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Green Building News

An ‘ICE-ing’ Challenge for Tesla Owners

The practice of parking big pickups in front of Tesla charging stations appears to be growing more widespread

Tesla owners around the country have reported instances in which pickups are parked to block access to Tesla charging stations. (Photo: Freckletan via Reddit)

Pickup truck owners with an apparent grudge against Tesla or its customers have found a way to harass drivers of their electric vehicles.

A number of news outlets are reporting incidents in which pickups are parked in front of Tesla Supercharger stations, preventing car owners from refueling. The practice is called “ICE-ing,” in reference to the internal combustion engine, and it appears to be a way for truck owners to poke fun at the environmental sentiments behind electric vehicle ownership.

“These guys parked in a Tesla charging spot with their gas (or diesel) truck, unhooked the charge cable, and laid it into their truck bed for ‘comedic’ effect,” Freckletan, who took the photo at the top of this post, wrote at Reddit. “… The only harm done is the fact they are taking up a spot for an unknown amount of time that a Tesla could use to charge. It would be the equivalent of a Tesla parking at a fuel pump at a gas station and walking away.”

How widespread is the practice? That’s hard to say, but an article at E&E News described similar incidents in a handful of states, including Texas, South Carolina, and Delaware.

In Delaware, an RV was parked perpendicular to five Tesla charging stations, blocking access to all of them. In Texas, two oversized pickups had parked in front of at least four chargers. In the text that went with the photo, the owner of a Tesla who was trying to recharge the batteries in his car said he called police but eventually squeezed close enough to refuel.

“I rode up on the curb and did a 12 point turn between the truck and another vehicle with about 1 inch to spare on either side to connect,” the driver said. “We had to hit the road to get home, but I wish I could have seen the fallout.”

Dan Becker, the executive director of the Safe Climate Campaign, called the practice “mean and stupid,” E&E reported.

“Does it insult their manhood that they pollute more and therefore they want to attack vehicles that pollute less?” he asked. “I don’t understand their motivation.”

At the website Teslarati, Simon Alvarez described the problem and posted a link to a video showing how a Tesla Model X is capable of towing a Chevrolet Silverado pickup out of the way. “Spread the word that you really can’t stop a Tesla from getting to a Supercharger,” video blogger Patrick says. “If people really wanted to, they could moving anything.


Tesla drivers also have complained of “rolling coal,” where diesel pickups have been modified to pump excess fuel into the engine, which produces a blast of black smoke. It’s not just Teslas that get the extra attention. As the video above shows, Prius owners also have been given some unwelcome attention.


  1. Peter L | | #1

    I think the other side of this coin is the hypocrisy of some of the Tesla and Prius drivers. I've personally seen Tesla car owners pulling up to their 5,000 sq ft mansions. Prius owners not so much, mainly Tesla car owners.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't condone blocking charging stations. Just saying there is sometimes another side to the argument. You have hard working people who need older diesel trucks and they get ridiculed for driving this old "polluting diesel truck" which is their main work vehicle. While the multi-millionaire driving their Tesla looks smugly upon them. Yet, who built their 5,000 sq.ft mansion? I guarantee you when at 6am the construction workers pulled up, they were driving older beat up cars and trucks, to build this persons mansion. The workers were not pulling up in Tesla's and Prius'. Or when the millionaire's toilet is on the fritz, the plumber they call is not rolling up in a new Tesla X.

    There is another side to this. People driving older, non-efficient vehicles, because that's all they can afford. They are sometimes viewed as being social & environmental deviants by those driving Tesla's and Prius'. Hollywood celebs are probably the biggest hypocrites when it comes to this as they jet set around the world, owning 5+ homes, 15 vehicles, etc.

    1. David Gould | | #2

      How is that the flip side of the coin? Should the people that the could afford a Tesla be driving a "gas guzzler". Is there a shortage of Hummer, Suburban, or F350 owners with 5000 sqft homes that aren't being addressed?

