The City of Beverly Hills, California has finally lifted a previous restriction that banned the charging of plug-in hybrid vehicles at public charging stations.
In April of last year, Beverly Hills changed their Electric Vehicle Charging Policy to encourage more “efficient” use of their 35 charging stations. In order to accomplish that goal, the policy was changed to directly prohibit drivers of plug-in hybrid vehicles from charging at public charging stations. At the time, only fully-electric vehicles were allowed to charge using the city’s public chargers. The policy, which was developed by the Beverly Hills Traffic & Parking Commission and approved by the City Council, implemented a new enforcement regulation to fine and/or tow plug-in hybrid vehicles, gas-only vehicles, and any battery electric vehicles that were not actively charging at a given station.
The city explained their decision at the time, stating:
“In order to improve access for vehicles that are 100% reliant on electric power, the new policy reserves the City’s EV charging stations for battery-only electric vehicles. All other vehicles (including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) and any vehicle without an active charging session or not connected to a station may be subject to citation and/or towing at the owner’s expense.”
The decision to prohibit plug-in hybrid owners from charging their vehicles was met with a mixed to negative response from citizens.
State Senator Ricardo Lara later authored a bill to combat the electric vehicle policy. Bill SB 1000 has since passed the legislature and was signed by Governor Jerry Brown, effectively prohibiting local municipalities from restricting access to public charging stations funded using state or taxpayer money.
SB 1000 states:
“65850.9. (a) A city, county, or city and county shall not restrict which types of electric vehicles, including, but not limited to, plug-in hybrid vehicles, may access an electric vehicle charging station approved for passenger vehicles that both is publicly accessible and the construction of which was funded, at least in part, by the state or through moneys collected from ratepayers.”
The Beverly Hills City Council has since removed all plug-in hybrid restrictions as of January 1, 2019 in order to comply with the new bill.