Drivers of electric cars have complained after being hit with massive parking fines for using public charging points.
A number of motorists have reported being caught out by private parking operators after using chargers in locations such as motorway services, hotel car parks and fast food restaurants.
One driver reported that he had been charged £80 for using a publicly advertised charger in a hotel car park because he didn’t inform the hotel, while another was hit with an overstay charge of £120.
James Warren stopped to charge his Tesla at a hotel in Weybridge as he drove from Birmingham to London. He told The Times: “It took around 45 minutes, then I paid on my app. I was aghast to receive an £80 fine from Parkingeye, saying I had parked in the hotel’s car park without permission.”
Another driver who chose not to be named, said he had been fined £120 because he spent 100 minutes charging at a device in a McDonald’s car park, where the maximum parking time was 90 minutes.
An average 64kWh car will take around one hour to add 80% at a 50kW charger but times can vary significantly depending on the speed of the charger, the size of the car’s battery and the car’s starting charge level.
Parking firms have said that drivers should “read the signage” of any car park where they are using a charger.
Blue Badge holder Philip Riley was charged for overstaying at a Moto service station after discovering the first charger he tried to use was faulty. After attempting to charge for an hour he found the unit wasn’t working and had to move to a second device to get enough charge for his Nissan Leaf to make it home. He was then hit with a £120 charge by CP Plus, halved for quick payment.
Mr Riley said: “As a new electric car owner, I didn’t realise I’d have to pay twice — for the parking ‘experience’ as well as the power.”
CP Plus said it simply managed the car park fo the landowner and “do not have any responsibility for the fabric including EV charging points.”
Parkingeye said it “strongly advises motorists using an EV point within a private car park to read the signage”.