• The rules of parking in electric car spaces: a complete guide
  • The rules of parking in electric car spaces: a complete guide

The rules of parking in electric car spaces: a complete guide

Find out why you could be fined and how much you'll be charged

So, you have bought a new electric car and are enjoying the many benefits of zero emission driving, but are unsure of where you can park your electric vehicle (EV) when in town.

In this article dedicated to the topic of electric car parking, we explain who can park in a space allocated for an EV, what the rules are and how much you could be fined if you don’t follow them. Read on to find out more… 

What is an electric car parking bay?

A parking bay designated for electric cars is intended to be used by vehicles powered by a battery for the purpose of recharging only.  

Who can use an electric car parking bay?

Electric car parking bays are designed for use by drivers who need to charge their vehicle. Therefore the space can be used by any type of plug-in vehicle needing to be recharged.

Can hybrid cars park in electric bays?

As long as the hybrid car in question is a plug-in hybrid (also known as a PHEV), then it can be parked in an electric bay while charging. 

Self-charging hybrids (also known as mild hybrids) are charged by the car’s engine so are not reliant on a separate charger; therefore it does not qualify to park in an electric car bay.  

What are the rules for parking in an electric car bay?

Drivers can only benefit from parking in a bay designated to an electric car if using the chargepoint throughout the duration of the stay. This rule has caught many EV drivers out, who weren’t initially aware they could only use the space while charging their vehicle. 

It’s important to add that electric car bays are designed for shared use, and although are available on a first come first serve basis, are not there for the exclusive use of any one person. 

If your EV does not need charging at time of parking, then you cannot use a dedicated electric car parking bay. To use an electric car parking bay, you must be actively charging your vehicle at the time, and move your vehicle once the charge is complete and battery full.

Look out for the signage in car parks with dedicated parking for electric vehicles, as there may be a time limit for the minimum and maximum stay allowed. 

Is parking free for electric cars?

EV drivers can benefit from free parking at some council-owned public car parks - of course it’s always best to check this first. 

Whether the car park is pay-and-display or pay-on-return, if the car park offers free electric car parking, this will be dependent on whether you charge your EV at the same time.

You will still be expected to pay for chargepoint use during this time either by card or via an online app. Many electric car parking bays are available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.    

Do you have to charge your car when parked in an electric bay?

Yes, it is important to ensure you only use a parking bay designated for electric vehicles if you are charging your car during the time of use. 

Can I be fined for parking in an electric car space?

If you do not charge your electric car while using a space designated for EVs, then you are at risk of receiving a fine. The same goes for non-EV/conventionally fuelled vehicles that have parked in a space for the sole use of electric cars. 

A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) can be issued to any driver not abiding by the rules of parking in an electric car bay, meaning you could receive a fine of up to £100.  

What do electric car parking bays look like?

A parking space intended solely for the use of electric vehicles will be clearly marked to help drivers avoid any confusion. Markings on the floor will be visible as well as signage with additional information, and of course the charging point itself will be allocated alongside or in front of the bay.


Can electric cars park in any public spaces?

Just because you drive an electric car, it doesn’t mean you only have to use parking bays specifically designed for EVs. If you do not need to charge your car, you can park in any parking space available, as you would with a petrol or diesel vehicle.

Can I find a list of electric car parking spaces online?

When it comes to locating an electric car parking bay in your local town or during your journey, then we’d recommend using the Zapmap website and app for the most up-to-date EV parking locations and charge points across the UK.

If you’re heading to the capital, then it’s handy to know that London has the largest number of electric car charging bays in the country. As an EV owner, you won’t need to pay the Congestion Charge or Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) fees either.

As electric car specialists, you can access our on site fast-charge points here at Wilsons Epsom in Surrey. While you’re here, why not explore our selection of the latest EVs available - including the hugely anticipated Hyundai IONIQ 6 and the all-electric Jeep Avenger.

For more information about charging an electric car, take a look at our EV charging guide and discover how much it costs to install a home charger too.  

Transport For London

Cars need to meet minimum emission standards when travelling in the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) or the daily charge must be paid.

Minimum emission standards

Petrol: Euro 4
Diesel: Euro 6

The ULEZ will be enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age. However:

Information from Transport For London

Check this car on the TFL website before purchasing: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/check-your-vehicle/

All our vehicles are subject to an Admin Fee. Our Admin Fee covers any additional administration needed during your transaction, including a thorough provenance check (HPI Check). The admin fee also includes the cost to fully valet, register and, if necessary, MOT your vehicle (if less than 6 months left of current MOT).

Our administration fee is a variable fee which covers the additional administration needed when transacting with different categories of customers as specified. Retail Customers £199.00 - (Private buyers - NOT an owner, partner or director of a new/used vehicle sales company). Retail Customers using a finance broker outside our official panel of lenders paying funds direct to Wilsons Epsom - £399.00. All fees are inclusive of VAT.