Electric car drivers being ‘punished’ with fines at charging stations

An overstaying fee was introduced in a number of cities in April to charge electric car owners an additional cost if they remain parked at a charging station for too long. The Scottish city of Aberdeen began charging drivers £30 if they stay for more than an hour after they have finished refuelling.

Motorists in Sheffield were also warned of new charges starting from April 1, with EV owners receiving a £20 fine for overstaying.

Some councils and charge point operators have been introducing overstay fees to deal with the growing demand for public chargers with the rollout of electric cars.

There are fears that this could become a more common occurrence as the number of electric cars outpaces the installation of new chargers.

Tim Alcock, from LeaseElectricCar.co.uk, is warning drivers to be aware of fines which could potentially be introduced in their areas.

He said: “I sympathise with those local authorities who feel the only way to tackle the issue of overcharging is to hand out fines to electric vehicle owners. 

“Despite EV owners initially being praised for making the switch to electric, it seems now they are being punished.

“It is the Government who needs to gear up on their promise to install 300,000 new public charge points up and down the country by 2030. Reports show that the UK is not currently on track to achieve that.”

The Tesla Supercharger network has the second largest share of rapid and ultra-rapid chargers across the UK, with more than 1,000.

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In total, Tesla has over 45,000 chargers around the world, allowing drivers to recharge up to 172 miles (276km) in just 15 minutes, at a cost cheaper than petrol.

Any Superchargers are also subject to the Idle Fee which is levied onto drivers if they stay longer than they need to once they are fully charged.

For every additional minute that a car remains connected to the Supercharger once it is fully charged, an idle fee will occur.

These fees will be waived if the car is moved within five minutes, with the fees only given out if the Supercharger station is at 50 percent capacity or more.

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Generally, the idle fee per minute is 50p, although this rises to £1 per minute when the station is at 100 percent occupancy and people are waiting.

Tesla insists the fees are designed to increase customer happiness by ensuring everyone can charge and they “never hope to make any money from it”.

Mr Alcock called on the Department for Transport to focus on installing more rapid chargers, so that local authorities do not need to introduce the fines.

He added: “More public charge points desperately need to be installed up and down the country to make driving an EV easier and motivate more motorists to swap out petrol and diesel, as the Government has encouraged.

“Tackling the issue of the lack of public use rapid charge points is the right way forward, rather than forcing local authorities to have to start introducing fines for drivers just to free up spaces for others.”

Other charge point operators around the UK charge drivers if they overstay their allotted time and their car has been sufficiently charged.

ESB Energy charges £8 an hour, while Geniepoint, which has more than 1,500 rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, charges £10 after an hour and a half and a further £10 for every 90 minutes after that.

Data from Zap-Map shows a consistently growing number of charge points being installed, with more than 2,000 installed in April alone.

Between April 2023 and 2022, the UK has seen a 37 percent increase in the total number of charging devices, which are spread across almost 25,000 charging locations.

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