Tales from a Shock Jockey: We See Them Rollin’, and Hatin’…

truck_rollinCoalWhen I first heard about it, I was convinced it had to be a joke.

It had to be.

No, this is a thing.

On Facebook. On Tumblr. On Instagram.

And now, in the air.

As reported by Vocative, a new protest against President Barack Obama and environmentalists has taken to the streetsRollin’ Coal. The Facebook page reads as “for all the diesel lovers out there” but this community has apparently evolved into a statement against green drivers. How Rollin’ Coal works—keeping it to the basics here—is modifying a pick-up truck to intentionally spew thick soot either from massive exhaust pipes or smoke stacks. The Rollin’ Coal folks call this “Prius Repellant” and post both video and memes celebrating their “victories” on the road. The kits and the modifications, Slate reports, are legal (although the EPA disagrees); but as one Wisconsin vendor tells reporters:

“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all. If he’s into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not. I hear a lot of that. To get a single stack on my truck—that’s my way of giving them the finger. You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you.”

Modifying your truck to protest clean air initiatives? That’s about as smart as staging a protest of “I don’t like khakis, so I’m going to wear my blue jeans and fart in your face because khakis.” Such is this the latest protest against our President and environmentalists.

Okay, setting aside the American Cancer Society’s findings to diesel exhaust attributing to adverse effects to one’s health, let’s look at another possible reason why people choose EVs. Continue reading

Tales from a Shock Jockey: Making EV Courtesy a Common Courtesy

Back in March, Pip and I pulled into the Omni Hotel of Richmond, Virginia for 48 hours of awesome with the James River Writers. I had no doubt we were going to get star treatment from the writing group, and also from the hotel. We have stayed at the Omni of Richmond before and it is a terrific hotel. What happened after I handed over Sterling’s fob, though, made the Omni my favorite hotel in Richmond:

Valet: “I see, Mr. Morris, that you drive a Volt. Would you care to have us plug it in to our charger for you?”

Me: “Why, yes, yes I would!”

Unbeknownst to me, the Omni Hotel had a Level 2 (240v) charger on the property and were offering it to me as a guest. It was a delight to get offered that little perk. An unexpected reward for driving green. Continue reading

Tales of a Shock Jockey: 6 Misconceptions about Electric Vehicles (and Those who Drive Them)

EV-carsI tend to get a lot of playful (and in some instances, not-so-playful) ribbing about investing in an electric car.  Potshots range from my overreaction to the state of planetary resources to my tree-hugging, liberal opinions. The joke of the night at my last family gathering was “The problem with Tee’s new car is the plug doesn’t reach all the way from D.C. to Richmond.”

That’s my brother. He’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip the wait staff. Try the veal.

My sister-in-law and teenage nephew, however, were asking legitimate questions about the range of the LEAF, how running other systems like climate control or the entertainment system affected the drive, and what I needed to recharge an electric car. These were questions that I really hadn’t considered when deciding to drive green. It wasn’t until I read this article about misconceptions around electric cars that I started to pay closer attention to what people were asking me, and started to notice the same questions and statements coming up, all centered around similar assumptions. Continue reading

Tales of a Shock Jockey: What’s in a Name?

IMG_6839When purchasing an electric vehicle (EV), Pip and I discovered an interesting trend: EV drivers name their cars. Some of these names tend to be fun like “Sparky” or “Nikola” but it’s a thing. Even when you log in to the LEAF or Volt apps, one of the options asked for is the car’s name. When signing the paperwork on the lease, our salesman brought it up. “You might want to think of a name for your LEAF.” So on the way back from the dealership, we started thinking about what would best suit our first electric vehicle.

Naming a car is a bit like naming a pet. You want to do it once and you want it to be appropriate. we agreed that there had to be something in the name about the LEAF’s color. Pip had only one request for the car after we finished the test drive—she wanted the floor model which was a rather sharp shade of red. The dealership called it “Cayenne” but it’s red. So names kicking around included Chief, Big Red, Red Ryder, but nothing was really clicking. Continue reading

Tales of a Shock Jockey: A Decision to Drive Green

EV-carsWhen it comes to celebrating Earth Day and working towards green initiatives, Pip and I do what we can. I don’t think I’ve become completely and totally green, but I do think my carbon footprint has gone down a few sizes. We’ve got the dual trashcan for our recyclables. We’re turning off lights and conserving power when we can (although being the digital family that we are, that’s a challenge); but since a Plug-In Day event held in Manassas, I had been wanting to go all in. That was why when, back in November, it was time to seriously start shopping for a new car, I said “I want to go electric.”

At this alternative fuel event sponsored by Plug In America, the Sierra Club, and Electric Auto Association, I got a closer look at the rock stars of consumer electric vehicles (or EVs, as they are commonly known by) which included the Tesla Roadster and Coupe, the Chevrolet Volt (an EVs that had a nine-gallon gas tank as a “reserve” for when the battery is low), and the Mitsubishi MiEV. While I didn’t find the looks of Mitsubishi’s EV appealing, they were offering test drives so I took the MiEV for a spin. The first thing I noticed — the car truly sold itself, not just in how it handled but in how quiet it was. I mean, whisper silent! (A little unsettling, but in a really good way.) Continue reading