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Lack of electric car etiquette: The new kind of road rage

An image from Tesla Motors headquarters, in Palo Alto California.
An image from Tesla Motors headquarters, in Palo Alto California.
Photo by Windell Oskay via Flickr Creative Commons

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Electric cars may be a growing market, but the infrastructure to keep them charged hasn't kept pace.

Matt Richtel wrote about this issue in the New York Times. He notes that situations like being sufficiently charged up overnight but not knowing when you'll encounter a charging station can lead to "range anxiety."

"And then, when you do find a charging station, unlike with gas, which takes minutes to fill, these can take 30 minutes to four hours to fill, and so you don't know if you'll find a charger, and whether it will be available," he said.

That's only the beginning. There are also instances when drivers will park non-electric vehicles in charging spaces (called ICE Holes), or fellow e-car drivers will take the plugs from other e-cars that are in the midst of charging.

Until drivers get used to sharing the open road -- and open parking -- with electric vehicles, Ritchel says there are some solutions to help in the meantime. One former Google employee is creating the EV etiquette survival kit, which allows drivers to hang signs in their cars that give permission to unplug or call the car's owner.     

"I do think in the end, market forces will play a big role here, and you'll start to get supply and demand pricing," he said. "But don't forget, we're here at a tiny percentage of cars, particularly nationwide but also in California, and so that diminishes how much people are going to worry about this outside the community of users."

To listen to the full interview, click on the blue audio player above.