that let's them think I'm being helpful not condescending.

mikeah007 | December 7, 2013

The answer to ICEs parking is to put the pop up spikes in front off all parking spots so when a tesla approaches Tesla knows its a MS because of the uniques blue tooth signature and would lower the spikes automatically. Spikes would also likely lower for adjacent spots but would all return to the up position once plugged in. When driving out the spikes would lower as you roll over them in an outward direct not unlike what you see at the rent a car stations at the airport. Much cheaper alternative. Thoughts?

lumpSoCal | December 7, 2013

Blink has some notices you can place on their windshield

if that doesn't work get it here

AmpedRealtor | December 7, 2013

Ignorance of the law is no excuse for violating the law... but ignorance of signage at EV charging spaces is an excuse to park there? My graciousness ends where someone's personal responsibility begins. An ICE hogs up an EV charging spot because of stupidity, ignorance, or whatever label you want to put on it, and I'm the one who is supposed to be gracious and inform the uneducated masses?

If someone can't open their eyes to look around themselves, read some signs, or even put two and two together to realize that this is not just a normal parking spot, that's hardly my problem. I hardly consider myself responsible for someone else's lack of self awareness. Stupidity should be rewarded appropriately, in my opinion.

Car t man | December 7, 2013

OK, call it stupidity, but then it is also stupid to expect that people and human nature will suddenly become more alert and recognize every impulse in the environment. The human brain is designed to filter out details, because it has limited resources. Every properly functioning brain does it.

Imagine someone walking behind you for a day and slap you every time you miss something.. You focus on different things than an ICE driver. Before you were into EVs, you were likely the same and don't even know it. Remember, we are not talking about the pricks who knowingly ICE. We are often "idiots" because we "brake" so far ahead of the traffic lights, etc. to ICErs.. Yet, we all need to use same roads and get along.

And thinking about ignorant masses, because not everyone gets that there are 100+ grand vehicles, which charge electrically on quick charging stations, also means there is an elitist on the other side of the equation :)

Pungoteague_Dave | December 7, 2013

Apparently none of the commenters here has actually used a Supercharger. No one could possibly ever pull into a Supercharger spot and mistake it for anything else. Every space has a large, lit pylon device, there are signs, and there is a big building/box with equipment. It would be akin to pulling up next to a gas pump and not knowing it.

tes-s | December 7, 2013

The best defense is a strong offense - we need to have Tesla's in the spots, and they won't get ICEd.

I've never been blocked out of a supercharger, though I have often seen ICE in the spots.

Orange construction cones blocking the supercharger spaces have been very effective - apparently people are not willing to get out of their cars and move a cone to park in the EV spot. Darien North does that.

Panoz | December 7, 2013

@Car t man +1

mrspaghetti | December 8, 2013

@Car t man - I understand that our brains filter things out, but it is still puzzling to me how people can be oblivious to SC signs (not to mention all the other obvious stuff pointed out by Pungoteague Dave). Whenever I park (unless it's a place that is intimately familiar to me), I look around for signs to make sure I don't get a ticket. Evolution should keep us from filtering out threats to our well-being (e.g., the growl/bark of a nearby predator, a cop car parked on the shoulder ahead, etc.). It does appear that ICE drivers in Tesla spots seem to have malfunctioning brains.

Andrew H | December 8, 2013

Pulled into Huntsville, Tx supercharger at 6 am last week and there were 2 ICE cars in Supercharger spots. It was next to a Holiday Inn Express and freezing. I was down to last 4 miles. The spots were very close to the front. I could see how people could just take those spot because they didn't want to park further away and go inside to sleep for the night. All the while, those that need the supercharger are SOL. Not sure a tow truck would tow the cars since there is no towing enforced sign at the 3 superchargers I visited on my road trip.

twestberg | December 8, 2013

So there's a sign that says "EV Parking Only" or even "Tesla Parking Only" or something similar.

What if I don't know what an EV is, or I've never heard of Tesla. That's approximately zero percent of this forum, but a pretty high percentage of the driving public.

If the signs assume knowledge of the EV industry or use acronyms people won't know don't be surprised if people ignore them.

Sure, they should stay out of a marked spot that doesn't include them (Expecting Mother Parking! Authorized Parking Only!) but the real universal sign is the wheelchair symbol. We don't get that visibility.

tes-s | December 8, 2013

@Andrew - what did you do?? Use one of the 4 available charging stalls?

Pungoteague_Dave | December 8, 2013

@twestberg, it isn't just a sign. There's a large electric pylon next to each and very parking stall. Impossible to miss. The Huntsville SC seems unfortunately placed. All of the six Superchargers that I have visited seem intentionally placed away from the entry to any building, most at the far ends of the parking area, or on their own parking fields, with better parking alternatives close to the associated businesses. That's the way I prefer to see them. There's no reason to give advantageous parking to EV's like we do for handicapped spaces. Just another reason for us to be labeled entitled elitists.

AmpedRealtor | December 8, 2013

@ twestberg,

You don't have to know what an EV or Tesla is... all you need to know is that you aren't one. If I encounter a sign that says "This space is reserved for jabberwocky vehicles only"... obviously I don't park there because I don't have a jabberwocky vehicle. I don't need to know what one is in order to recognize that spot is not for me.

I'm telling you, the only way these people will learn is by being ticketed and/or towed. The problem is that Tesla is using space owned by other entities, for example, Carl's Jr out here in Arizona. I assume that it is the owner of the lot that does not want to enforce a ticketing and/or towing penalty, and Tesla probably doesn't have much say in the matter. Imagine being one of the unfortunate, stupid masses who gets his or her Hummer towed while ordering a Super Star meal... it will end up posted on a blog somewhere, or a complaint will be sent to the franchise, or that customer posts on Facebook asking their friends to boycott Carl's Jr, yadda yadda. Business owners are afraid of losing business. It could also be a cost issue, but that could easily be addressed by Tesla.

tes-s | December 8, 2013

Anyone who cannot tell they should not be parking at a Tesla supercharger should not have a driver's license. They are well marked.

Pungoteague_Dave | December 8, 2013

So far this hadn't been a problem. Has anyone actually been reported as having been blocked from charging at at Supercharger except by other Teslas? Again, these are largely being built where no one else would want to park anyway.

Captain_Zap | December 8, 2013

Many times "prime" parking locations are turned into EV spots just because those spots are closest to an electrical panel and the least expensive installation option for the business owners.

I have seen parking spots that are painted completely green with "EV" in white in the middle. I believe that there is a new State law here making it so that you can be ticketed for parking in any location that is designated as EV with simple green parking stripes. If you are driving an EV, you can't just park there for convenience either. You must be plugged in or you will get a ticket.

Miggy | December 8, 2013

Call the POLICE and a tow truck, this is the only way to deal with these rude idiots.

theapple | December 9, 2013

+1 @ dramingly

Why are EV chargers always in the high-demand spots? I know sometimes it's the only place power is available, but often not. I already park my Tesla in the far corner of the lot so no one will hit me! I don't expect special favors for driving an EV. It's a choice I make and I want other people to respect it, not resent it.

youyouxue | December 10, 2013

Who doesn't want to park under a 50,000 dollar solar array?