Monday, September 17, 2012

They see me rollin', They hatin'

After six months of driving an electric vehicle, I think I've learned more about people than I have about EVs.  One thing I've found is that people can be dropped into three buckets.  Those that are actively excited about EVs, those who haven't formed an opinion, and those that are haters.  Not surprisingly, the haters are the most vocal group of the bunch. 

Amazingly, a lot of the haters that I've run across are on a car enthusiast forum that I frequent.  I have to admit, I really didn’t see that coming.  Being a car guy and being into EVs, I would’ve figured others were like me.  Don’t get me wrong, many are, but there are also a lot of haters.    On the forum in question, one of the longer running threads is entitled, ‘The Volt is a PR stunt, makes GM no money”.  It was started 2 years ago and has 2000 replies at this point.  Somehow these folks can’t see the future.  I wonder how long it took them to get smart phones.

In addition to being the most vocal of the groups, haters have something else in common.  They are always on the offensive and have an 'answer' for why the virtues of EVs not only won't ever work for them (or the rest of the country for that matter - amazing how these folks 'know' what would work for their neighbors).  You can always see them coming too.  On line or in person they are bashing the cars with their perceptions of the facts.  They never ask intelligent probing questions to understand the vehicle or it's abilities.  This also isn’t EV specific.  They also tend to be haters of anything that doesn’t fit into their definition of the way things should be.  

Not surprisingly, I've yet to come across a hater that actually owns (or leases) an EV.  It isn't hard to do the math as to why that is the case.  First, haters generally take their stance due to a lack of experience and a distortion of the facts.  Makes it unlikely that a hater would be an early adopter of ANYTHING, let alone something like an EV.  Plus, once you take the plunge into an EV, you quickly realize how much better of a vehicle they are.  Nobody that has one expects to ever have an ICE as a daily driver again.  This is completely the opposite of the hater philosophy.  Haters don't like change and look for ways to bash the thing they are hating.  Well, at least until they get one, fall in love and become a super annoying evangelist for the product.  And by super annoying, I mean worse than most of us early adopters.

Another hater trait I've observed is they move from one argument to another desperately trying to find something to prove their point, e.g., directing the conversation from the middle east to the environment to costs to how they would never drive one because it wouldn't work for them.  Seriously people, learn the facts before becoming a hater, it’ll keep you from becoming that person who should’ve chosen to stay silent and be thought a fool, to one who opened their mouth and removed all doubt.

Hater quotes that almost every EV driver or proponent has heard at some point:
·        My daily travels exceed the range of an EV.
·        They’re not that green, I remember reading how the Prius is worse for the environment than a Hummer.
·        You’re just moving the emissions from the tailpipe to the power plant, and those are ‘dirty’ coal emissions.
·        The national grid is shaky as it is and can't handle the extra draw of EVs.

The list goes on and on of these misconceptions.  The truth is, if you are open minded, you can understand how all of these points are false if you are presented with the facts.  The fact is, however, haters are anything but open minded.  So much so that most will likely hang on to their ICE until long after its smart to do so.

Eventually these ‘quotes’ about EVs will end up being similar to these now humorous ‘hater’ quotes about other groundbreaking items:

The Impossible
"You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bon-fire under her deck? I have no time for such nonsense."
— Napoleon Bonaparte on the steamship.

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication."
— Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible."
—Lord Kelvin, President, Royal Society, 1895.

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” 
—Ken Olsen, Founder of DEC, 1977

“It’s a $500 cell phone, what could be so great about it to drive Apple stock higher?”
—Me, at a stock club meeting, March 2007 (AAPL was in the $90s at that point)

Until that day comes, they’ll see me rollin’ in an EV.