I am driving an electric car. It is a great experience. Not to a small part, because the Irish government is trying very hard to make it a good experience. Government grants, good infrastructure, friendly people.

The other day, I noticed something that leaves room for improvement. On a Sunday afternoon, I was charging my car at the quick charger at the LUAS station in Stillorgan. The parking lot is operated by NCPS and has signs on the ground and on sign-posts to indicate that the spaces are reserved for electric vehicle (EV) charging. So … I started charging my car (expected charging time 45 mins) and went to the restroom for a bathroom break and came back … to find my car clamped!

I was puzzeled.

I have used that chargepoint before and had NCPS cars/inspectors driving by me and not saying or doing anything and the signage suggested that the spaces are dedicated to EV charging.

What was wrong? I checked the Terms and Conditions and was not able to find any wording that suggests that you have to pay while charging.

When NCPS arrived to unclamp me, I was educated that I do not have to pay, if I stay in the car, but as soon as I leave the car it becomes parking and parking is not free.

I pointed out that there is nothing on the T&Cs that explains this. When another EV driver arrived, he told me that he had seen multiple EV cars getting clamped in the same way and that he had asked NCPS to add signage that clarifies what you have to do to prevent yourself from getting clamped, but so far nothing has happened (the evil, sinister me thinks that it is probably to profitable NOT to have the signs up there :)).

So … Dear NCPS, here is what I suggest to do …

If you want to hit it out of the park, allow up to 1 hour free parking, while charging. EV drivers have a very good code-of-conduct and do not occupy the chargers longer than needed. With that you would support what the government tries to do and would set an example for the rest of the country (and would get some good PR out of it) and you would know that you are doing the right thing (not sure how much that’s worth).

If that is not possible, I suggest to at least put a sign up at the charge points, which reads: “Note/Warning: Parking, while charging is NOT free, means you have to stay in the car or pay for the parking. Otherwise you will get clamped.”

Dear NCPS, can you hear me? Anybody out there? Anybody?