THE CAR I’m test driving is running low on charge, so I pull into a car park that has a Type II charger.
Except that someone driving a BMW i3 has just pulled into the only available charging station in the building.
I hope she doesn’t take long, so I decide to pull into another lot with the intention of walking over to find out how long she will be charging her car for. But she’s in a rush and she hurries off.
As I approach the charging point, I see the charger is not plugged into her car!
And the sign on the wall is loud and clear: “Electrical Vehicle Parking Only While Charging”.
I go upstairs into the mall for dinner, thinking she’ll be back in a while to charge her car.
And there she is. Smartly dressed and making her way to a swish restaurant.
I call out to her, and she turns around.
I ask her if she’s going to be charging her car soon, as I need to charge mine.
She has a guilty look on her face as she mumbles something about not having a card, that her car is low on charge, and that she won’t be long.
I ask if it’s likely I can charge my car in an hour’s time, in between my dinner.
She nods, turns on her heel, flicking her hair dismissively, and scurries into the depths of the restaurant.
An hour later, I head down to the car park and the i3 is still in the lot. And it is still not being charged!
I figure she is just irresponsible, that the seemingly eco-friendly car is for show, and that she will not bother to do anything about the situation. True enough, another hour later, her car is still in the lot, not being charged.
It was a further 30 minutes before she moved her car. So much for being low on juice.
She had hogged the only parking space with access to the charging facility for 2.5 hours, selfishly preventing anyone else who might have required use of it.
And this was after knowing full well someone else needed to charge their car.
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While companies and governments generally try and make it more convenient to be environmentally friendly — building infrastructure and enabling easy access to facilities — this sort of selfish behaviour can simply undo any of their good efforts.
In a city that is built upwards, it is going to be difficult to provide adequate charging points at housing estates, should electric cars ever become that popular. Which means that people will have to learn to share the infrastructure…responsibly.
To maximise the use of shared facilities, perhaps those designing car parks for this purpose could have a few lots sharing charging points.
Or the authorities could go down the punitive road — penalising errant drivers, just as they would a regular driver who parks in a lot meant for those with physical disabilities.
Perhaps the authorities might want to start thinking early about how they will help to ensure charging points are used for what they are intended for.
Especially since they have to deal with people who dress smartly, eat at smart restaurants, drive smart cars, but exhibit behaviour that is far from smart.