Should electric vehicle owners get priority in public parking lots?

With seemingly more electric vehicle charging stations cropping up than there are electric vehicles, some are questioning the placement of those stations in public parking locations.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

So, Fox News had this article out on Friday questioning the practice by mall operators and store owners of including charging stations for electric vehicles. Actually, they aren't so much questioning the practice overall, the story is critical of the tendency to place these spots in high visibility places, often close to the entrance. Where, many time they are empty because of the limited number of electric vehicles on the road.

As I have reported numerous times, forward-thinking retail operations have been installing spots in order to encourage visits by these owners and, let's be real, to generate a little good will and potential revenue by allowing electric-vehicle charging on premise. Garage operators have also taken to this practice because it might give them a competitive edge by catering to the small but growing number of electric-vehicle owners who are seeking to charge up their cars while spending some time at the store.

Fox suggests that there is a "growing frustration" among people who drive "conventional" cars about the placement of the parking spots and it quotes an unnamed person in Minnesota with this rant: "This makes me think drivers of electric cars must be a little disabled."

So, here's the thing: Don't blame electric-vehicle drivers for the placement of the spots, take it up with the real estate company or business owner who picked that location.

The locations of these stations are strictly a business decision, chosen for their visibility. Heck, it obviously has more people thinking about electric vehicles, even if they don't drive them.

If businesses choose to respect the pioneers who actually are helping ensure that the future prices of electric vehicles are cheaper for the rest of us by installing places for them to charge while running errands, they have a right to put charging stations where they want. No one is requiring them to make these investments.

Oh, and by the way, don't park in that spot out of spite just because it is closer. Even though I don't think you can get a ticket for parking a gasoline-powered vehicle in a charging station spot like you can if you're a jerk enough to park in handicapped parking spot, it's really poor form. Plus, you might actually be preventing someone from making it back home, if they have pushed the limits of their electric-vehicle battery.

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