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Californians do battle for limited number of plug-in stations, spaces

So Many Plug-Ins, So Little Love

File this one under another fine example of First World Problems. California plug-in vehicle owners have made the act of securing publicly accessible charging stations a full-contact sport, The New York Times says. And the term "ICE Holes" no longer just applies to Minnesotans looking to go fishing in the dead of winter.

California boasts more than 160,000 plug-in vehicles, or more than half of the country's total, but there are only 15,000 publicly accessible stations there, the Times says, citing charging-station maker ChargePoint. That's created a raft of etiquette issues and hostility between people who say other plug-in vehicle owners are unplugging their cars without permission, funding a "black market" of sorts for plug-in vehicle parking spots, and other funny behavior. Then, there is the issue of so-called "ICE Holes," the term hung on internal-combustion (ICE) vehicle drivers who use parking spots reserved for plug-ins.

Among the solutions to the problem are the Take Charge and Go EV Charging Hangers, which are placards that look like "Do Not Disturb" hotel-room signs and let others know if it's Okay to pull the plug. Earlier this year, they were selling for about $5 a pop on eBay. Trying to discern the correct plug-in etiquette dates back to at least 2012, when Ford unveiled a batch of rules that are now apparently being regularly ignored in the Golden State.

The plug-in parking issues are very real, though, especially in places like San Francisco. Earlier this month, BMW said it'd suspend its DriveNow electric-vehicle sharing service in that city after more than three years because of the lack of available parking spaces and the fact that city officials can't, or won't alleviate the issue.

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