Drivers risk £1 per minute idle fees at busy public bays

busy road
-Credit: (Image: (Image: Getty))


Drivers could be hit with charges of up to £1 per minute due to an obscure road rule, putting over a million at risk. Electric vehicle owners who linger too long at public charging stations could face "idle fees", warn industry experts.

Select Car Leasing has highlighted that many drivers are mistakenly treating charging spots as free long-stay parking, unaware of the potential penalties. These "idle fees" can range from 50p to £1 per minute for those who overstay their allotted time at a charging bay.

With approximately 1.1 million electric car owners in the UK, some are more susceptible to these charges than others. Tesla has confirmed that they impose a 50p per minute fee for vehicles occupying a SuperCharger bay beyond the necessary charging time, but this is only enforced when the station is at least 50 per cent full.

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The fee can escalate to £1 per minute if the SuperCharger station is completely occupied. Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, suggests that drivers could adapt their charging habits to avoid these fees.

He advises: "When a charging station is busy, drivers may want to consider charging their EV to just 80 per cent instead of all the way. Charging is typically fastest for the first 80 per cent and slows down considerably for the last 20 per cent to preserve the vehicle's long-term battery health."

"Stopping at 80 per cent means a quicker charge time which is much more considerate to other motorists as it frees up the station much faster."

"It is also similarly productive to a full charge because the lithium-ion batteries that power most electric cars actually run most efficiently between 20 per cent to 80 per cent capacity."

"Not only is it quick and efficient, charging to 80 per cent would also make for a cheaper payment. So unless that final 20 per cent would make the difference between getting home or not, it's best to save fuel up to 100 per cent for at-home chargers."

Operators also impose steep idle fees on drivers who continue occupying bays after their vehicles are fully charged. EV charging provider Believ applies a day-time idle fee of 8p per minute for sessions exceeding four hours.

Similarly, Osprey Charging imposes a £5 fee for every 15 minutes that drivers remain idle at their EV stations.