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Electric car road rage, electric car etiquette, and sharing charging stations

An inconveniently unplugged electric car can leave the owner of that car stranded with an unexpectedly flat battery pack, potentially inciting Hulk-like rage, but following common sense etiquette can avoid a whole world of outrage.

The rise of electric cars will give us new ways to accidentally offend others. An example is a recent incident of an electric car driver, in search of a charging station at which to recharge his car, unplugged another electric car while it was being recharged. The incident may have gone unnoticed with nothing more than an irritated post on a discussion forum, except that the victim was Forbes staffer Todd Woody whose ability to write an entertaining little rant made it into the news stream.

Woody is currently testing a Ford Focus Electric and had driven to Berkeley CA, where the car was plugged into a charging station while he waited at a Cafe. Upon receiving a text message the car had been unplugged unexpectedly, he went back to the parking garage to find a Coda electric sedan next to the Focus Electric, and that the Coda was now plugged into the charging station. The Coda in question was one of the manufacturer demo cars used by Coda of Silicon Valley. This led to some back-and-forth between Woody, and Coda’s PR department, who apologized profusely for the incident. What’s more important in this case is not the identity of who did what to whom, but the bigger picture status of electric car adoption, electric car recharging infrastructure, and the etiquette of electric car ownership. These sorts of incidents are already happening everywhere electric cars exist, and will happen more frequently as the numbers of electric cars increase.


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