By on July 27, 2015

ICE-ing Parking

An Illinois bill that would make it illegal to park a gasoline-powered car in an electric car charging spot is awaiting the governor’s signature, Green Car Reports writes.

The practice, also called ICE-ing, would net a $75-$100 ticket for the offending car owner in Illinois.

The electric vehicle charging spot would need to be clearly marked, the bill states. The bill would also make it legal to tow a car from an electric vehicle parking spot, whether in a public place or private garage.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Illinois State Rep. Robyn Gabel, a constituent called her to complain about the practice and that’s what prompted the statewide measure. (Find your state legislator here.)

Several municipalities have already outlawed the practice and there’s a Facebook group dedicated to sharing pictures of reported “ICE-holes.”

In 2012, a Fox News story asked aloud if the parking stations were a perk or privilege and quoted a driver in St. Paul, Minnesota, who said electric vehicle owners could be incapacitated because of the car they’ve purchased.

“This makes me think drivers of electric cars must be a little disabled,” one customer who didn’t want to give his name to FoxNews.com. “They are usually health freaks, so I wonder why they don’t mind walking a half-mile back to a charging station.”

(Photo courtesy ICEHoles – Internal Combustion Vehicle Shaming via Facebook)

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78 Comments on “Drivers Hogging Electric Spaces in Illinois May Get Ticketed...”


  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Increase the fine to $200 plus automatic tow, and they’ll never do it again!

  • avatar
    Silverbird

    I think most EV driver would be happy to park near the back of the lot for a free charge, however 2 things work against this:

    1) The power supply for the charging station is nearly always located at the store, so it’s cheapest and easiest to put them by the store, rather than pay for more copper and rip up more ground to install them at the back of the lot.
    and a lot less likely:
    2) Social Responsibility Advertising for the store (“look how green we are, supporting EV’s”) with the signs where everyone has to walk past.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    “This makes me think drivers of electric cars must be a little disabled,” one customer who didn’t want to give his name to FoxNews.com. “They are usually health freaks, so I wonder why they don’t mind walking a half-mile back to a charging station.”

    This person sounds like a delight to be around.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      The cynical side of me also suspects they would avail themselves of a similar privilege if their vehicle happened to qualify. They may also be one of those chowderheads who blocks traffic in a parking lot waiting for that one space to open closer to the door when the whole lot is empty fifty feet in front of them.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      Also extremely dimwitted. I’ll just go get a red plastic container to fill up with electricity to take back to my electric car which died in a non charging space while people like him take part in the latest let’s-be-horrible-to-others-just-because trend.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Is that a new Chrysler Sebring electric car?

  • avatar
    Dan

    I recently visited a strip mall with lot signage indicating that the first row was reserved for “hybrid and low emission vehicles only.”

    Parking a 230″ truck isn’t generally much fun. But that day it was.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Everything from about 2005 onward is certified LEV. If only the watermelons could learn the error of their edicts.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      I see semi trucks being towed all the time so I’m sure towing your truck won’t be a problem when you do that at the wrong place one day:)

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I wonder what the towing law is in such a situation. Sure you want to cite private property etc but in a paid parking lot towing people for violations of signs not mandated by DOT (such as handicapped where there is a state law) might not be legal. If we switch the situation around I owned a parking garage/lot and put up one of those novelty signs that said “Corvette Parking Only” and then tow a Prius who parked there, can I really get away with it in today’s highly litigious and politicized society?

        • 0 avatar
          VenomV12

          If you own and paid for the parking lot I imagine you can do anything you want with it, it is private property.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            See you would think that but I’d still like to know the law (or case law) in such a situation. It really comes back to state issued/regulated signs and self created ones. When you pay to park you have the expectation of getting value for your money. If there was a situation where there was not other space than the one bearing a non-enforceable sign, I park, and am towed at my own expense i would be inclined to sue for breach of contract.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Most parking laws are a local matter. If they aren’t violating other laws and the signage, etc. are legal, then it should possible to tow.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            What is legal signage? Most road signs are regulated by some level of gov’t but ones made up by the property owner are not.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            As I said, it is usually a local matter. City or county ordinance.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Did you know that the X on the back of my car means “hybrid?”

      I bet most people would buy that. Too bad I don’t frequent strip malls.

  • avatar
    sproc

    Mixed feelings on this. I don’t think EVs should get any special protected status in a private lot/space, but if the property owner clearly signs a spot for EV only, it seems perfectly reasonable for them to tow anyone abusing it.

