LEAF family vacation
The Sauer family photo courtesy of Tim Spell - Houston Chronicle

“Since I don’t think that way, how could you possibly think that way?”

In our daily news feed we picked up the story about the first Texas LEAF family taking a 500 mile trip in their LEAF. It sounded like a worthy read. A Texas utility company employee, his Nasa engineer wife, and their three young daughters take a family vacation in their new electric car. You can read about it in the link above. We were more amazed at the comments, which taken as a whole, have a higher word content than the story. With many being aggressively negative. We just don’t get it.

From the mild “How foolish”. To the vitriolic “just stay off the freeway and don’t ever get in front of me.” The vast majority of the initial comments were divisive and damning and in some cases, just plain senseless – “For some reason, I suspect the owners of this car probably also own Apple computers… It’s a cult thing, just like Apple…”.

In fact, I got so sick of reading the comments that I stopped. But then, going back to write this article I picked up where I left off. And was pleasantly surprised to find supporters for the family, and the idea of the electric car, make their voices known too. “I drive a Jeep around 60-70 miles a day, round trip and gas up every 4 days at $40 a stop – again, the saving of money would far outweight the inconvenience of time.” To this – “Why all the hate? They are just letting you know their experience with the car on the trip.” And we especially liked this one “Wonder why so may people are so very threatened by an electric vehicle?”

It turned out that it wasn’t quite as negative as it first seemed. Although there are many that clearly feel an anger toward this technology. What surprises us more than anything is the divisiveness in many of the comments. It is the “Us vs. Them” mentality. When in reality, we are all “Us”. There is no “Them”. Skin color doesn’t matter. Continent of origin doesn’t matter. Religious beliefs don’t matter. We are all “Us”. But until this gets figured out, we are destined to work at odds rather than moving in the direction of the common good. It really is a shame.

4 Comments

  1. I just read the original article – and the comments. Just a guess, but I bet this was an introduction to EV’s for alot of the commenters and they probably had the impression, after reading the article, that you needed to drive the Leaf at 40-50mph maximum and keep it off the highway and that these nuts who were driving it were saying its usable for 500 mile trips to replace a normal car. Both of these impinge on the “don’t tread on me” aspect that alot of people view as the freedom they have with a vehicle. Just a guess.

    The guy writing the article could have cleared this kind of stuff up and eliminated at least some of the negative comments if he’d written it differently.

    Sounds like the family had a great time on their trip – as was said in the movie Cars – its not the destination but the journey.

    1. Absolutely right. Framing an article is important (and something that I don’t always keep top of mind – then again, I’m not a “professional” journalist). When I stopped reading, the number of positive comments were still climbing as others were weighing in on the story. Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. In very conservative areas of the US, there is little support for the electric car. The reason for this is because President Obama has called for one million electric cars to be on American roads by 2015. There are conservatives who want the president to fail in each and every initiative he puts forward. Recall the conservatives who cheered when the US lost the Olympics as one of numerous examples. They have zero tolerance for the success of the president so therefore they are absolutely dead set against the electric car, regardless if it’s good for America.

    1. indy – I agree. Also, as my wife pointed out after I discussed this with her – in Texas, many make their living from the oil business. Many see any reduction in the use of oil as a threat to their livelyhood, as opposed to a benefit to humanity, not just good for America.

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