Tesla drivers in Iowa become targets of assault

Tesla drivers are regularly heckled, cut off from traffic and blocked from charging stations, several Iowa owners told Axios.

  • Anxiety about politics or the environment is usually the motivating factor, they said.

Driving the news: Suzie Stewart of Des Moines — a friend of Jason’s — recently told us she fears for her teenage son’s safety because he drives a Tesla.

  • She was with her son last month when another driver made obscene hand gestures as they passed, then sped up and heeled the car in an incident she said was unprovoked.

State of play: We reached out to members of the Iowa Tesla Owners Club Facebook group this week and received more than a dozen responses from people who said they had experienced similar situations.

  • Uber driver Kyle Volz of DSM said the harassment was especially apparent when he worked on weekends. He thinks a driver tried to run him off the road.
  • Spencer Hall of Norwalk said he faced bullying or challenges from other drivers several times a week, often from people who wanted to race.

The plot: Every Tesla owner we spoke with thinks other types of electric vehicles are much less targeted.

  • That’s because Teslas are a symbol of the environmental movement and Elon Musk – the company’s billionaire CEO – is sometimes seen as a polarizing figure, Brian Miller, an Ankeny resident who advocates for vehicles, told Axios. electrical.
  • More: They are often sporty and seen as a status symbol. This makes some people want to challenge them, Hall told us.

Yes, but: Some people in the group reported no issues, with a few noting that they received generally positive feedback to their cars.

To note: DSM police sergeant. Paul Parizek told us he was not aware of any reports alleging an incident was prompted by an attacker’s dislike of Tesla.

  • Some harassment complaints could be tied to environmental discord, but that’s not something that’s specifically tracked, he said.

threat level: This is a serious problem and certain types of harassment are common, Miller said.

  • rolling coal: When a driver – usually of a large truck with a modified engine – accelerates aggressively and blows bloated exhaust at an electric vehicle.
  • Icing: When drivers of gasoline vehicles park or block access to electric charging stations.

Zoom out: The problem is not isolated to Iowa.

  • Teslacam Stories, a YouTube series, devoted several episodes to owners’ experiences as victims of road rage.
  • Electrek, a US news site dedicated to electric transportation, also reported on the issues.

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