Forbes staffer Todd Woody recently had a Ford Focus Electric to review and was in Berkeley, CA at a cafe waiting for the car to charge up when his phone buzzed. It was a notification that the charging had been interrupted. When Woody went to investigate, the cord was instead plugged into a Coda Automotive sedan. A Coda that was decked out in manufacturer license plates and very obviously a dealer demo car. Woody Tweeted his displeasure.
Turns out, the car belonged to the store manager for the Coda Silicon Valley dealer, who later emailed Woody to say he had assumed the Focus was finished charging since the light on the charger box itself was not on. The official Coda twitter account Tweeted a sort-of apology, saying "Didn't mean to cause any harm @CODASV must've been in a pinch. #needmorepublicharging."
Now, Woody agrees with the need for more public charging, but he was in a pinch, too, with only 12 miles left in his pack. He writes that there needs to be more than just politeness to stop charging rage from happening more often:
Coda isn't issuing an official statement on the matter, but Larkin Hill, the director of corporate communications for Coda Holdings, sent AutoblogGreen a comment, which you can find below.
Twice in the past week I've rolled up to parking spots reserved for electric cars in San Rafael in Marin County that were occupied by gas-guzzlers, including a BMW blocking an electric car charger in an otherwise nearly empty parking garage on a Sunday afternoon.
First – the response from @CODAautomotive was not the best reaction and we've since altered our social media response reactions as it was not indicative of how our corporate CODA team felt about the situation. Without knowing what happened, the first element would be regret that the Ford Focus was unplugged and a promise to look into why.
While CODA still believes most consumers will charge at home and drive within the range, sharing charging stations is inevitable as EV's become more popular in the market. No matter what, however, it's unacceptable to unplug someone if they're charging. It's disrespectful, dangerous and just plain rude. We want all EV owners to enjoy their vehicles and I hope that apps like PlugShare, etc can be potentially useful. They can stay up-to-date, provide immediate feedback and aren't dependent on OEM technology.
We also agree with what Todd wrote – that we do need more public stations.
I was personally horrified by the situation – Todd is a voice of reason, logic and a respected member of the media. To have this happen to him is embarrassing. I also believe the dealer rep when he says that he was horrified that he'd unplugged a car that was meant to be charging.