    The best I ever saw was a Z06 in an EV spot a few months back in a Vegas hotel garage. Priceless photo, wish I could post it.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      In a private lot, if the owner wants to restrict spaces to EVs, he should be able to. But he should also be able to restrict them to pickups with visible gun racks…. Or cars carrying 36DD passengers…

      As a practical matter, it would be cost prohibitive to have to install charging stations in every single spot, just because one was barred from assigning certain spots to EVs.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        If we had lifted EV BOF trucks/SUVs we could just put a 12 inch clearence block in front of the EV stations. That would keep out 98% of other vehicles.

        Yay solutions.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I was under the impression that such signage in parking lots which is not of the “state” sort (like handicapped, or emergency ambulance zone) was a mere “suggestion.” I didn’t think the EV thing or the “Carry Out Only” or “Expecting Mothers” signs were enforceable.

  • avatar
    dwford

    So EV owners add another special privilege- preferred parking backed up by the force of law to go along with extensive purchase subsidies, HOV lane preference and freedom from the gas tax. Anything else you need, EV owners??

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Next time I need to visit the convenience store, maybe I’ll just park the Leaf in front of the gas pump, then go inside the store to buy a lottery ticket and sit down to enjoy a donut at 8 am. I’ll limit my stop to 20 minutes – promise.

      Why should an EV charging spot be treated as a parking space when I can’t do this at a gas pump?

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        We were thinking the same thing!!!

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If you block a gasoline pump with your EV, the cops aren’t going to swoop in to protect me. This is a private affair, not a criminal violation.

        Unless there is some sort of mandate or tax benefit provided for the electric chargers that makes them an entitlement for their users, this sounds like an issue that should be left to the property owner. If the owner wants to have a towing policy, then give him the right to deem it unacceptable, require him to post signage that advises violators of the consequences and allow his favorite towing company to deal with it.

      • 0 avatar

        If there are no other parking spaces available, my guess is the station operator doesn’t mind if you park there as long as you go in the store and spend money.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          There are 4 gas pumps at my local convenience store. If 4 EVs blocked all four pumps for an extended period of time, you can bet the attitudes on this would change.

          There is certainly a principle in play here, but the argument is colored by the proliferation of gas pumps available. In today’s EV world (except CA and OR, of course), the charger you see may be the only one available for many miles. Blocking its use is potentially dangerous to the stranded driver.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Do you want to criminalize every civil dispute?

            If there is a gas station that has perpetually occupied pumps, then the usual recourse would be to buy your gas somewhere else. Presumably, the dude or gal who owns those gas pumps would have an incentive to make sure that paying customers don’t go somewhere else.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @PCH101

            >> Do you want to criminalize every civil dispute?

            You don’t. There’s a better approach. I’ve recently become a big fan of paid charging stations. When there’s profit motive lots of issues resolve themselves. Station owners make sure the spaces are clear and that they’re well maintained. It also tends to scare off slow charging PHEVs like the Volt since when it’s an hourly rate and you have a slow 3.3 or 3.6 kW on-board charger, you’ll go elsewhere.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            I agree with the paid charging stations. The issue is that many of these charging stations are “free”.

            If you change it to a fee based system, no normal person with a gas vehicle is going to pay to charge their ICE vehicle.

            The same way you and your Leaf aren’t going to pay for gas, so you can park in front of a pump.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        It’s not against the law to park by the pump and walk into the store, it’s just a rude thing to do. No cop is going to come ticket you for it.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      So when I go to a gas station for a soda, is it okay for me to take up space at a pump with my EV. Is that space at the pump a special privilege for gassers?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Illinois: We will solve the problem of ordinary people parking their ordinary cars in the spaces next to the charging station for your rich man toys.

    People: What about the $127 billion in dollars and counting in debt you have amassed? How will you solve this problem?

    Illinois: Did we mention we are on top of the ICE-hole situation?

    https://www.illinoispolicy.org/illinois-drowning-in-debt-127-billion-and-counting/

    • 0 avatar
      Shinoda is my middle name

      Hey, cut ’em some slack. They’re working on it…. if only 1,693,333,334 tickets for ICE-ing are written in Silly-noise, at $75 a pop: budget deficit solved.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      A $30k Leaf is a ‘rich man toy’, but a $50k pickup truck isn’t?

      OR

      A $90k Tesla is a ‘rich man toy’ but a $90k Corvette isn’t?

