The growth of the EV community has always come with both pleasure and pain for some of the early passionate voices within it. More people into the tent is exciting and fun; the interpersonal dynamics sometimes not so much. But while an overall decline in societal civility is hardly unique to our ranks, it seems that lately more EV folks are riding high horses than driving electric cars.
A frustratingly perfect example is this response to a recent Green Car Reports article written by a new Bolt driver. Despite some reasonable pre-planning and a good-natured attitude, her first road trip experience was a bit bumpy. The responding blogger counters with his own successful adventure- but only after belittling her at length. Sadly, it was merely one of many similarly snarky, sarcastic, and/or condescending comments occurring daily across EV communities.
No matter the experience and wisdom of a veteran driver, this tone is counterproductive to getting more EVs on the road. It’s a variation of the EV purist’s attitude that any PHEV isn’t good enough, or the Tesla drivers who look down on any plug-in car that isn’t one, but the bottom line is about the same:
Enthusiasts who malign anything short of “perfect” EV adoption will only help sell more gasoline cars.
The biggest step for anyone is to try a plug the first place, on any car that compels him to. Then, the best way for us to keep new drivers in our fold–and hopefully, encourage increasing degrees of electrification–is to use the knowledge we’ve accumulated to help them have a good first experience. But shaming, especially for lack of knowledge, will only drive folks back to internal combustion and perpetuates the myth that EVs are only for elitist assholes.
Sure, we occasionally see an article in which seeming intention—or, at least, willful abandon of common sense—contributes to a negative experience for someone with an electric axe to grind. Dawn was clearly not one of those. But regardless of the author—and especially with those who’ve made enough of a commitment to buy a plug-in in the first place, what’s needed most is open-minded advice and coaching, and perhaps even a little humility about the fact that some of this is daunting at the outset, every one was once a new to it, and EV and (especially) charging information is not always as consumer-friendly as it could be. Anyone who makes a sincere effort at this stage to join our ranks should be encouraged, not chastised.
More honey, less vinegar.