ICEholes beware: Colorado is considering parking fines for blocking
electric-vehicle charging stations
Apr 22, 2019 Tamara Chuang
Arriving at night at the Residence Inn in Glenwood Springs, Tesla owner Sean
Mitchell was miffed that all the charging stations were occupied by gasoline
vehicles. Electric-vehicle owners have a name for those folks — ICEholes.
And when this happens, an EV owner has been ICE’d. (Provided by Sean
After spotting a sign in Arizona warning of $350 fines for drivers who park
in spots reserved for charging electric vehicles, Colorado resident Kamala
Vanderkolk helped craft House Bill 1298, which would fine violators.
(Provided by Kamala Vanderkolk)
Tesla Supercharger at the Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree on April 20, 2019
was full of Teslas, which are the only electric vehicles that can use these
spots. (Tamara Chuang, The Colorado Sun)
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park turned a dirt lot into a charging area for
Tesla’s. It’s away from the main entrance so other hotel guests would have
to drive out of their way to park there. It currently has seven Tesla
chargers and is planning on adding more. (Provided by Grand Heritage Hotel
Model X Towing a Chevy Silverado Truck out of a Supercharger Station
“I would never park my car at a gas station and walk away. That’s
essentially what they’re doing,” said Margaret-Ann Leavitt, with National
Car Charging in Denver.
As any thoughtful electric-vehicle driver needs to do, Sean Mitchell plotted
the stops on his road trip to Los Angeles before leaving home last month.
He didn’t want to run out of fuel for his Tesla. Driving west was fine. But
on his return to Denver, he pulled into a critical stop at a hotel in
Glenwood Springs and found that all six charging stations were occupied —
and none by electric vehicles.
“This was problematic because I had 30 miles left of range on my battery and
the next Supercharger — east or west — was about 90 miles,” said Mitchell,
president of the Denver Tesla Club. “Having access to this Supercharger was
imperative for me to get back to Denver in a timely manner. So I parked my
car and went into the hotel and told them.”
The Residence Inn already knew there was a problem.
“Thankfully, the employee had their car parked there to protect a stall so I
was able to charge it enough to get back to Denver,” Mitchell said.
Maybe the other drivers didn’t see the EV-only/no-parking signs or the
5-foot-tall Tesla chargers. Or maybe they couldn’t find a spot closer to the
hotel’s entrance so they parked in the charging stalls located on the back
side of the parking lot. Or, perhaps, they were just “ICEholes,” a nickname
for drivers of internal-combustion-engine vehicles who intentionally block
access to charging stations.
Whether ICEing is intentional or not, such drivers are scorned and shamed by
the EV community. There’s a hashtag [
], bumper stickers [
] and multiple Facebook sites [
], including EVHOLE [
], which recently posted a photo of a GMC truck parked haphazardly across
two charging spots [
] even though there is an empty spot nearby. There are even EV fakers [
] who park at charging stalls and place the power nozzle into a slot in
their car so it looks like they’re charging.
Colorado is one of the top states for EV sales in the nation, and that’s
bringing about a behavioral change — for EV drivers and, apparently, some
non-EV drivers. EV owners learn to plug in their cars at home each night.
They plan out road trips based on fueling locations because they can’t just
drive up to a gas station. They share notes on dealing with ICEholes [
]. But obnoxious behavior by drivers who may feel contemptuous that the
often higher-priced vehicles get special parking spots has put a damper on
being part of the EV culture.
A proposed Colorado law [
] to fine violators could help prevent this.
“Regardless if it’s a problem or not, it’s a reality. This is a change in
how people fuel,” said Margaret-Ann Leavitt, vice president of marketing for
Denver retailer National Car Charging, which sells EV chargers. “I would
never park my car at a gas station and walk away. That’s essentially what
they’re doing. Most people who stop at a public charger, they do so because
they need to. (Most) people who have an EV fuel at home. If they’re fueling
at a public charging station, it’s probably because they’re on a long,
(The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy estimated that more
than 80 percent of EV owners charge at home, with growth projections at 90
The parking proposal
Kamala Vanderkolk, a Tesla Model X owner who lives in Roxborough Park, said
she doesn’t run up against many rude “gasholes.” But after posting a picture
on Facebook of getting “ICE’d” by a Subaru and a Buick [
] in Grand Lake, she started getting trolled by a guy who said he was going
to start parking in charging spots from now on.