      The blind hate is amusing.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        The $50k personal use truck isn’t getting a huge government subsidy towards it’s purchase.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Yes, but the gas it’s burning does. By the way, what ever happened to the Republican party idea that rich people keeping more of their hard earned money was a good thing?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Not Illinois but this Detroit Free Press article is interesting with some of the data it provides about Michigan nuclear power and its electricity generation.

            Breakdown of electricity mix in Michigan (as of 2013):

            ■ 54% coal

            ■ 28% nuclear

            ■ 12% natural gas

            ■ 6% renewable

            http://www.freep.com/story/money/business/michigan/2015/02/22/third-fermi-reactor-doomed-gas/23776681/

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        While dwford has a point, the only reason this is getting any play in the state is because rich well connected people are p*ssed off they can’t charge their Teslas, not because the give or take 10,000 Leaf owners in Chicago had their voices heard. I agree in that is is a rude practice and can create a stranded condition for the Leaf/Tesla owner.

        • 0 avatar
          z9

          I was just driving around Chicago yesterday and I was amazed that I didn’t see a single Leaf. I don’t know who is behind the law but I seriously doubt it is Tesla owners — charging a Tesla at a L2 station is generally pointless because they almost always have enough range to get home. But for a car with less range that is getting close to zero, public chargers are essential, and I completely understand the emotions that are driving the desire for enforcement. Let’s say it’s midnight and I need to use an L2 at a city hall parking ramp that’s been ICEd. How much support am I going to get from a “property owner” if I could even find one?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks for the info. I was just spitballing but I still speculate it was someone with clout who took it personally when he/she couldn’t charge their car and did something about it.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Then how about the other way? Can we ban EV from using a gas pump? (GM claims that the Volt is an EV.)

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    It’s just marvelous irony that a BHPH Chrysler is sitting there.

    Only a Farruko-blasting ’97 Voyager full of little eyeballs could be better.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Ok, parking an Escalade in an EV spot is a dick move.

    But IF (repeat IF!) EV spots are in high demand areas, can other luxury brands (Rolls?, Maybach?) offer a similar service? With appropriate State Enforcers?

    I know a Lexus owner or two would LOVE to have spots reserved in Manhattan, Toronto and other urban parking nightmares.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      “I know a Lexus owner or two would LOVE to have spots reserved in Manhattan, Toronto and other urban parking nightmares”

      Then why don’t they get a Muskmobile to go with their Lex? After all, in order to count amongst the wealthy and influential in Manhattan, Yellen must surely have handed them enough freshly printed dosh so they can afford that.

  • avatar
    Mr. Orange

    I see a potential issue of unintended consequences if they make this apply to private garages.

    Scenerio 1: You own an electric vehicle but for whatever reason it is in the shop and you are given an ICE powered vehicle. You park it where you normally do (you may own or rent said spot) and it is towed and/or you’re ticketed.

    Scenerio 2: You own a a plug in hybrid (say Porsche Cayenne, Panamera, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion Energi, etc) that has a conventional powertrain version. And a police officer or attendent miss identifies your vehicle (for whatever reason) and again your vehicle is towed and /or ticketed.

    I will be curious to know how this law will be applied to privately owned or rented parking spaces inside a private garage.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Scenario 1 – yes, your loaner car should be towed if there is no placard to identify its ‘ownership’ of that particular spot.

      Scenario 2 – yes, your plug-in hybrid could be towed if it isn’t plugged in, and/or not placarded accordingly. The point of having a plug-in vehicle is to use the plug-in capability.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      My license plate number starts with the letters EV and the plate says electric vehicle. I have three spots reserved for my EV at three different locations, but I can use them with other vehicles. The down side is that one of them is quite a walk, so I wouldn’t bother if I wasn’t charging. Another one is on an unmarked floor of the garage. There’s no signage to indicate it and you kind of have to know where the down ramp for it is located.

      Privately owned garages where I live in New England enforce it themselves. Especially if the charger is a pay charger you can bet they aren’t going to want to lose that revenue.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      I rent a spot in Chicago. I’ve brought home a company car on more than one occasion; I’ve left a message with the building manager that I was bringing a different car home. But since the only person that would call and complain that someone took your spot would be you they really don’t care.

  • avatar
    mcs

    With a Tesla P90DI and a tow strap you’d never have an ICE problem that you couldn’t resolve quickly.

