Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has announced plans to drop one of California's most generous incentives for electric vehicle owners, retiring a policy which offered free parking for up to 30 days in two specially-designated lots. According to a leaflet distributed to drivers, the incentive will be withdrawn on March 1st, at which point charges will revert to $30 per day, although free charging points will still be offered.

As a Wall Street Journal report makes clear, the move has come as a shock to frequent flyers, many of whom bought electric cars specifically to take advantage of the benefit. It is not likely to be welcomed by manufacturers, either — California's incentives, including its policy of allowing certain electric vehicles in HOV lanes, have been crucial in driving sales, to the point that the southern portion of the state now accounts for more than a quarter of all electric cars on American roads.

"They need to have some kind of system"

But the incentive has become a victim of its own success — applying to a total of just 38 charging points, it has created congestion and competition among drivers, with owners of purely electric vehicles resenting the presence of hybrids that are capable of running on both gas and electricity. "I love it free — but they need to have some kind of system," one Nissan Leaf driver tells The Wall Street Journal. "Maybe a valet who can move the cars around."