“Talking about it makes the problem worse,” said Vanderkolk, who decided to
take a different route to curbing violators.
She learned about the impact of parking fines after pulling into a Marriott
in Flagstaff, Arizona, and finding that all the charging stations were full
of non-electric vehicles. But on the sign, it said violators would be fined
“Immediately, I went to talk to the owner and said, ‘Tell me about this,’”
Vanderkolk said. “She said, ‘It was great. Before this law, I couldn’t do
anything about it. Now if someone tells me they can’t access a spot, I can
call local enforcement and they’ll come give them a ticket.’”
Vanderkolk, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Colorado House last
fall, found a lawyer to help her write a bill and then found sponsors in
state Sen. Kevin Priola, a Henderson Republican, and state Rep. Jovan
Melton, an Aurora Democrat.
House Bill 1298 [
], which passed the House and is now in the Senate, could provide some
relief for anxious EV drivers. It would slap a $150 fine — a compromise from
the original $350 fee — on violators occupying reserved charging spots. That
includes plug-in vehicle owners who are finished charging but haven’t
vamoosed (there’s a 30-minute grace period).
“This is not to create some type of convenience for EV vehicles,” Melton
said during the House debate. “This is saying don’t block the port where
they can charge.”
2019 electric-vehicle bills in Colorado
House Bill 1298
Would fine drivers $150 for parking in EV charging spot while not charging.
Status: Passed House on April 18, expected to be heard by Senate committee
House Bill 1198
The EV Grand Fund bill allows Colorado Energy Office to make grants to
universities, apartment buildings and other organizations who wish to
install EV charging stations. Status: Passed, signed by Gov. Polis on April
Senate Bill 77
Allow public utilities, like Xcel, to build EV charging infrastructure and
operate them for profit to get a return on investment. Status: Passed House
on April 18, now in Senate.
Those who opposed the bill felt the fine was too high or provided special
treatment. As Rep. Lois Landgraf, a Republican from El Paso County, argued,
what about special parking signs for big cars?
“What I’d like you to consider next year is parking for full-size cars
because nothing stops all those people, all those cars — the EVs, the
compact cars — from parking in full-size car spaces,” she told Melton before
the House voted to approve the bill. “The few that are left are used by cars
that could park elsewhere. Some of us have no place to park.”
Another contingent also felt the bill is unnecessary.
“This is a solution looking for a problem,” said Tim Jackson, CEO of the
Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, a trade group representing 260
dealers. “Non-electric cars parked in electric charging stations are rare
and didn’t need protection from hundreds of dollars in fines or tow-aways to
The association has a few EV chargers and parking spots at its headquarters
on Speer Boulevard in central Denver. Jackson said that in five years, “I
can count on one hand, and even one finger the number of times that someone
has parked a non-electric car in an electric charging station.”
After working with legislators to lower the fine, the organization now has a
neutral position on the bill. But Jackson said there are still concerns
about law enforcement going on private property. He plans to seek more
revisions during the Senate hearing.
Colorado is friendly to would-be EV owners. The state offers a $5,000
incentive at the time of purchase. Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive
order to join California’s zero-emission vehicle standard shortly after he
was inaugurated in January. State employees are still hammering out the
rules and it goes before the Air Quality Control Commission next month ...
But before Polis, Gov. John Hicklenlooper also promoted a plan [
] to increase the number of charging stations and encourage adoption of
electric vehicles. Extreme growth scenario? Get to 940,000 EVs by 2030,
which is up from about 11,238 in 2017.