    I had on situation on the MIT Campus where employees were icing the charging spots and there were plenty of other spaces actually closer to the the door. A quick call to the campus police resolved the problem very quickly.

    Some places don’t mark the spaces and I don’t complain about those other than email to the station owner. Most people aren’t going to know what the chargers are so if they’re not marked, you can’t blame them.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    What would Jesus do?

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    I don’t own an EV but I am not as generous as others, I would have their cars or trucks crushed, especially if you park in something as glaringly obvious as a Tesla spot. Steve Wozniak had this exact problem the other day, he was on a trip and got to the supercharging station and was luckily able to barely get a spot because some of the other spots were taken by jerks in pickup trucks. Towing and fining these types of people was a long time coming.

  • avatar
    Richarbl

    I don’t have a problem with this except for one thing. How is the ticketing officer going to identify an electric car? Will they have to remember every single electric vehicle currently on the market and in the future? I can see a lot of people being unfairly booked because the officer thought their car was a petrol powered vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      >> I can see a lot of people being unfairly booked because the officer thought their car was a petrol powered vehicle.

      I have an electric vehicle plate. The fact that the car is plugged-in is a good indicator as well. In some places (can’t remember where), even if you have an EV and it isn’t charging, you can get a ticket.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      Considering that most of the electric cars I’ve seen have a charging port and lack a tailpipe, it’s not that difficult to tell the difference from a gasoline or diesel-powered one.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    I see this quite often at Whole Foods- most of the chargers are always flashing out of order anyway.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    There is a Tesla charging station behind a Carl’s Jr. in Kingman, Arizona. That’s right off I-40, if you’re playing at home.

    I suppose if you’re headed East on 40 out of LA, Kingman is a full charge down the road.

    I guess a lot of Tesla owners aren’t going that way, because I’ve never seen a Tesla parked there. Also, you can’t charge any other EV at a Tesla charger, so any other EV driver who needs to charge simply can not.

  • avatar
    Steve Lynch

    Ditto the Tesla charging station at the Carl’s Jr. on I-8 in scenic Gila Bend, AZ, always empty when I pass by.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Nice fish decal on the back of that Sebring.

    How much you want to bet that sweet, Christian driver parks in handicapped spots, too?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    What is this, be smug day?

    Whose to say it wasn’t a 70 year old lady going for ice cream with her grandchildren. Tesla isn’t a household name, I could go to a college campus and ask 20 students before I found someone that knew what a Tesla in the automotive sense is. Half the people riding past those stations probably think it’s a car vacuum.

    You chose to be different, you have to put up with the consequences, and believe me, I don’t say that in a negative way.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      Regardless of whether or not the driver knows what a Tesla is, the large red sign reading “ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING/PARKING ONLY” (or something to that effect) should give them a slight hint.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I’ve seen plenty of cases where the station wasn’t marked as EV only parking. Yes, CHAdeMO stations do look a lot like car vacuums. In fact, once I had to stretch a charger cable into an adjacent space to charge when a car had ICEd the space. The owner returned and apologized and said she didn’t know what it was. I told her there was no need to apologize – it wasn’t marked so there was no way for her to know and I was still able to charge without a problem.

      However, I’ve seen the opposite. A clearly marked space painted green with lots of EV only markings at a remote out of the way part of an empty lot – and someone went out of their way to ICE it.

      Tomorrow I’m going to Boston and will be in a garage with very, very few large vehicle spaces. I could “compact” one of the large vehicle spaces with my small car and take away one of the big spaces. They chose to be different, they have to put up with the consequences.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      There’s no goddamn way you could step foot on a college campus with 18-21 year olds and go through 20 people before you found someone who knew what Tesla was. If you even found one person that did not know what Tesla was I would be amazed. Everyone also that I know in their 60s and 70s knows what Tesla is too, they either own stock in it or they are interested in buying one.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Uh-oh. You had to go and mention Tesla stock. Now we’re in for it…

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Outside of a few hotspots, Tesla is not well known, I don’t ride past a Tesla dealership, see ads, nor do I see more than maybe 1 example on the street in a given month. It’s a niche within a niche, yea I doubt I could go through 20 people at Berkley, but at UNC, or any college outside of the 3 states lining the contiguous west coast? Very, very likely that many, not into cars, would have a puzzled look.

  • avatar
    Bob

    I do this all the time at the Aurora, IL train station. I park in the EV spot and hook up my cavaliers trickle charger with an extension cord. I’m charging a battery.

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