Cities can combat ‘charging station hogging’ with pricing strategies

EV drivers will move their cars if they need to pay when they’re not charging

30-10-2018

Using price incentives in the form of special parking fees, it’s possible to effectively combat the problem of EV drivers unnecessarily occupying electric charging stations. This was shown in research completed by the TU Delft, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and PitPoint, which was recently published in The Journal of Advanced Transportation.

Needlessly blocking or ‘hogging’ electric charging stations is a growing problem. Because EV drivers charge their cars while they’re parked, they tend to leave their cars parked at these spaces, even when they’re no longer charging. That’s inefficient, because it prevents other people from accessing the charging point. Rick Wolbertus, PhD candidate at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and TU Delft, comments: “Electric charging points are regularly used for far too long. While sessions of more than 24 hours only make of 5 percent of all charging sessions, they account for more than a quarter of the occupied public charging stations.” That’s why Rick Wolbertus, together with Bas Gerzon, project manager electric mobility at PitPoint, conducted research on the effect of price incentives on EV drivers’ charging behaviour of in the Netherlands.

The results

The experiment revealed that about 80 percent of those who occupy charging stations for too long are sensitive to price incentives. The findings show that these types of fees appear to be effective, even when the rate is relatively low. The study took into account that drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) shouldn’t have to get out of bed in the middle of the night to move their cars.

Parking stress

This research also shows that the effectiveness of these fees is closely related to the level of parking stress EV drivers face. In areas with few available parking spaces, EV drivers will be more resistant to leaving the charging point than in quieter neighbourhoods. According to Gerzon: “These are valuable findings that cities and charging station operators can use to improve their network of charging points. When formulating new policies, it’s important to focus on making it easy for people to move their fully charged cars, as well as the possibility to add new charging infrastructure.