Currently in Colorado, there are 690 public electric vehicle charging
stations with 1,809 ports. (Here’s a map [
]). More are on the way because of state grants to companies and
organizations installing chargers. The state Regional Air Quality Council
provided funding for 547 charging stations to date, according to Matt Mines,
The state Energy Office says that no complaints have come in about blocked
chargers, but director Will Toor said the proposed law is among a handful of
EV-charger related bills that will help the state meet its clean air goals.
Prepping for an EV future anyway
Nic Ansuini, who lives in Conifer, doesn’t own an electric vehicle. But he
recently put down a deposit for the new Tesla Model Y, which won’t be out
until late 2020. So, yeah, he’s concerned about not finding an open spot
when he really needs one. He ended up testifying in favor of the
charge-station parking bill.
“You see all those horror stories of people trying to charge their EVs and
the ICE vehicles are in the way. That was a concern for me,” said Ansuini,
adding that his daily round trip commute to Denver is nearly 90 miles. “What
if I pull up and there’s not a spot available? It’s not like I can pull up
to the nearest gas station.”
This increased his range anxiety, or the fear that the electric vehicle will
run out of electric juice before reaching his destination. But he feels
there’s time to remedy that.
“It’s not a big enough concern for me right now but the introduction of this
bill has definitely added to my enthusiasm,” he said.
Charging stations tend to be located at hotels and tourist spots, and near
highways connecting regions and states. Businesses also install them for
office workers to use.
Sometimes they’re located near the front door of a business, but most of the
time they are not. The Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree has Tesla
Superchargers at the back of its parking lot [
] opposite Crate & Barrel. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science has a spot
at the far end [
] of its parking lot, plus five more on the lowest level of its parking
Tesla, which owns and manages its Superchargers, places stalls away from
major entrances so they’re accessible for traveling Tesla owners. That’s a
reason why the company targets smaller towns where residents may not own a
Tesla, but the nearby roadways are oft-traveled by road trippers. Non-Tesla
drivers must find charging stalls elsewhere in town.
“We built a specific lot for them. It’s located right behind the hotel. It’s
like going to the gas station,” said Reed Rowley, vice president of Grand
Heritage, which owns the hotel. “Good design solves a lot of problems, but
not everyone gets the opportunity to design from scratch. By giving them
their own parking lot, it didn’t take away from other parking spots.”
Complaints to the Glenwood Springs police department about drivers blocking
charging stations are rare. Police Chief Terry Wilson doesn’t recall hearing
of one, although he added that “doesn’t mean it’s not happening.”
A city ordinance already allows an officer to write a ticket for anyone
violating a parking sign, including one that says “EVs Only.” But most of
the charging stations in town are on private property, so it would be up to
property owners to handle enforcement.
“We write a bunch of tickets for handicap parking. I couldn’t give you a
number but it’s not uncommon for us to have three, four, five a week,” he
said. “They’d have to be blind not to see the signage and markings, which
would qualify them as handicapped and I wouldn’t want them to be driving.”
He’s pretty sure that even if the bill becomes law, people would still park
in spots reserved for charging vehicles. But he’d be able to ticket the
cars, just as he does violators parked in handicapped spots.
“People park in them because they are flat-out lazy,” he said. “I had one
gentleman try to justify parking in a handicap space because he said it was
8:30 at night and handicap people don’t go out at night. Needless to say, I
advised him to pay the ticket.”
Tesla-Hating Truck Owners Are Getting What They Deserve
April 28, 2019 "Non-electric cars parked in electric charging stations are
rare and didn't need protection from hundreds of dollars in fines or
tow-aways to solve.”
Homes with Close Proximity to Electric Vehicle Charging Stations List for
1.5 Times More
April 22, 2019 Realtor.com analysis finds that you'll pay a premium to live
in a metro that accommodates electric vehicles SANTA CLARA, Calif.,
/PRNewswire/ ... home prices in the nation's top 20 neighborhoods that are
most accommodating to electric vehicles are listed 1.5 times higher than
their surrounding metro area on average, and 2.6 times higher than the rest
of the country ...
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