Electric Cars

EV drivers penalised AGAIN with new charging fines

Electric vehicle owners are being stung with another unexpected fee – fines for spending too long at charging points.

Drivers have told of their frustration at being charged almost five times more than they expected after being landed with penalties for plugging in.

Providers and authorities are increasingly bringing in the extra fees, with Aberdeen to charge £30 for anyone staying longer than an hour, and Sheffield charging £20, both from April 1.

There are already a number of penalties in place across the country. Drivers are charged £8 if they stay more than an hour at one of ESB Energy’s 350 charge ports across London, while Genie Point charges £10 for those plugging in for more than 90 minutes. Another £10 is added for every additional 90 minutes.

Research by NimbleFins on EV battery charge times shows it takes one hour and 19 minutes to charge a 100kWh battery 60% when using a fast 50kW charger. It is one hour for the same percentage charge of a 75kWh battery. Of course it takes much longer when using lower-powered chargers.

Tesla's Superchargers can boost range by up to 200 miles in 15 minutes. But it enforces an 'idle fee' which charges drivers 50p for every minute they leave their vehicle fully charged on one of its superchargers when the station is at 50% capacity or more. This rises to £1 when the station is fully occupied.

Drivers are encouraged to monitor their charging on the Tesla app and the idle fee is waived if the vehicle is moved within five minutes.

The reason behind the fines is to avoid drivers blocking the use of chargers when they do not need them. But critics say it’s not fair that motorists are paying the price for a lack of charge points.

NimbleFins previously reported the UK needs up to 720,000 more EV charge points by 2030. This means about 240 new chargers installed every day but the current average is about 23, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The Miles Consultancy told The Sunday Times of a driver on the M4 who was expecting to pay £26 only to find he’d been charged £123 for leaving his car plugged in overnight.

Another issue is the risk of fines for overstaying in car parks and service stations fitted with ANPR cameras.

Another driver was charged £120 for spending 100 minutes in a McDonald’s car park charging his car when the maximum stay was 90 minutes, Local World reported last year.

The fees come as the cost of running an electric vehicle continue to rise.

EVs will have to pay car tax from 2025 despite motorists previously being incentivised with the promise of no road tax to pay.

The soaring cost of electricity means EVs are also much more expensive to power than they were five years ago. And beady-eyed car parking cameras mean there is a risk of a high fee when using some free chargers at hotels, shops and council car parks.

The Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) told Fleet News in October: "If there’s a one-hour free limit in an ANPR car park and a driver has to queue for 30 minutes and then connect to the charger for 40 minutes – which is by no means an unusual situation - they’re getting a fine.

“It seems that because they are queueing and not in a parking bay, drivers are forgetting that they are still liable for car park charges."

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Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.


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