Of all the states, California has set the most ambitious targets for cutting emissions in coming decades, and an important pillar of its plan to reach those goals is encouraging the spread of electric vehicles.
But the push to make the state greener is creating an unintended side effect: It is making some people meaner.
The bad moods stem from the challenges drivers face finding recharging spots for their battery-powered cars. Unlike gas stations, charging stations are not yet in great supply, and that has led to sharp-elbowed competition. Electric-vehicle owners are unplugging one another’s cars, trading insults, and creating black markets and side deals to trade spots in corporate parking lots. The too-few-outlets problem is a familiar one in crowded cafes and airports, where people want to charge their phones or laptops. But the need can be more acute with cars — will their owners have enough juice to make it home? — and manners often go out the window.
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“I seriously considered keying his car,” she said.
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To Ms. Hull, the culture stems in part from the way electric car owners have grown used to perks, like getting state and federal subsidies for buying green cars, or permission to use the car pool lane. So when it comes to unplugging someone, well, they feel deserving. “They’re not bad people, necessarily,” she said. “They may have some amount of entitlement.”