Published on March 12th, 2019 | by Jennifer Sensiba0
Doxxing ICErs: We Are Better Than This
March 12th, 2019 by Jennifer Sensiba
I know getting ICEd can be awful, but we shouldn’t stoop to such lows as doxxing people and trying to ruin their livelihood. We need to foster goodwill in our communities to keep the EV transition going.
Driving a Nissan LEAF, I know just how bad it can be. There’s often only one plug in an area to get a good DC fast charge. I arrive, and it’s blocked by cars with Internal Combustion Engines (ICE), and I can’t get to it. I wait, and when I see one of the blockers leaving, somebody else with a gas-powered car cuts me off and whips into the space. “I’m just in a big hurry! I’m running late!” they say, or give some other excuse for taking the space. Yeah, it’s frustrating and awful. It can, in some cases, keep you from getting to where you are going.
Even for Tesla owners with more available stalls and stations, I still get the frustration. I know that in recent months, there have been cases of diesel pickup owners intentionally blocking Tesla Superchargers, and even getting verbally abusive with drivers trying to get to the stations. One owner even made a humorous video showing that a Tesla’s torque-rich drivetrain could pull a Chevy pickup out of a parking space. I know that a southern Utah man recently got arrested for cutting cables and drilling out the plugs at one station.
It’s normal to want to do something in response. Special cards you can leave behind on offending vehicles and other anti-blocking tools are becoming a cottage industry. There are even Facebook groups where owners can complain and vent about the problem. On the borderline of decency, we find harmless pranks people can pull on the charging station blockers, like using a zip-tie to attach a shopping cart to a door handle, drawing a message on a dirty window, or folding in the passenger side mirror. These are all things we can do to educate, or at least harmlessly avenge the wrong.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to go too far. I’ve seen suggestions in most EV Facebook groups about awful things we can do to those blocking charging spaces. I’m sure many of these suggestions are in jest, but I’ve seen people suggest removing valve stems to deflate the tires. I’ve seen people say they’d like to key their car up. Some have even suggested dragging the offending car out into the roadway with a tow rope, and leaving it to get towed away by police. Beyond mere words, I’ve seen a video one EV owner put up (which has since been removed), where the ICE driver had left keys in a door, and the EV owner threw the lady’s keys into a busy street to get revenge.
I thought I had seen it all, but recently I saw a new low: doxxing.
A few days ago, one Tesla owner found a diesel pickup left blocking two Supercharger stalls during the night. Not only was it a dually one-ton model, but it was lifted, modified, and had the graphics for a local diesel shop covering it. With recent events, I can see why somebody would assume this was done intentionally, but we shouldn’t rush to judgment. We definitely shouldn’t encourage other EV drivers to visit the business’ Google Maps page to leave bad reviews and do other things to harm their livelihood. A card, a note, or even a polite call to the business would probably do the job, and the friendly approach is certainly more likely to change bad behavior and educate the pickup’s owner.
Going after somebody’s livelihood, on the other hand, will only make them dig in harder. Would the owners of the company, its employees, and their loyal customers and fans consider going electric after this? Probably not any time soon.
Perhaps most importantly, we need to keep in mind that we don’t know the whole story, and what we don’t know might change everything. According to the business owner, who put up a public apology on her business page, the truck had been placed there by a designated driver of some sort to sit for the night after they had gone drinking and weren’t comfortable driving home. The driver who was helping them out wasn’t good at driving such a large vehicle, and parked it poorly, but got them home and kept them from driving intoxicated.
Some of the Google reviewers didn’t find the apology to be sincere and questioned the story, but we really don’t know whether we are looking at insincerity, poor punctuation, or just the frustration of having one’s online reputation tarnished over a simple mistake.
In the end, though, it doesn’t matter. Frustration, aggravation, and anger can all be normal feelings when it comes to getting blocked at a Supercharger, but whether we want to be or not, us early EV adopters are representatives of the whole EV driver community. If we want it to succeed, we need to be the adults in the room and not stoop to such lows. We are better than this. Let’s act like it.