      1. Expert Member
        Dana Dorsett | | #5

        Don't leave out the Toyota Land Crusher from this list! :-)

        Haven't seen where they live or what they look like, but I've seen some pretty dirt-bag Teslas with snack food & worse all over the interiors at the charging station across the street from my office. They have the look of a slovenly software enginerd's office cubical.

        >"I guarantee you when at 6am the construction workers pulled up, they were driving older beat up cars and trucks, to build this persons mansion."

        Really? Is there money back on this guarantee? Is this a hypothetical, or did you actually witness this?

        Jerks come in all sizes, with all types of preconceptions.

        I know at least 3 construction workers who treat their Priuses like their work trucks. (One of them installs PV on roofs for a living, but not the other two.) A 10 foot pipe, or a 9 foot cast iron baseboard fits in 2005 Prius, if you're willing to let it rest on the dashboard. (Ask me how I know.) With the seats folded down you can pack a whole lot of tools or even an 8kw work site generator in the back.

        >"You have hard working people who need older diesel trucks and they get ridiculed for driving this old "polluting diesel truck" which is their main work vehicle."

        The only person I've EVER heard being ridiculed (and not to her face) for driving a diesel pickup was a digital electronics engineer who used it primarily as her commuter car. This wasn't about "affordable"- she traded them in every 5 years for a new one, and takes home professional salary.

        My brother drives a diesel pickup, uses it for towing his dirt bike trailer around to enduro competitions and hill climbs etc when he's not using it for work. I drive a Prius.

        And yet somehow we're both on the same page...

    2. Andy Kosick | | #4

      I see what you're saying Peter, but it's the intent that matters on both sides. Driving an old car because it's all you can afford is one thing, blocking charging stations and intentionally modifying a truck to blow soot in peoples face is childish, but then I would consider indulging in 5 homes and 15 cars childish as well. I would say a lot people driving Tesla's are well intended even if they are blind to other impacts of their lifestyle.

      What's really frustrating is that some of the guys in those pickups do work in residential construction and I've got to convince them to pay attention to air sealing details and install high MERV filtration.

  2. Stephen Sheehy | | #3

    The average pick-up truck costs around $40-50,000. You can buy a Tesla for that. Pickups far outsell all evs. People who block chargers or blow smoke are just jerks.

    Categorizing Tesla owners as obnoxious people is similar to calling people with solar panels obnoxious for flaunting their wealth. Some people simply have different priorities.

  3. Jonathan Lawrence CZ 4A New Jersey | | #6

    Most of the Tesla owners I know are nerdy, middle-aged men - myself included. The obnoxious guys drive other cars.

    1. Expert Member
      Dana Dorsett | | #7

      I only know a few Tesla owners, one is ~50 year old investment banker in PA (works in NJ), another runs a small business selling & installing home security equipment in MA, another is an electrical engineer in his early 40s (decent income, no kids, likes techy toys.)

      I know lots of people who own pickups, from software engineers to stay at home moms to construction trades folks, small time landcape maintenance contractors, etc. to grad students.

  4. Peter L | | #8

    Like I stated in my original post, "Don't get me wrong, I don't condone blocking charging stations. " My point is there are jerks on each side, it's not a one sided thing.

    Even the very liberal South Park adult cartoon series saw through it all. Season 10 - Episode 2 had the "Smug Alert" when Kyle's father buys a hybrid car (Prius) and the better than thou morale superior attitude of hybrid car owners turns the town into smug.

    Both sides have jerks who do things to make fun or ridicule the other side. One side harasses the other side to a certain degree. A small percentage but both sides do it. Whether through overt or covert actions. Tesla drivers and diesel coal rollers both do it.

    1. Trevor Lambert | | #13

      I'm just going to say that acting smug, and belching black smoke onto someone or parking in someone else's designated spot (which they need in order to make their car go) are not in the same ballpark on the jerk scale.

    2. Expert Member
      Dana Dorsett | | #14

      >Even the very liberal South Park adult cartoon series saw through it all. Season 10 - Episode 2 had the "Smug Alert" when Kyle's father buys a hybrid car (Prius) and the better than thou morale superior attitude of hybrid car owners turns the town into smug."

