Hey, American patriots: Why all the Tesla hate?
People suck. Every time I think of giving my fellow humans a bit of slack, some evolutionary throwback emerges to spoil my mood.
Take the anti-Tesla crowd, for example. As a fan of both the company and the man behind it (Elon Musk), I get a lot of Tesla-related reading suggestions in my Google Now feed. And most of the time, the stories are positive: A stock Tesla sedan blowing away a fancy muscle car at a racetrack; an almost certain traffic accident avoided by the quick-thinking of Tesla’s Autopilot feature.
However, interspersed with these tales of EV glory are a growing number of reports by people who claim they were harassed while simply driving their Teslas in public. Just recently, a woman was "brake checked”" by another motorist on the highway for no apparent reason. This same driver then cut her off as he exited, nearly causing her to crash and endangering the lives of both her and her daughter, who was riding in the back seat.
It’s worth noting that the perpetrator of this "road rage" incident was driving a large pickup truck, and that choice of vehicle is becoming a common factor in many of these events. For some reason, the "good ole’ boy" crowd seems to feel threatened by the increasing number of Teslas on the road. In addition to cutting people off and generally behaving aggressively on the road, this evolutionary subgroup has also taken to deliberately blocking EV charging stations at rest areas and service stations -- a practice known as "ICEing" because the offenders are typically drivers of large, Internal Combustion Engine-equipped trucks or SUVs.
Let’s not mince words here. The owners of these gas-guzzling throwbacks have declared war -- on electric vehicles, in general, and Tesla-made EVs in particular. They are seeking to block access to the stations that power them and, in extreme cases, trying to kill their drivers.
The question is: Why?
What is it about the sight of an EV that triggers typically white, lower-class, conservative truck and SUV owners to fly into a homicidal rage? Politically speaking, this is clearly a right wing phenomenon. You don’t hear of many Subaru-driving, tree-hugging eco-warriors assaulting EV drivers. No, this problem is clearly unique to the Sean Hannity/Alex Jones-loving crowd, the same bitter clingers who refuse to drink tap water (it "turns the frogs gay") and who hoard incandescent light bulbs (because CFLs and LEDs are all a grand, government conspiracy to away take their manhood…or something).
The irony is that these "liberty-loving patriots" are taking aim and one of America’s great domestic success stories. Sure, Elon Musk may be an immigrant from South Africa. But his company, Tesla, is a true-blue U.S. technology play, one that’s innovating at a breakneck pace and keeping their beloved country at the top of the heap in a critical new market. So, not only is their hatred for Tesla entirely misguided, it’s also unpatriotic.
On a personal note, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a Tesla Model 3 for some time now. My beloved 2003 Infiniti G35 Sedan (one of the very first to ever set "foot" in America) is getting extremely long in the tooth, and I’m tempted by all that glittering new technology in Mr. Musk’s creation. But I’m also now wary of how much grief a new Tesla might bring me. Will I, too, become a victim of random road rage? Will people deliberately key my car in the parking lot out of envy and spite?
Fortunately, a solution may be just over the horizon. Tesla has been teasing its upcoming EV pickup truck for some time now. Perhaps I’ll bite the bullet and up my game a bit. Then we’ll see what those ICE-loving troglodytes have to say when I roll up in a vehicle that can out-tow, out-haul and out-accelerate their precious Dodge RAMs, Chevy Silverados and Ford F-150s.
I’m comin’ for ya, boys!