Drivers could be fined up to $3,200 for parking in EV spaces as part of little-known penalties introduced in four states and territories.
The fines, some of them added to traffic regulations late last year, range from $3,200 in the Australian Capital Territory to $369 in Victoria.
But experts say the heavy penalties are important to encourage EV adoption and prevent drivers from doing the equivalent of parking “in front of a gas tank.”
The fines apply to drivers who leave gasoline or diesel vehicles in spaces designated for electric cars in an act known as “ICEing” for their use of internal combustion engine cars.
But the penalties also apply to electric car drivers who occupy parking spaces without recharging their vehicles.
NSW Metropolitan Roads Minister Natalie Ward said the government added the offense to “support the transition to electric vehicles on our roads”.
“To make sure the community keeps moving forward, we want electric vehicle drivers to have access to charging stations when they are available,” he said.
ACT, Queensland and NSW introduced the highest fines for blocking access to charging stations, with a maximum fine of 20 penalty units.
But due to different unit prices, drivers in the ACT could be fined up to $3,200, in NSW it could be $2,200 and in Queensland it could cost drivers $2,875.
The fine in Victoria for misuse of an electric vehicle charging space is two penalty units or $369.
Australian Electric Vehicle Association national president Chris Jones said while penalties for blocking infrastructure were high, they were necessary to educate the public who may not have considered the repercussions.
“No one would like it if I parked my car in front of a gas depot and went in and ordered lunch,” he said.
“There has to be a recognition that there are places you can park and places you can’t and right in front of an EV charger is one you can’t.”
Electric Vehicle Council chief policy officer Jake Whitehead said the fines sent “a very clear and strong signal.”
But he said more education may be needed for gasoline-car drivers who found chargers added to existing parking lots, as well as new EV drivers who didn’t recognize the need to abandon charging spots for other drivers as soon as possible. as possible.
“Every available charger is critical and valuable to the fleet of approximately 80,000 electric vehicles in the country and we must ensure that they are not blocked, either intentionally or accidentally,” he said.
“There are genuine mistakes being made by some people, but we need to have broad recognition across society that these chargers need to be available for electric vehicles so we can have more on our roads.”
There are more than 83,000 electric vehicles in Australia, according to the EV Council, with battery-powered vehicles accounting for 6.8 per cent of all new car sales in February.