      Animated TV jerks are somehow comparable to real-world jerks, now?

      What is this reality TV? Where's the camera? :-)

      I really don't see there are "...both sides..." here. What "sides"? It's a completely concocted, or at best, exaggerated divide. I park the Prius next to a Silverado pickup at work most days. The owner of the Silverado (my business partner of 25+ years) has made almost enough on his Tesla stock purchase handful of years ago to buy a Model 3, but is waiting for the price to fall. (The Model 3 price, not the stock price :-) )

      What both of us find annoying is that the EV charging stations across the street were placed between the building and a sidewalk, forcing people to step over the cables or walk out in the parking lot when the chargers are in use. (Good planning there folks!)

      I pass multiple Tesla drivers on the road every day on my commute- they don't seem any more entitled or smug than any other luxury car drivers using the same roads. It's probably all in the mind of the beholder. I've never seen a Tesla driver harassing anybody or driving aggressively. (Though I've seen a couple take advantage of gaps in traffic on the interstate for some acceleration giggles.) I've only been coal-rolled twice that I was aware of- both by 20 something male drivers who looked more like "joe college" with redneck dreams, in trucks with custom exhaust & suspension, not a tradesperson's work rig, if that's a trend. I figured they had seen it on youtube and wanted to impress their nerdy friends with their own antics or something.

  5. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #9

    I think I'm speaking for most GBA readers when I state that almost no one is interested in a debate that is based on generalizations about the character of people who buy certain brands of cars.

    So I'm calling an end to posts that make that type of generalization.

  6. John Clark | | #10

    Passive aggressive behavior has no bounds I see. For a good chuckle there's a UTube video of a couple of Tesla owners arguing over who has access to a particular charging station. Long story short apparently there are a lot of Tesla owners who traverse a particular road and this one Tesla station is where they all have to charge up in order to reach their destination. Arguments are allegedly a typical occurance.

  7. Walter Ahlgrim | | #11

    I blame the store owner if the charging station was in the far corner of the parking lot no one would block them. Every year they put up another no parking sign in the front row Handicapped, veteran, employee of the month, online pick up, rental truck, doctors, police.

    Buy your way into the 50K car club as if get free fuel without road taxes is not enough, adding free front row parking is apparently pushing it just a little too far for some.


    1. Trevor Lambert | | #12

      Two problems with this argument. One, it only applies to a single case. Second, it doesn't even appear to apply to the case in the picture here. While it's possible there are other buildings we can't see from the perspective of the photograph, the only evident destination in the parking lot is well away from where the charging spots are. I've only seen a couple of Tesla charging locations, but in both instances they were exactly where you suggest they should be; far out of the way, and not near the front door of a building.

    2. Steve Grinwis | | #15

      The problem is that running cable capable of carrying hundreds of amps long distances is rather expensive, so chargers are often placed wherever it is most cost effective.

      Big fast charger stations often require their own dedicated transformer, and siting is based on that.

      1. Jonathan Lawrence CZ 4A New Jersey | | #16

        I think when Tesla first started building Superchargers (SC's), they wanted to build them in the prime spaces, sometime rights next to the handicap spots, because they wanted to make it appear just as convenient as pulling up to a gas pump. However, location of the utilities would always dictate the final location. It quickly became apparent that those 'convenient' spots were not so convenient because they were most likely to get ICE'd as there really are no penalties for parking in an EV spot and early on they were mostly empty anyways so just wasted prime prime parking spots which rightfully drew the ire of ICE drivers. Generally speaking, most new SC's are located near the back of the lot, and comprise many bays, usually in the double digits. Most Tesla drivers prefer the SC's to be located in these locations because we don't want to be ICE'd or have people mad at us because it looks like we are being given special treatment. We just just want to recharge and get on our way.

        I tend to avoid SC's and try to utilize "destination chargers" which are typically level 2 chargers installed at hotels. This allows us to charge up the car while we sleep.

