Dubai: Dubai’s growing number of electric car owners say they feel drained by petrol car drivers who park in specially designated charging spots.
In recent months, a growing number of electric car charging stations have popped up at malls and hotels across the UAE – most of them in Dubai.
But so far, electric car owners say they are disappointed.
Designated spaces next to electric charging points are frequently taken over and used as parking spaces for petrol-guzzling cars, several owners told Gulf News.
Last week, Mohammad Al Shamsi took delivery of a black Tesla S.
“It’s a fantastic vehicle that makes me proud of the UAE’s transition to a greener future,” said the Emirati investment banker, who paid Dh275,000 for the car.
But he soon discovered problems when he visited two of Dubai’s largest malls to grab lunch — and charge his car at the same time.
At Dubai Mall, which has recently installed three charging points for electric cars, he found a Ford Mustang had parked in the space.
-Sapped and trapped-
“I asked security how I could charge my car since there’s a combustion V8 parked there,” he recalled.
A day later, he decided to visit Mall of the Emirates, which has nine electric car charging stations.
Once there, he found that a Range Rover luxury off-roader parked in a charging spot.
“I don’t have many options to go charge my vehicle, as I can’t simply go to a gas station,” said Al Shamsi.
“Inconsiderate owners of ordinary combustion engine vehicles” who park in electric vehicle owners should seek out normal car parking spaces, he said.
“Please be part of the greener and more environmental responsible future instead of hindering it.”
Two other Tesla drivers that Gulf News spoke to said they had faced the same issue.
They were echoed by the owner of a Renault Zoe, a more humble budget electric car that costs around Dh120,000.
“It’s been a big change [the new charging stations across Dubai] but it doesn’t seem like it,” said Salman Hussain.
Charging the batteries on his car at one of around 50 public charging station operated by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority dotted the city costs him just Dh6. “It’s saving me tons,” he said.
But when he recently tried to park at a hotel in downtown Dubai that boasted electric car charging points, he found normal non-electric cars taking up the spots.
“Even though the station is marked, and it’s got the car charging stations in the front, they are always blocked.”
The issue of electric car owners forced out of charging stations is “common… across the world and not one that is unique to the UAE,” said Ben Pullen. The British businessman leads Global EVRT, an firm that runs events with electric cars.
In February, he and nearly a dozen electric car owners set out on a 700km long road trip through all seven emirates.
“Unfortunately it does seem that the problem is more prolific in the UAE at present.”
“Perhaps because people are unaware of what the parking bays are intended for,” he added.
“In any case, I believe the best way to reduce the offence is to charge a fine similar to that applied to disabled parking bays.”