ElectraGirl: Crazy Days

Saturday 15th November 2014

Car events HeaderI’d like to share with you some of the crazy things we get to see and hear while we are out and about showing our Electric Cars at Events. It just wouldn’t be fair to keep them to ourselves. For everyone that’s taken their cars to an event, I’m sure this will seem vary familiar.

You’ve heard the phrase ‘There’s no such thing as a silly question or statement’ – Well I’ll let you be the judge…

Silly Questions!

We hear these questions over and over again, and they still make us smile.

You drive it everyday… really?

What do you do when you run out of electricity?

Can you drive it on the motorway, can it go fast enough?

How many hours can you drive it for?

That’s a solar panel on the roof of the Tesla, can you charge it up as you go?

Why don’t they put windmills on the side to recharge the batteries as you go along?

Do you carry spare batteries? (Yes, we keep some AAs in the glove box)

Is that a real car? (that you just arrived in and got out of)

Knowledgable Individuals!

The best conversations we hear are those between friends, they will stand there while the knowledgeable one of them tells all about Electric Cars. Sometimes we just stand there and quietly giggle to ourselves, and other times we have to step in and say, ‘Well, actually… It’s this really!

“Yes, those lines in the roof [of the ActiveE] are solar panels.” said one person to their friend sounding very knowledgable.

I had one person looking very intently at the graphics on the BMW ActiveE trying to work out if they were stickers or paint. He and his friend couldn’t decide, I guess they could have just asked. However, it just goes to show what a good job the “sticking the graphics on the car” person did.

“Did you know that the government banned these in the 1970’s because they can run on free energy that Nikola Tesla wanted to give away?”

“I haul these on my truck, they catch fire easily though.”

2012 Zero S on display

2012 Zero S – Knowledgable owners only here!

Favourite Conversation!

Person – Where’s the gas engine in this Tesla Roadster?

My Reply – There isn’t one, it’s 100% electric.

Person – So is it in the front then?

My Silent Reply – _sigh_

2012 Tesla Roadster at Rutgers on show

Too Much Touching!

Whilst we like to share our cars, they’re not climbing frames! What goes on inside the minds of some people?

I must touch the car to see if it feels like a real car – because obviously it isn’t! So I’ll touch the steering wheel, the seats, stick my head inside the window, try the door handle… A few times because the first time nothing happened so if I try it multiple times then something’s bound to happen… hmm, still nothing. I know, I’ll reach in and open the door from the inside. Oh no, what have I done… The alarm’s gone off. Oops, oh dear how embarrassing, did I really just jump 10 feet? Maybe these are real cars after all, maybe that’s why there is a note inside saying “These are our cars please look after them.”

Well this is a lovely car, I’ll try the door handle so I can open the door, hmm, it appears to be locked, but the window is open so I will just feed my child into your car through the window, because that’s obviously the right thing to do!  Nooooooo!

Let me just waggle the door mirrors back and forth, because that’s what you do right? (Umm, no it isn’t and please don’t let your child hang on them either. If you break them then you will be paying for new ones!)

Who We Are

Most people think we are Sales people from Tesla and BMW (do we get commission then for publicising their cars? Unfortunately not!) People appear quite shocked when we say, ‘No, these are our daily cars, we’re very enthusiastic about Electric Cars and we like bringing them out to these events to show people that there are Electric Cars on the road and you can use them everyday.’

It’s all Such Fun!!!!

Cold Day showing carsLet me know if you have any stories that you would like to share in the comments below.


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  • CDspeed

    At plug-in day I was cornered by an elderly man who tried to tell me how I was polluting because “you know, electricity comes from coal”. As if he gives a fig if he leaves a door open wile his AC is running. And the touching, the general public is comprised of monkeys. No manners, no brains, they just climb all over your car, eating bananas, and look at you like a monkey in a zoo when you start yelling at them. And yes I was mistaken for a BMW salesman too, even though there was no evidence to support that. I’ll never show my car again.

