Electric vehicle community hopes to see fines for ICEholes

DENVER -- The electric vehicle community hopes to see lawmakers pass a bill that would fine people $150 for parking in a space designated for charging electric vehicles.

Sean Mitchell is president of Denver's Tesla Club. He's started taking pictures of ICEholes, a nickname the electric vehicle community has given to internal combustion engine vehicles that park in charging station spots.

Mitchell said one of his most memorable incidents was a road-trip home from California. He pulled into a hotel in Glenwood Springs with charging spaces, only to find people had parked in all the spaces. Thankfully, hotel staff was aware of the issue and reserved one space by blocking it with a employee car. Mitchell said if that employee's car hadn't reserved him a spot, his next charging option wasn't for another 90 miles and he only had 30 miles left on his battery.

Mitchell said while sometimes it's an accident, other times drivers do this intentionally.

"We have heard stories across the U.S. where large trucks want to agitate the EV community. Other times I don’t think people realize the infrastructure is not as deep as the gas infrastructure so it’s a lot about awareness," said Mitchell.

Under the proposed bill, people driving gas-powered cars would be fined $150 for parking in electric vehicle spaces. Electric vehicles parked in charging spaces for more than four hours would also face fines.

Mitchell said this legislation is necessary to encourage people to purchase electric vehicles. Mitchell said if people hear it is difficult to find parking spaces to charge their vehicles, they will be less inclined to switch from a gas-powered car to an electric vehicle.

"A lot of these people want to see more EVs on the road but people will be less inclined to purchase one if one of these spots if being blocked intentionally or unintentionally," said Mitchell.

Not everyone in on board with the proposed legislation. The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association feels that implementing a law like this is unnecessary. CADA's president and CEO said he's only seen one gas-powered car park in an electric vehicle charging space outside of their building. He feels there isn't enough of a problem to warrant this kind of legislation.

This bill remains under consideration at the state capitol.

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