Overstay at EV charge stations means fines and vehicle damage

While access remains an issue, electric vehicle drivers are being warned that ‘idle fees’ and dead batteries are big risks if you stay too long at charge points. 

a woman standing next to a blue car

According to Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, EV etiquette is becoming far more important as the number of plug-in and hybrid vehicles continues to grow.

At the last count, there were over 1million fully-electric models and 640,000 hybrid on Britain’s roads. However, a crisis is emerging due to the lack of adequate charge point coverage. Despite a 47% increase in the number of charge points available since February 2023, there are just 57,000 available across the UK. 

Believ’s recent Local Authority Insight Report suggested that no council had successfully rolled out their complete charging network, and 34% still had no formal plan approved on how to start. Nevertheless, targets are in place for 300,000 nationwide by 2030, with some areas doing better than others. Westminster, for example, is home to the most charge points per head of population.

While competition for charge points is rising, so too are the number of cases in which EV drivers overstay in the hope of securing a free long-stay parking spot under the guise of ‘refuelling’. However, this in itself can land a hefty fine at many charging stations, up to £1 for every minute a fully-charged EV remains parked. It’s also possible to cause significant damage to vehicle batteries by doing this, leading to burn out. 

‘We’re seeing steady growth in both the number of EVs and charging stations, but EVs still outnumber the places where they can fuel up. So motorists will need to work together to create the most efficient charging experience for everyone,’ said Conway. ‘Unlike a typical petrol station, there’s no regulated queuing system for EV charging in place yet. In the meantime, drivers should try to be patient and polite, following a first-come-first-served basis.

‘Drivers might want to use apps like Zapmap that show a station’s real-time availability,’ he continued. ‘Seeing if there are open spots through these apps first could reduce waiting times to charge your vehicle. You’ll also be less likely to contribute to the traffic in an already congested station. But even with the best of planning, sometimes there’s no avoiding a queue… When a charging station is busy, drivers may want to consider charging their EV to just 80% instead of all the way. Charging is typically fastest for the first 80% and slows down considerably for the last 20% to preserve the vehicle’s long-term battery health.’

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Image: JUICE



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