Charging station ‘clingers’ may soon be fined in Flanders
If it were up to the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG), the police can impose a fine when an electric car is occupying a charging station without charging. The association advocates the amendment of the law and the introduction of a new traffic sign, indicating that the electric car must actually be charging.
If an ordinary car is in a special parking lot for electric cars, an agent or parking attendant can impose a fine, but the law does not say that the electric car must actually charge at the parking lot. The VVSG now advocates an amendment of the law, so that charging becomes mandatory.
Some municipalities are already adapting to this via their police regulations. They impose a so-called GAS fine (a municipal administrative sanction) of 50 or 58 euro. In Knokke-Heist and Ostend, among other places, motorists can be fined if they do not plug in their electric car at a charging station.
Other cities and municipalities restrict the charging station ‘clingers’ by placing the parking spaces in the charging station, for example, in blue zones. With a parking disc or a paying zone, they can already limit the time at the charging station. In Ostend, for example, car drivers are fined if they charge their car for more than two hours.
In Damme, which belongs to the same police zone as Knokke, they are reluctant to introduce the restrictions and charges. “I have an electric car myself for three years and from my experience I know that two hours of charging doesn’t take you far”, says Hendrik De Corte, responsible for the Damme charging station plan.
More electric cars
In Flanders there are 3.224 public charging points while, according to the Belgian Automobile Federation Febiac, 7.934 electric cars (with an exclusive electric drive) were registered last year. Wallonia has promised to install at least 688 charging points by 2020.
“The number of electric cars is increasing, which is why we want the municipalities to be able to offer these services”, says Nathalie Debast, spokeswoman for VVSG. “Also, the question comes from the cities and municipalities themselves.”
In addition to a new traffic sign, the VVSG also advocates making the database of the Registration Office for Vehicles (DIV) accessible to GAS officials and parking attendants because today they do not always see whether it is an electric or a fossil fuel car.
In the Netherlands, too, the debate about charging station clingers or the so-called ‘charging station moles’, car drivers who undermine the system, is raging – but much less fiercely. They are more in favour of offenders having to pay more rather than a fine.