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The Etiquette of Electric Car Ownership

A solar-powered electric charging station in Hamtramck, Mich. At some charging stations, plugs are not always so easy to come by — unless you unplug someone else’s car.”

Imagine, for a minute, you pull into a gas station near your workplace in the morning with your gas warning light on and a long drive ahead of you after work. You drive toward the pumps hoping to fill up, but every one of them is occupied — and the drivers of all the other cars have wandered off to chat or buy something in the convenience store, so that every hose is in use.

Except that some of the cars’ tanks have filled up since they sauntered away.

Now, imagine that this isn’t a momentary situation but that the other drivers will not return for hours.

Do you:

(a) Resign yourself to not doing the drive after work?
(b) Go in search of the other drivers and ask to use their hoses?
(c) Take a hose out of someone else’s gas tank and put it in your own?

Welcome to the brave new world of electric car ownership, which can often mean encountering such a dilemma in places like Sacramento’s city hall parking garage, where the single row of charging spaces is nearly always full on weekdays — mostly with electric cars, but sometimes with what the electricati are calling “I.C.E.’s” (for internal combustion engines).

Indeed, an academic paper has already been prepared on the subject by Nicolette Caperello and Kenneth S. Kurani, researchers at the University of California, Davis.



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