Sen. E.J. Pipkin, R-36-Upper Shore.

ANNAPOLIS Prohibiting cars that run solely on gas from parking at electric vehicle charging stations is elitist, according to Maryland Sen. E.J. Pipkin, R-36-Upper Shore.

Regardless, the Senate is poised to vote in favor of a bill that would do just that.

"I think the idea we're going to create a preferential class for expensive vehicles is wrong," he said.

Pipkin is opposing Senate Bill 340, a bill that would impose fines on people who park a non-plug-in vehicle at an electric charging station.

"We're using the power of the state to further one particular private business. I think that is not appropriate," Pipkin said.

The LEAF, Nissan's electric car model, gets about 100 miles per charge not far compared to internal combustion engine standards. Access to electric charging stations is necessary for LEAF owners to get from place to place efficiently.

The LEAF's main electric competition, the Chevrolet Volt, gets an average of 35 miles per charge. When the charge runs out, the Volt's gas engine works with the car's electric components to give it a total range of about 375 miles.

Doug Kornreich, a Nissan LEAF owner from Elkridge has had trouble with others parking their gasoline cars in front of the charging station at his local Walgreens.

"It should be thought of as refueling rights because I can't park anywhere else and charge," he said, in response to Pipkin's argument against the bill. "When I go down to College Park, if I can't park in one of those spots, it's going to be a challenge for me to get home."

Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, the bill's sponsor, feels it is important to show Maryland is friendly to the burgeoning electric car industry, which could bring business to the state down the road.

"This is a fledgling industry that we're getting behind," Raskin said. "And we're hoping, as the president of the United States has said, that this becomes big business in America ... this is a very small gesture of accommodation."

Raskin also feels electric car owners have a right to charge their vehicles at a charging station the same way other car owners have the right to fuel up at a gas station.

"They need to charge up their vehicles by plugging them in and the problem is they're pulling into the relative handful of places that exist in the state where you can plug your car in and people are parked there."


(2) comments


I think Mr. Pipkin needs to go back to school and learn what an elitist is. Why would anyone driving a gasoline, LNG, or diesel powered vehicle need to park in the spaces designated for an EV ? It would seem to me that an EV charging station is a designated function and should be reserved for that function only, much the way Handicapped spaces are reserved for those in need. Does Mr. Pipkin believe these people are elitist too ?


Let's reverse this for a moment. Let's say fuel cars were the upstart, and a well established public Electric Vehicle (EV) charging equipment (EVSE) infrastructure had been in place for decades but was fed by Canadian and Mexican electricity who were always raising their prices. Plus a huge clean fuel had been discovered in all 50 states and our Government wanted the public to diversify so as not be held for ransom by having only one energy source to drive our vehicles. Gas stations would need to be strategically located so that the gas cars could get from point A to B and back.

The argument against gas stations stating they are elitist, would be moot, as it would be in the country's best interest to allow the public to have a choice.

The Russian's are not known for high quality products, but their engineers have some really good forward-thinking ideas to solve their problems. They have a plug-in-hybrid (better than the Volt) that can use either gasoline or natural-gas, and can also run off electricity. With their energy sources fluctuating from day to day (not always available like it is in the U.S.), it makes sense to have three ways to Sunday to be able to drive to work, school, shopping, and have a life. Diversification and flexibility will also help the U.S. consumer survive the stock market driven prices of petrol.

IMO This Senator is fighting anything that 'might' reduce their oil profits, with a 'to heck with the working-class consumers' attitude. That is not right, nor fair.

Having public EVSE is a safety net for EV drivers. Most of the time, EV drivers just charge at home, overnight when public utilities want help balancing their electric power loads. Public EVSE also helps plug-in-hybrid (pih) drivers: when gas prices go too high, they can run purely on much more affordable U.S. electricity. Hmm ... that Russian idea is sounding better isn't, especially when U.S. fuel prices reach toward the $8+ gallon prices Europe has had for years.

There is one point that should be stressed: EV/pih drivers do not need nor want up-front, close to the entrance, special parking spaces. We would rather be in the back-40 spaces that no one wants to park in.Having said that, there are disabilities-act rules that state their parking spaces must be up-front and close, which would include a few EVSE spaces in the same location. But all other EVSE parking spaces should where no gas car driver wants to park (way-in the back).

Recently, we were able to get IKEA to change the location of their EVSE installations, to less-used spaces in their parking lots. Sadly, for some reason, businesses still put EVSE in prime parking real estate spaces (not what we want).

Think of EVSE spaces like the way flowers are to bees and butterflies. The flowers need to be there for them to feed on, but each time you look, you may not always see a them sipping at the flower. It just needs to be there, and hopefully way in the back where no one will block access to the EVSE.

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