Victorian drivers of pure combustion and non-pluggable hybrid vehicles could get an “ICE-y” reception if they park in designated electric car parking spots under new proposed rules.
“ICE-ing” is a term commonly used in the electric vehicle community to describe when an EV charging space is taken by an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, and the EV owner is unable to recharge their vehicle.
A document filed by Victorian Labor minister for roads and road safety Ben Carroll shows a recommendation to parliament that proposes ICE vehicles parking in EV-only spots are fined and given licence demerit points.
The pro-EV move would be a small concession to EV owners who will from July 2021 be subject to a road user tax proposed by the Victorian treasurer that has attracted a great deal of negative reactions.
The proposed amendments, if passed into legislation,would mean that any vehicle that cannot be recharged that is found to be parking in an electric vehicle space – whether or not it is next to a charging point – would be dealt 2 penalty points, and up to $330 in fines.
“A driver of a vehicle that is not an electric-powered vehicle must not stop in a parking area for electric-powered vehicles,” the submission states.
It defines an electric vehicle (EV) parking space as one which displays an “electric-powered vehicle symbol”, “electric-powered vehicle parking sign”, or a “a road marking that consists of, or includes, an electric-powered vehicle symbol”.
All vehicles that have an electric drivetrain and can be recharged – that is, all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles – are permitted to park in such spaces.
If the parking space has an electric vehicle charger, those vehicles must only park there if charging, the proposed amendments state.
“A driver must not stop in a parking area for the charging of electric-powered vehicles unless the driver’s vehicle is an electric-powered vehicle and the electric-powered vehicle is plugged in to an external source of electricity,” the document says.
It does not propose any legislation that would limit the amount of time an electric vehicle can be plugged in. In some jurisdictions, this is sometimes limited by normal parking time limits, or by extra fees by the minute through the charging unit after a time limit is up.
There is an easier way though – just utilise common-sense charging etiquette and move an EV, once charged enough or the time limit is up, for others to use.
The proposed amendments would also see lanes marked and signed specifically for buses and electric cars, to encourage more use of both.
Carroll says that any minor inconvenience to other drivers is “more than outweighed by the benefits to society and the environment” that would be gained by more use of public transport wand electric cars.
We have reached out to Carroll’s office to determine if and when the proposed amendments will take effect.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model Y and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.