The New York Times for once sets me straight as it reports from northern California.
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.Some of these stations are free or subsidized. The owners of course find that it's cheaper to used the freebie charging ports as opposed to plugging in at home and driving up their electric bills.
In the moments after Don Han plugged in his Nissan Leaf at a public charging station near his Silicon Valley office one day this summer, he noticed another Leaf pull up as he was walking away. The driver got out and pulled the charger out of Mr. Han's car and started to plug it into his own. Mr. Han stormed back.
"I said, 'Hey, buddy, what do you think you’re doing?' And he said, 'Well, your car is done charging,'" Mr. Han recalled. He told him that was not the case, put the charger back in his own car and left "after saying a couple of curse words, of course."
Such incidents are not uncommon, according to interviews with drivers and electric vehicle advocates, as well as posts from people sharing frustrations on social media. Tensions over getting a spot are "growing and growing," said Maureen Blanc, the director of Charge Across Town, a San Francisco nonprofit that works to spread the adoption of electric vehicles. She owns an electric BMW and recently had a testy run-in over a charging station with a Tesla driver.
Also, many EVs can travel only 80 miles before dying, while gasoline powered cars can have a range of over 300 miles before needing a refill.