      2. Expert Member
        Dana Dorsett | | #17

        In the case of the charging stations across the street from my office, (mentioned in response #14) I'm sure the additional 5 feet to put it on the other side of the walkway would not have been a deal breaker on cabling cost. Perhaps they were concerned about the snowplow drivers hitting it, but there are cheap solutions to that too.

        The more likely bet is that it was an afterthought that wasn't analyzed very thoroughly.

        1. Jonathan Lawrence CZ 4A New Jersey | | #18

          Dana - I was recently in Amsterdam and it appeared as if most blocks had a couple of level 2 chargers on them. They were located at the curb so people did not have walk/trip over the cable. Good old Dutch planning in action.

          1. Expert Member
            Dana Dorsett | | #22

            Ze zijn idioten niet, he' ?

            Ik vind het onverassend. Amsterdam NL is een van de oudste geplande steden ter wereld.

            But a friend of mine there has long been of the opinion that since the original city planners never really planned for CARS, they should figure out the plan to get rid of essentially all cars in the city, not just the ICE versions. He did the illustrations on this book:


  8. thrifttrust | | #19

    Reminds me of Charlottesville, "There were bad people on both sides." Where are examples of EV owners assaulting truck owners? What is the EV equivalent of coal rolling? Are Teslas blocking diesel pumps? How dose one determine that another driver is "smug" and thus deserving of aggression?

    Since when does a construction worker earn poverty level wages that require him to drive an old pickup. The vast majority of construction workers drive company vehicles on the job. The vehicle that transports him to work is most likely a late model 4 door pickup with a tiny bed that won't even hold a sheet of plywood. Few of them carry anything in those beds that wouldn't fit in a compact hatchback, and they never carry anything work related.

    As far as price. I just checked Kelly Blue Book. A 2015 F150 4 door, 6 ft bed, mid trim level, standard equipment, 35000 miles, in excellent condition, sells for $25,000. We recently bought a pristine 2015 Chevy Volt with 35000 miles off a Chevy dealer lot for $17,000. If you factor in $3000 for the residual value of the federal rebate, it's still $5000 less than the F150.

    History rhymes. Amsterdam is famous for being tidy and restricting cars. In the seventeenth century they were famous for being tidy and restricting horses.

    Douglas Higden

  9. Kevin Dickson, MSME | | #20

    While I would never do this, one can give a flat tire to any car or truck quickly by nipping off the $2.00 valve stem with this tool:
    Diagonal pliers aren't strong enough to cut the brass core of the stem.

  10. Jaccen | | #21

    It doesn't just happen to Tesla drivers. I've had multiple people park in the Level 2 & 3 chargers (Nissan Leaf owner here). To be fair, some of them didn't realize it was a charging spot. Not all establishments paint the spots to delineate them from regular parking spots. In those instances, I write a quick email to the charge company and the mall/location when it happens.

    I carry a pen and paper to write a polite note explaining to people that they are parked in a charge spot. If they happen to be in the vehicle, I simply pull up beside them and stretch the cable in front of their vehicle over to mine. I believe it conveys the message without being "uppity" about it.

    I've had one person ask, rather condescending, why I would drive a vehicle like that. I, admittedly, played upon stereotypes (based upon the vehicle this person was driving with its bumper stickers) and asked whether they liked drinking beer. They replied that they did. I replied that my vehicle saved me enough to buy two 24's a week in the fuel cost compared to my old van. They suddenly saw the value in buying a fuel efficient vehicle.

    People usually are receptive to the idea of a BEV when I explain to them the financial side rather than the environmental side. And then I throw in that I don't need to change my oil, I change my brakes less, I don't need an etest, I can use the HOV lanes by myself, etc. and they can see the value even more so. I tell them they are not for everyone (ie. a high miler Uber driver, someone who needs a pickup to pull a trailer regularly, etc. can make a strong case for an ICE), but that it works for me. To each their own.

    Canadian Tire in partnership with Flo seems to have the best strategy for placement in my area (SW Ontario). They are close to the store, but far enough away that they're not usually ICE'd. I don't mind (too much) paying the premium they charge you're pretty certain they'll be available and in working order.

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