First, there was rolling coal. Now there’s ICE-ing. As electric motors encroach on internal combustion engines, some truck owners are getting angry. And Teslas are a favorite target.
Rolling coal has been a pastime for some truck owners who modify their engines to blow plumes of black smoke. Videos show truck owners slowing down to blanket neighborhood sidewalks in soot, and belch smoke at trailing hybrid and electric vehicles (EV). One popular bumper sticker on such vehicles: “Prius Repellent.” Complaints of the practice are rising (paywall), and New Jersey was the first state to ban it (although it’s already illegal under federal law to alter emissions controls).
Now “ICE-ing”—the I, C and E taken from internal combustion engine—is on the rise. The practice involves parking fossil-fuel-powered vehicles in designated EV charging spots to block anyone from using them. For EV owners, it’s the equivalent of someone parking in front of a gas pump. Sometimes it’s unintentional. Other times it’s not.
One of the most recent incidents was at a North Carolina convenience store called Sheetz. Reddit user Leicina posted her account of several pickup-trucks pulling in to block all the Tesla supercharging station’s spots.
“I’ve never had a supercharging experience like this one,” she wrote. “These trucks blocked all the chargers, chanted ‘F’ Tesla, and were kicked out by a Sheetz employee.”
States and cities are now passing laws to prohibit the practice (so far Florida, California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington are among those with rules on the books). A few cities in the South such as Raleigh, North Carolina and Knoxville, Tennessee, have also taken action, along with private-property owners—such as a shopping center in Virginia—which tow offending vehicles.
But Leilani Münte, a top race-car driver and environmental activist who drives a Tesla, says being an EV owner in her home state still invites harassment.