Four Australian states and territories will now heavily fine drivers hogging up EV chargers, and it doesn’t matter if charging station squatters are driving ICE-equipped cars or EVs. Depending on the location, the new fines range from $369 to $3,200 Australian, or roughly $245 to $2,130 at current exchange rates, as the Guardian reports.
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Some of these now steeper penalties were introduced last year in an effort to discourage what the Guardian refers to as “ICEing,” or the deliberate misuse of EV parking spaces by drivers of combustion-powered cars. In the past, it was mostly these drivers who would prevent EVs from gaining access to charging stations, but it seems EV drivers are now just as capable of preventing fellow EV fans from recharging. The heavy fines will now apply to EVs that are not actively recharging their batteries. Charge or get off the pot, says Australia.
The fines will be enforced in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, but the penalties come with the highest costs in the ACT, Queensland and NSW. Blocking an EV charger there will result in “a maximum fine of 20 penalty units,” according to the Guardian. Penalty units reportedly have different values throughout Australia, which is why drivers in the capital can be fined up to $3,200 ($2,130), while drivers fined in Victoria will only be on the hook for $369 ($245).
Even though the rate of EV adoption in Australia is slowly inching upwards, EV infrastructure is still lacking. Fully-electric cars made up 6.8 percent of new car sales throughout OZ in February, and there are now over 83,000 EVs in the country. The upside is there are more EVs; the downside is there are also more EVs vying for the same charging stations, as president of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association, Chris Jones, explains:
“No one would like it if I parked my vehicle in front of a fuel bowser and walked inside and ordered lunch,” he said.
“There needs to be an acknowledgment that there are places you can park and places you can’t and right in front of an EV charger is one where you can’t.”
“Every charger available is critical and valuable to the fleet of 80,000-odd EVs in the country and we need to make sure they’re not blocked, either intentionally or accidentally,” he said. “There are genuine mistakes made by some people but we need to have a broad recognition across society that these chargers need to be available to EVs so we can have more on our roads.”
Some officials in the Australian government say they want to support the EV transition, and add that these fines are meant to keep the community moving forward by ensuring that EV charging stations are readily accessible for the country’s budding fleet of fully-electric cars.