A sign on the parking showed a charging point for electric car
16 september 2022

Car not charging is also parking: parking tax aftercharge justified

An electric car connected to a public charging station is parking whether it is charging or not. That’s what the Supreme Court ruled in a case where a man was trying to get out from under a parking fine.

A man parks his hybrid car in Rotterdam in August 2019 at a spot with a charging station. There is a sign ‘charging electric vehicles’ there. The area is subject to paid parking, but he does not pay. There is no question of charging: when the parking inspector passes by, he sees that the car is connected, but no power is being drawn. Upon returning, the driver finds a parking ticket under the windshield wiper.

No charging, therefore no parking?
The man comes up with an argument to get out of paying the parking tax: if he was standing in a loading bay and the car was not being charged, then he broke the law and was actually standing in a spot where you are not allowed to park at all. So then there is no parking. He takes it to court, but the court finds that there was parking, because after all, his car was connected to the charging station for the purpose of charging the battery. The case went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that parking in the sense of the Municipalities Act means “the parking of a vehicle on land or parts of a road within the municipality that are open to public traffic, on which such parking is not prohibited by law. In addition, the Traffic Rules and Signs Regulations 1990 stipulates that the driver may not park his vehicle in a parking space in a manner or for a purpose other than that indicated on the sign or on the lower sign.

At the charging station is parking
The Supreme Court held that the trial court was correct in its earlier ruling that parking tax was rightly levied. The argument that the aforementioned regulations were violated and that parking tax should not have been levied because the car was actually parked in a place where parking was prohibited does not stand up. ‘The circumstance that at any time the battery of an electric car connected to a charging station is not or no longer being charged does not, contrary to what the plea assumes, compel the inference that the car was parked in the parking space in question for a purpose other than charging the battery of that car. The charging officer in such a case is not required to make further inquiry as to the purpose for which the car was parked.

Supreme Court, Sept. 2, 2022

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