Victorian drivers of pure combustion and non-pluggable hybrid vehicles will get an “ICE-y” reception if they park in designated electric car parking spots under new rules that come into effect on December 1, 2020.

“ICE-ing” is a term commonly used in the electric vehicle community to describe when an EV charging space is taken by an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, and the EV owner is unable to recharge their vehicle.

document filed by Victorian Labor minister for roads and road safety Ben Carroll shows a recommendation to parliament that proposes ICE vehicles parking in EV-only spots are fined and given licence demerit points.

“The Victorian Government is working with the National Transport Commission and other states and territories to standardise parking laws,” a spokesperson for the Victorian government said in a note by email.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) led the process to develop the new rules after observing that councils and other parking operators were increasingly provided spaces exclusively for use by electric powered vehicles, however there was limited ability to enforce their use through the Road Rules.

The pro-EV move would be a small concession to EV owners who will from July 2021 be subject to a road user tax proposed by the Victorian treasurer that has attracted a great deal of negative reactions.

The new amendments would mean that any vehicle that cannot be recharged that is found to be parking in an electric vehicle space – whether or not it is next to a charging point – would be dealt 0.6 penalty points and a $99 fine on the spot, and up to 2 penalty points and $330 fine if the matter goes to court.

“A driver of a vehicle that is not an electric-powered vehicle must not stop in a parking area for electric-powered vehicles,” the submission states.

It defines an electric vehicle (EV) parking space as one which displays an “electric-powered vehicle symbol”, “electric-powered vehicle parking sign”, or a “a road marking that consists of, or includes, an electric-powered vehicle symbol”.

All vehicles that have an electric drivetrain and can be recharged – that is, all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles – are permitted to park in such spaces.

If the parking space has an electric vehicle charger, those vehicles must only park there if charging, the amendments state.

“A driver must not stop in a parking area for the charging of electric-powered vehicles unless the driver’s vehicle is an electric-powered vehicle and the electric-powered vehicle is plugged in to an external source of electricity,” the document says.

It does not propose any legislation that would limit the amount of time an electric vehicle can be plugged in. In some jurisdictions, this is sometimes limited by normal parking time limits, or by extra fees by the minute through the charging unit after a time limit is up.

There is an easier way though – just utilise common-sense charging etiquette and move an EV, once charged enough or the time limit is up, for others to use.

The amendments will also see lanes marked and signed specifically for buses and electric cars, to encourage more use of both.

Carroll says that any minor inconvenience to other drivers is “more than outweighed by the benefits to society and the environment” that would be gained by more use of public transport wand electric cars.

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