"Parking" at charging stations?

"Parking" at charging stations?

I've had my P85D four weeks now, and in checking out the various parking-lot charging stations around Austin, I notice many cars that are not charging, but are clearly just parked. And many times, the parkers are Teslas. It seems that EV owners think that a charging-capable parking space is something like a handicapped space, and they're entitled to take it for hours at a time. Seems rude to me. What are the rules of the road on this?

jordanrichard | 26 avril 2015

Unfortunately just because one can afford a Tesla, doesn't mean one has manners. They took a spot that someone might need to charge up. If they were initially charging and came back when the car was done, they should have moved. Do onto others as you would want done onto you.

EdwardG.NO2CO2 | 26 avril 2015

Charge and leave the space as quickly as possible! No brainer for any Tesla owners!

Bob.Calvo | 26 avril 2015

I see the same thing at Reagan Airport in Washington DC because it's close to the elevators. Too many people feel entitled with no regard for others. It's particularly infuriating at airports because these morons with more dollars than sense will block everyone else's ability to charge all week long. Then the airport will "prove" that more chargers aren't needed because of the minimal amount of charging that actually took place all week. Argh!!!

Haggy | 26 avril 2015

Maybe they should "prove" that more chargers are needed based on the lack of empty ones.

The rules differ by state. The etiquette is the same everywhere. Spaces are for charging. In some states, that's the law and others are subject to being towed. But I don't know of any state where a citizen can call somebody up and have a car towed. It would be an extreme measure and it's a very high price to pay for somebody to be towed under any circumstances. But it's no different from parking anywhere else that's illegal and subject to tow, except that in most places you'd be denying a person a convenient place to park, or any place to park at most, while in this case it could mean leaving a person stranded. I'd personally do everything to avoid getting somebody else towed. I know there are some who make a point to call tow trucks when somebody's tire is an inch over the line in a handicapped space and I hope it doesn't get to the point that people merely see a car in the wrong place and have it towed away. But people need to get the message that they can't park there. Hopefully it can be done as painlessly as possible.

Shesmyne2 | 26 avril 2015

Haven't we beat this dead horse enough?

Still Grinning ;-)

Bob.Calvo | 26 avril 2015

Haggy will you be the one standing there looking for empty spots?
Tracking the amount of electricity used during the week while plugged in vs the amount of time nobody is plugged in can be done remotely, electronically, and automatically. Your point on this point was pointless.

My point was that this selfish, self-centered approach can be self-defeating and create a backlash from EV and non-EV Drivers alike, albeit for different reasons. People will do what they believe to be in their self interest even if it is self-defeating in the long run.

I agree with you about the spaces being for charging. It's annoying that people are that selfish and it would be nice if people "got the message".

You brought up the towing and such. No one else suggested it.

teslamonterey | 26 avril 2015

Maybe we could all place our business card and cell phone on the dash so that if we get absentminded they could give us a jingle?

Pleasanton_Ca | 26 avril 2015

@Bob.Calvo, the chargers at airports, are you saying non EV's using the spaces ? Or Ev's going on long trips ?

@Shesmyne2, as they say "anything worth beating is worth beating twice" (or something like that)...

teslamonterey | 26 avril 2015

Pee in their gas tanks

Earl and Nagin ... | 26 avril 2015

Parking spaces are for parking. They should all have Level 1 or 2 chargers at them. Stopping what you are doing to go move your car make EVs an annoying hassle.
The solution is to put in more chargers at more parking spaces. Users should do what is most convenient for them.
On the other hand, if you don't need to charge, don't use the spaces - and the ultimate rudeness is when cars park at charging spaces and can't even be bothered to plug their cars in. This, in my experience, are mostly Teslas and Volts.
Yes, we're beating dead horses here.

hcwhy | 27 avril 2015

I always keep my car plugged in when I'm at home...I usually leave with a full charge so I've never had the "need" to charge anywhere I don't. Well, I did once at the mall just make sure I could, but there were a few extra spots that day.

michelcolman | 27 avril 2015

At airports, you should be able to just park your car, plug it in, and leave on a two-week trip. How else are you going to use the charger? Arrive hours in advance to recharge and then move to a different spot before checking in? And after you come back, spend another few hours to top up the battery again before leaving? And on really long trips, fly back periodically to do an intermittent recharge?

If they were superchargers, OK, maybe you can spare that half hour. But level 1 or 2?

What airports should be doing is, instead of (or in addition to) adding a few stalls with expensive level whatever chargers, equip entire rows with ordinary electric plugs. Those cost next to nothing and they're all you need when you go away for a few days. For the price of one level whatever charger, you can probably equip 20 parking spots with ordinary plugs. Maybe keep a few high speed chargers with a sign "electric car charging, 24 hours max". For anyone going away for a few days, the ordinary plugs should be more than enough.

