CSR car options
Electric vehicles (EVs) have become part of the cityscape − they are here to stay for the foreseeable future. EVs need to park just like petrol and diesel fuelled cars do. The difference is that motorists want to recharge their car's batteries while parking.
The EV not only occupies a parking space, but it may hog an e-charging point even when it's fully charged. And this poses societal dilemmas.
Societal debate on e-charging behaviour
The charging behaviour of electric vehicle motorists was a subject of societal debate in 2018. One major source of irritation is charge-point ‘hogging’: when cars that are fully charged block charging stations for hours. The Dutch Association for Electrical Vehicle Drivers (VER) and some major energy companies think the problem can be solved by imposing an extra charge for people who ‘hog’ charging stations.
A survey by PitPoint Clean Fuels and two Dutch academic institutions indicated that people would move their cars if they had to pay more once the battery was fully charged. The counter-argument is that when customers park and charge their e-car to visit a theatre or a restaurant they are unlikely to interrupt the evening to move their car when it’s fully charged and would accept the ‘fine’ as part of the costs of their evening.
The number and complexity of contracts between charging point suppliers, energy companies and e-charge providers in Europe also impede transparency, which is a precondition for introducing any extra costs for customers.
Q-Park e-charging service dilemmas
We also have paying guests who park their petrol or diesel car on a reserved charge-point parking space - we are experimenting with measures, social or otherwise, to nudge our customers to park their car at the right space.
Our service is all about 'no worries' after parking your car. We don't want our paying guests to come back, just to re-park their car.
The service of EV-charge providers conflicts with ours. We are talking with all parties concerned to come up with a holistic solution.
The timing of e-charging is another issue on the minds of local authorities. A survey into the charging habits of e-motorists indicated that the numbers of people charging their e-vehicles at the same time (usually between 18:00 and 22:00) could overload the power grid and reduce the beneficial environmental impact of electric vehicles.
Since the potential growth of e-vehicle numbers will only intensify this problem, Gelderland and Overijssel want to install 4,500 smart charging stations in 44 municipalities to make it more attractive and convenient for motorists to charge their cars outside peak times.
In 2018, Q-Park had 1,322 parking spaces reserved for e-charging in more than 220 parking facilities, an increase of 18%.
Chart 11 E-charging stations
As municipalities increasingly impose measures to nudge people towards lower car use in city centres, it is logical that more people are embracing car sharing as part of the wider trend towards the sharing economy.
People who live in large cities have less need for a car, particularly when there are sufficient alternatives such as good public transport or cycling routes. The actual number of shared cars is still low compared to the total number of cars on the road. Current forecasts, for example from Shared Mobility News, predict continued market growth for both shared fleets as well as people subscribed to one or more car sharing schemes.
Figure 27 European trends on car sharing (source: Shared Mobility)
And according to research firm Frost & Sullivan, the number of people using car sharing services is expected to increase almost threefold from roughly 7 million members and some 112,000 vehicles in 2015 to almost approximately 36 million members and some 427,000 vehicles by 2025.
As a strong supporter of initiatives to support sustainable mobility, Q-Park already focuses on making parking spaces available to car sharing service providers and their customers.
In 2018, there were 36 owned and long-leased parking facilities offering spaces to car sharing schemes.