    • Zephyr

      Seriously?nDon’t let a handful of cretins ruin it for you.nEven in Alabama, I find showing my EV to be a predominantly positive experience. Once you get the hang of seeing where your audience is coming from, and correcting their misconceptions with tact and kindness, it gets easier. As for touching… it kinda comes with the territory, regardless of powertrain. I’ve never seen it as a big deal.

      • CDspeed

        Well, quite a few of them found out from the BMW dealer who brought test drivable i3s that the body was made from something other then metal. So a few people tried knocking all over the body panels. I could barely get talking to anyone before I’d notice yet another person doing something to my car. I do get approached by people occasionally on an average day, and have had some great conversations about electric cars. I guess I thought it would all be talking, and showing, but people visiting the show for some reason thought it was some kind of display, not a group of car owners. Plug-in day organizers could have done something to inform patrons that some of the cars were privately owned. The plug-in day I attended wasn’t very well advertised, and the weather was bad so I wasn’t even sure if the show had been canceled, there was no communication beyond receiving the time I was required to show up. I guess I expected a very well thought out car show, being that an electric car show is aimed at being informative, and then finding it was just a public free-for-all, where even adults allowed themselves to act like misbehaving children was dissapointing.

        • Michael Thwaite

          Yuk! Sounds horrible. I’d recommend more signage. Pamela does a great job for me of hanging close to the cars and, let’s just say, she won’t tolerate any misbehavior… Do not cross her!

          • CDspeed

            I did enjoy talking about electric cars with people, if I give it another go next year I’ll definitely remember a few well placed signs. Still I am dissapointed, I can’t believe how absent minded the general public is, people with manners are an endangered species.

      • Michael Thwaite

        Initially, I was okay with people getting in and looking around but, in time I started to feel conscious of the long-term effect. I’ve found people are ok if you say that “Hey, sorry, it’s actually my car.”

        • CDspeed

          It gets a little tiring saying “excuse me, that’s my car” after the 50th time though. I worked in a museum before, I should have know better, I once saw a father try to put his kid in an ancient Cypriote clay vase (3,000 years old), he was stopped in time, but when I asked what he was doing he replied “I thought it would be cute to take a picture with his head poking out of the top”. [face palm]

  • I’ve got to admit that having people touch comes with the territory. No-one likes ‘do not touch’ rules, but in the past I got around it by making sure someone was with my car to ‘supervise’ 😉

  • Electra Girl

    I think that while, yes, people do touch the cars and while some of that is okay, it’s the general lack of regard for other people’s property that bothers me. I feel that they wouldn’t treat their own vehicles that way. When did it become okay to swing on door mirrors and sit on other people’s cars? The amount of time I’ve run towards the car to stop some insane action is quite frankly ridiculous. I mean trying to feed your child in through the car window because the door was locked – ridiculous. It seems even having signs in the car doesn’t mean anything. I now keep the windows closed on the i3 as it has a light interior and I’m sorry but I don’t want other peoples hands on my steering wheel!

    • CDspeed

      It is shocking how people just assume that something on public display is there for them to do what ever they want with. I was at a classic Jaguar show one year, I was talking with a man about his XK120 roadster (black with red interior) when suddenly a child maybe twelve years old let the Irish Wolfhound he was walking get a little to close to the XK. In a split second the wolfhound lifted its leg, and wee’d on the front fender of the beautiful black XK120. And of course when the owner approached the child’s mother, she yeld at him for scaring her kid……………….

  • Stephen Pace

    Great post! I can certainly relate as I still show my car at events a lot. One thing I find helps for me is I printed Leilani Mu00fcnter’s Tesla Model S sign on foamboard and stick it in the open frunk. It both attracts people (“where is the engine?”) as well as answers the most common questions. Then you can fill in whatever else questions they have. I still let people sit in the car (with supervision) which has cost me some A pillar wear, but otherwise it has mostly been fine. (One kid pushed my retractable door handle in and I thought it was broken, but the car seemed to reset it overnight and it was resolved in the morning.)

  • Martin

    A group of owners in Orkney showed 5 cars in early September and I don’t think that we had many problems. We managed to show a BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Peugeut ion, Renault Zoe and Toyota Plug in Prius.

    • Electra Girl

      That’s good to hear.