Electric car owners face parking challenges in Baton Rouge

Electric car owners face parking challenges in Baton Rouge
Updated: Sep. 18, 2017 at 4:12 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Electric cars are getting some major marketing as automakers drive new models onto the market.
But the cost and lack of convenience remain major hurdles for owners.

They are cool, quiet, and gaining ground with local drivers. "This is probably the nicest cars I've driven," local owner electric car owner Jeffrey Dubinsky told 9News.

People who are passionate about the environment are investing in electric cars for many reasons. Zack Reddocks says they do come with a few perks. "The main advantages are never having to go to a gas station, the performance on the car is incredible."

But as low maintenance and eco-friendly as they might be, they are not without some notable challenges. Dubinsky says he gets up to 70 miles on his Nissan Leaf with a single charge.

But when the battery is low, it takes four hours to refuel. That can be tough when you are planning more than your daily commute. "This is a primary vehicle but we do have a secondary vehicle if we are traveling the other car will allow," Dubinsky said.

Electric cars are equipped with mapping systems that tell the driver, based on their destination, where to find charging ports along the way. Ann Vail, the Executive Director of Louisiana Clean Fuels, says there are just over a thousand electric cars on the road in Louisiana, 120 in Baton Rouge.

However, finding a place to pull up and plug in can be tough. “The problem is often there will be non-electric vehicle parking in these places which can be very frustrating. There is a city ordinance that says you may not park in these spots until you have an electric vehicle but there not always ticketed and it's just a frustration for them,” said Vail.

Of the ten plug-in spots in downtown Baton Rouge, 9News visited two locations with four charging ports. There were two cars parked in the spots that were not electric.

Vail says she is talking to the mayor's office about enforcing the $50 fine for motorists who illegally park in those spots. She is also visiting local businesses to talk about supplying charging ports to help make life a little easier for drivers who go green.

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