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My wife and I own a little electric vehicle, EV, and live in an area with many public EV charging points. Most of the time, our EV is fantastic; we plug it in when we get home, and then in the morning it has all the range we need for the day. Super!

Unfortunately, the EV bays are often filled with internal combustion engine, ICE, vehicles, which prevents us from charging our car for the next day. Last night, for example, all our local charging bays were filled with ICE cars.

I have informed the local authority who are doing what they can, however, they are understaffed and underfunded. I also feel that there is generally a lack of education on this matter, so I want to start from the perspective of

In other words, I try to remember that people usually do silly things out of ignorance rather than out of malice.

I want to write a note to put under the windscreen/windshield wiper. I want it to be kind, informative and persuasive. Equally, we have to live near these people, so I do not want to cause any offence. Here is what I have so far.

Dear Neighbour,

Parking can sometimes be a bit of a squeeze around here, we get that. This bay, however, is an electric vehicle charging point, which electric vehicles need so that they can work. By parking your combustion engine car in this bay, you are preventing your neighbours from getting food, going to work, or taking children to school.

May we request that you refrain from parking here, please?

Thanks for your help and understanding.

Your neighbourhood electric vehicle owners

I would like to improve this note, in order to communicate with my neighbours without alienating them. How can I achieve this?

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    I presume you haven't surveyed all the local ev owners and composed this note together? It's really just from you? Apr 24 at 13:34
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    I'm not sure of the etiquette in an area with tight parking that has EV charging spots. Are these labelled in any way to say "EV only" or "EV charging location"?
    – DaveG
    Apr 24 at 18:47
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    What part of the note do you currently think will alienate your neighbours? Note our help center, which states that this site is not an editing service. You've given us what you want to say and how you want to say it, but can you make it more concrete what you think will be the problem with this approach?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Apr 25 at 6:13
  • @Tinkeringbell I guess I was mainly asking for what the best course of action was. Starting with signs, as suggested by OldPadawan, is a great first step to help educate people without being accusatory. Apr 25 at 8:19
  • In your jurisdiction, is it illegal to park a non-EV in an EV charging space? If so, have you considered taking legal action against the drivers who park there, or threatened such action?
    – gparyani
    Jul 21 at 19:25

1 Answer 1

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When I was a kid, we had to deal with neighbours parking their car on allocated spots. Not always the same car or neighbour. We had no choice but park way too far or on a rather illegal and insecure one. My dad's technique was, one day, to put a sign right in front of the spot. Something clearly identifying the spot as reserved. The only difference with your case is that it's reserved for a type of car and not a family. But the way to communicate can be pretty close.

In case you choose the sign, keep the idea "clean and sharp". Few words but explicit ones, leaving no room for confusion or doubt. Maybe with an extra EV icon. The spot is probably already marked as an EV spot, but people maybe don't pay attention (or don't care, like they do for family spots or disabled people's spots on mall's parkings...). Adding another sign kind of "right in their face" may bring light to the darkness. This is step one.

In our case (reserved spot #123 sign), it wasn't enough, so, with my dad, we used to write the license plate of the indelicate neighbour(s). 1 parking, 1 strike. On strike 2, he would leave a message kindly explaining that is was not an acceptable mistake and that this particular neighbour should be more careful. Note the words "mistake" and "careful" instead of "don't give a s---" and "respectful". That's a smooth way to escalate I believe.

Finally, one time, on strike 3, he went and confronted the man. This time, it was more straight to the point and the guy was pissed and upset. Dad remained calm, as usual, but standed his ground and was clearly (in my kid's eyes) threatening that there would be no more trespassing. End of the story. 1 less friendly neighbour, if he ever was though...

So, in your case, I don't know how far you want to go and how hard you want to try but I'd really recommend doing small steps and starting with an impersonal sign, not targeting the offender. It should not go on the windshield right away, as it's kind of a direct attack, not the best way to keep friendly neighbours. When people get caught doing something wrong on purpose, they usually get angry quite quickly and easily. Then, according to the result, decide about step 2. If you have some sort of neighbours committee or board1, whatever it's called, informing them is always an excellent idea, as they may inform all households. If this doesn't exists, I'd myself print your letter and put it in every mailbox around. It's still not targeting but is often efficient as people can realize they do something wrong and correct it without being caught. We didn't have this option in my dad's era :)

I would then advice you to put a sign, if possible, and leave an information notice in mailboxes. I'd avoid the part about food and kids etc and just mention that you would be in trouble the following morning by not having your car ready to use. More neutral and less accusative tone more often works better.

1 : FWIW, nowadays, in our condominium, when we have such an information (parking slots, doors, mailbox, trash...), we usually get up to a 40 to 50% efficiency rate in the following days.

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