How electric car owners are seeing their designated parking spots on Sydney streets blocked by petrol car drivers – and the rude nickname they’ve given these motorists
- Gasoline drivers block electric vehicle chargers, known as ‘ice holes’
- If a petrol or diesel car stops in an EV space, it can be fined.
As the surge in sales of electric vehicles proves that a car revolution is coming to Australia, the challenge of charging them is creating increased competition for parking spaces on our streets.
An emerging issue is that charging stations in public places are highly coveted and often blocked by non-EV drivers.
The practice is known as “ICE-ing” – an acronym for cars with an internal combustion engine running on fuel – and parking in spaces reserved for electric vehicles.
Electric vehicle owners even have a sordid nickname for drivers who deliberately block public parking spaces with charging ports, calling them “ice holes.”
A recent example of ICE-ing occurred when a driver in New South Wales wanted to charge a Volvo XC40 EV at a public charging port in Sydney’s inner suburb of Newtown.
A frustrated electric vehicle driver has shared a photo on social media of two petrol cars blocking a public electric vehicle charging port in Sydney.
Drivers of petrol and diesel cars face heavy fines if they park in spaces reserved for electric vehicles.
However, as he drove to the charging port on Brown Street, he spotted two non-electric cars blocking the charger.
The driver shared his frustrations on Twitter on Sunday, captioning the photo “Two ice holes.”
There are 3,669 public charging stations at 2,417 locations across Australia, according to a report by the Electric Vehicle Council published in October last year.
This total is only a fraction of the number recorded in many comparable countries, such as Canada, which offers its electric vehicle drivers access to more than 16,000 public charging stations in approximately 7,000 locations.
Demand for public charging stations has increased as electric car sales continue to rise across the country.
More than 46,620 electric vehicles were sold in Australia between the start of 2023 and the end of June, an increase of 269% and a sales record almost three times higher than the same period last year.
Electric vehicles in Australia now account for 8.4 per cent of all new cars sold in the country, an increase of 120.5 per cent from all of 2022.
With the growth in electric vehicle sales, Australian states and territories are cracking down on drivers of petrol and diesel cars who pinch off parking spaces reserved for electric vehicles.
In New South Wales, those who park in a space reserved for electric vehicles can be fined up to $2,200.
In the ACT, the maximum penalty for stopping in an electric car zone is 20 penalty units, which equates to a hefty $3,200 fine.
In Queensland, those who mistakenly park in an EV slot face fines of up to $2,875, while residents of Victoria face a much lesser penalty, with two points penalty costing $369.
Experts say the heavy penalties are important to encourage adoption of electric vehicles and prevent drivers from doing the equivalent of parking “in front of a fuel tank”.
The driver of the electric vehicle was finally able to use the port to charge his electric Volvo XC40 (pictured)
Electric vehicle owners have even referred to drivers who deliberately block public parking spaces equipped with charging ports as “ice holes.” ‘ICE’ refers to cars that require fuel to run and have an internal combustion engine (pictured, petrol cars parked in electric vehicle spaces)
The fines also apply to drivers of electric cars who stop in parking spaces without charging their vehicle.
Electric Vehicle Council policy officer Jake Whitehead said the fines send a clear and strong message to owners of diesel and petrol cars and drivers of electric vehicles who fail to charge when parked in the spaces.
“No one would like me to park my vehicle in front of a fuel tanker, walk inside and order lunch,” Mr Whitehead said.
“Every available charger is critical and valuable to the nation’s fleet of some 80,000 electric vehicles and we need to ensure they are not blocked, intentionally or accidentally.
“Some people have made real mistakes, but we need to make it widely understood in society that these chargers need to be available for electric vehicles so we can have more of them on our roads.”