MountainVoyageur | 27 avril 2015

I agree with michelcolman. It seems to me that, as a rule of thumb, especially as EVs become more common, people are going to see them as normal parking slots that also have a plug. People will park for the duration of their activity, whether that is prolonged shopping at a mall, a restaurant meal, a day downhill skiing, or a multi-day trip from an airport. As EVs become common it will be increasingly unrealistic to expect people to come back part way through their activity and move their car (even if they can, unlike air travelers).

The only ways I can see that working are:

Valet service that rotates cars through charging as needed. That can work, in some situations, if there is high power charging.
Enough parking spots with charging that no one has any reason to complain.

There are going to be complaints as long as powered parking slots are a scarce resource .

TomServo | 27 avril 2015

How about a few "fast charging" near the exit just outside the pay booth. Maybe my local airport (lambert St. Louis) is different but there is space just before and after the pay booths. Nobody would park there under any circumstance except for grabbing a quick charge to get you on your way.

When I drive my Volt I use long term parking (The Parking Spot) and ask that they find a 120V outlet and plug me in the night before I arrive. For me this has worked well. I monitor my car via the remote app and if I see a lessor charge will work I call and ask them to adjust the plug in time.

The five times I've used this technique I has able to drive the 70 miles round trip all from the battery.

Earl and Nagin ... | 27 avril 2015

I don't know about you but when I get back from a business trip, I'm usually tired and just want to get back home. I don't want to have to sit for a half hour at some dumb charging station, often late at night because of delayed flights, amidst the characters that hang around outside the airport. Fast chargers probably work ok for short-term parking as people drop off and pick up passengers.
Valet parking works but, because of the extra labor required, cannot be considered a long-term, sustainable solution.
michelcolman has it right. Airport long-term parking lots just need a bunch of normal 120v outlets.
Offices, parks, entertainment, and shopping centers need 240v outlets or charging stations to be able to get a significant charge in 2 to 3 hours (30 amps is ok but more is better) while visitors park and do what they came to do. Hotels need fast enough chargers to fill a car in at least 8 hours while sleeping overnight. Less than 8 hours is better, meaning a minimum of 240volt/50 amps for EVs, 240volt/20 amps for PHEVs.

usatyke | 27 avril 2015

I leave a note with my phone number and a request that if someone needs to charge that they call me. I also keep track of my charge amount and move when I'm full. It's the golden rule, do unto others as you would ask they do to you.

worldtraveller | 27 avril 2015

Seattle airport supplements more powerful chargers with 120V outlets at lots of regular parking spots. I've seen Tesla's plugged in with their mobile chargers

mrspaghetti | 27 avril 2015

At a local Whole Foods I recently parked in one of the two EV charging spots, intending to plug in just to see if my Blink (or Chargepoint, I can't remember which) would work. However, I had nosed in and I found that the cable was not long enough to reach the charge port. Rather than back out, turn the car around and back into the spot, I just left it there while I ate lunch for 30 or 40 minutes. Seemed like too much hassle, especially since the spot is right by the door so the area is pretty thick with people and carts.

DTsea | 27 avril 2015

Worldtraveller, exactly.

Bob.Calvo | 27 avril 2015

No, I didn't say anything about non-EVs at the airport. It has generally been Teslas and Volts not plugged in. At Airports, a slew of free 120 Volt outlets would be best since people don't need a fast charge, but could benefit from a slower charge over a longer period of time.

Airports around DC use Chargepoint with one Level 2 Plug and access to a second level 1 outlet using your own cord. It seems like many people don't realize/understand this, so they take the second spot and leave their port open, hoping for the other person to plug them in when done. The last time that I went to Reagan in DC, there were 8 parking spots available for 4 Level 2 and 4 Level 1 charging opportunities. On the Chargepoint app, 6 were "available" because only two people were charging. The rest were not. No one tried to access the Level 1 chargers with their own cords.

Grinnin'.VA | 27 avril 2015

@ Earl and Nagin ... | April 26, 2015

Parking spaces are for parking. They should all have Level 1 or 2 chargers at them.

That would be good, but who should be expected to pay for them?

Haggy | 27 avril 2015

Haggy will you be the one standing there looking for empty spots?

I wouldn't have to. If people can't find places to charge and people complain about it, they will know about it.

teslamonterey | 27 avril 2015

Michael has the answer that I think is most practical. Some cars are parked there for 7 days. What difference is it if the are all in a line getting a initial charge and then a nightly trickle? You will already be paying and arm and a leg for the daily parking. It's a money maker for the airports. Charge an additional $5.00 for the entire week and of you go.

