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Electric mobility : how to stop cars squatting?
With more than 27,000 new registrations listed at the beginning of 2017, France ranks as the leader of electric vehicles sales in Europe. City authorities are therefore multiplying the deployment of charging stations to meet the increasing users’ needs. Transportation sector being the most emissive sector in term of greenhouse gases, switching to electromobility is crucial to accelerate the energy transition. The access to the 16,000 public charging points currently installed is a major challenge.

 

A significant accessibility challenge

When we talk about the squatting car issue on charging spots for electric vehicles, we immediately think of these combustion vehicles whose illegitimate presence regularly irritates the users of EVs or RHVs. The practice, also called “ICE-ing”, can be done in a more subtle way by the electric cars themselves in case they are not connected to the stations. Their owners sometimes think that they can freely use the reserved parking space while they are going shopping.

Some stories on the web also testify of the growing frustration in France and abroad resulting from the ICE-ing phenomenon. Loïc Le Meur, a well-known entrepreneur complaining about the lack of free spaces at the Tesla “Supercharger” caught the attention of Elon Musk. He promised to take charge of this problem. If the car is not moved within the 5 minutes after the end of the refill, penalties of €0.35 per minute will begin to apply! However, this does not solve all the issues in particular combustion cars that tend to park in the places dedicated to the charging stations.

 

How to fight the ICE-ing phenomenon?

  • Information and awareness campaigns to alert drivers about good practices regarding the use of these reserved spots,
  • More obvious recharging spots using explanatory signs reminding the law, systematic markings on the ground with bright colors to distinguish them from other parking places,
  • More fines on the public space with a surcharge for drivers who stay longer than the time of the recharge, some penalties in private parking to dissuade the “squatters” to use these places, based today on to the goodwill of shops malls, which usually do not want to annoy their customers,
  • More technical solutions to detect the presence of vehicles based on wireless sensors. These solutions today used in the ITS (Intelligent Transport System) sector demand a high level of requirement and reliability. They provide a reliable, efficient and economical solution to resolve access issue to the electric recharging points. Operators (city or energy authorities) of charging stations networks monitor in real time the presence of vehicles whether they are charging or not. It provides to end users a reliable information about the actual availability of charging stations and possibly initiate a penalty process for infringing vehicles.
Reliable and quick information of actual availability is essential to satisfy users and future electric vehicle drivers and to promote sustainable mobility. Users will be able to continue their journey and return home without hesitation and do not extend for several hours a medium or long distance trip. Vehicle presence detection solutions also ensure the cost-effectiveness of the infrastructure deployed by operators and encourage faster meshing to reduce existing territorial disparities and accelerate the energy transition.
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