Earl and Nagin ... | 27 avril 2015

"... who should be expected to pay for them?"
And there is the challenge for anything new. Unfortunately, what I've seen to date has been a disaster about 80% of the time (Tesla's Superchargers being a shining example of a success.
I've seen 2 approaches:
1) airport/government installs charging stations. Using LAX as example 1:
The city of Los Angeles first installed about a dozen expensive 15 amp High Quality Clipper-Creek Level 2 J-1772 charging stations in short term parking using money involuntarily extracted from the general public through taxes. Initially, parking and charging for EVs was free. This overloaded immediately as soon as people could purchase EVs. Shortly after EVs became available, they started charging the normal $31/day for short-term parking and the lot emptied out overnight, leaving these expensive chargers unused and the parking spaces wasted. There was no reasonable way to charge an EV at LAX until their next disaster.
Next, the city of LA installed about a dozen expensive unknown brand (likely low bidder) 30 amp Level 2 charging stations in short term parking. Most of these are broken or in use so nobody who needs to charge can drive their EV to the airport any more. Therefore, one must assume that the spaces are taken by locals who don't need to charge anyway. I certainly don't drive my Leaf (my freeway-fodder, leave behind, sacrificial EV) to LAX anymore.
For probably 1/10 of the money, LAX could have installed a whole bunch of cheap 120v outlets IAW michelcolman's suggestion and they would have been useful. Instead, money was spent but no value came out of it.
The other option was to have a charging network provider (eg Bl!nk or Chargepoint) install their very expensive (~$5,000) charging stations and charge the people charging using their charging network. In order to pay for the expensive charging and the billing operations, however, they need to charge a ghastly rate to the drivers. This leads to the 'plugged in but not charging' or 'not bothering to even plug in' that is mentioned above, or just taking a taxi because it is cheaper. Because every space is a loser of money, they can't afford to add additional charging spaces either. Nobody benefits from this approach either.
Personally, I figure at least at LAX, one feasible solution to "who pays" would be for drivers to purchase and print out a dated certificate online as either a "charging station sustainer" or "one-time user", possibly for $100/lifetime, $50/year, or $20 for a one-month user. Any cars parked at a space with a 120v outlet must have a certificate displayed in the window or they get a $273 (carpool lane violation cost) ticket for illegal parking. Those rates should help pay for the capital expense (in the old days municipal bonds were levied to handle this kind of thing) to install as well as maintenance. I suspect for the cost of one of the new fancy designer streetlight poles at LAX, they could have put in 1,000 120v outlets in long-term parking. Each user will pay for their own charging cable, thus further reducing costs. This system would pay (adjust prices if necessary) for itself so if demand increased, one could easily add more spaces with outlets.

Haggy | 27 avril 2015

Or they could to what SFO does and have chargepoint, but not charge for it if you pay to use the lot. So far, I've never had any problem finding a place to plug in, but would have had problems finding a place to park while not plugging in.

Panoz | 27 avril 2015

I like the 120v outlet everywhere. Most people would likely leave their cars for days at an airport, and wall current would be sufficient to charge the car.

Roamer@AZ USA | 27 avril 2015

The world is slowly learning how to adapt to this new technology.

20 amp outlets seem pretty logical for an airport application. Cheap to install, easy to maintain. Just create a powered space parking rate.

We live in a self entitled world. Seems bizarre to me that someone would park in a charger space and not charge.

Earl and Nagin ... | 27 avril 2015


I usually fly in to SFO and take rental car out, not drive so I have no real experience with EVs there. However, the checkins at indicate that the problems with their Chargepoint chargers is more like I described.
If you've had good luck, that is encouraging.

Grinnin'.VA | 27 avril 2015

@ Panoz | April 27, 2015

I like the 120v outlet everywhere.

So do I. However, I haven't figured out how to finance ubiquitous chargers, even on 120-v circuits.

BTW, in many places 120-v charging isn't viable on cold winter days. That is, it takes more energy to keep the batteries warm enough than the 120-v circuit delivers to an MS.

Earl and Nagin ... | 27 avril 2015


I agree that financing 120v outlets can be a bit tricky. They are so cheap to put in and operate that it costs a lot more to collect money for their use than it does to operate.
I don't quite agree with the temperature issue. I only experienced 120v charging in extreme cold once but I didn't see a huge problem: I plugged in to 120v in Rochester, MN one night when another Model S took the J-1772 port on the Chargepoint charging station by my hotel. That night, the outside temperature was below -10F. While I didn't gain charge very fast, I held what I had and may have gained a very slight bit.
I'll admit that perhaps in MN, MT, ND, etc it would make more sense to put in 14-50 or 6-20 240v outlets but 120v would still be a good start.
In warmer places (including both US coasts), 120v is more than sufficient.

kenj | 27 avril 2015

@Grinnin @Earl
Airports are a great place to do 120v charging. I was working with some planner types to get to the place to identify the tipping point, where you have enough level 1 charging that you do not need designated spaces with enough Level 2/Level 3 charging for those that need it.

So, on that 12 hour flight or long term parking. Level 1 is fine. For most Tesla's I think about Level 1 just to keep the battery warm for cold climates. Picture an EV bay at long term parking, with track mounted charging.

SCCRENDO | 27 avril 2015

I agree a multitude of 110 V charging points rather than a few J1772 stations. Then people can sit there for days to weeks.