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Turo Tales: Some poeple are not ready for EVs

I thought I'd share a funny story about renting my car out on Turo.

So far I've had a pretty good experience with it and met a lot of nice Tesla enthusiasts. Honestly I usually end up spending 20-30 minutes chatting with them after they return the car about EVs etc. Which no offense, is probably better for me than arguing with people in Electrek comment threads at 1:00am

So I had someone reserve my car for the week starting Friday. "Great!" I thought as this covers the majority of the cost of the car for the month at minimal hassle for me. Instead of dropping off, picking up and washing the car 7 times I get it all in one shot. Much easier.

So before the rental I set the customer up with some tips so he's ready. One of the big ones was getting him to download plugshare since it's just a lot easier to uses the L2 infrastructure than be tethered to the SC for local driving.

Friday comes along and I meet him at the airport, give him a 20 minute rundown of the controls, charging, and EV stuff. He's never driven an EV before but is interested in maybe getting a model X. I drop him some local restaurant recommendations and look forward to a nice week of biking to work (I need the exercise).

8 hours later I get a call. He's down to about 60 miles of range and is at a Kia dealership trying to charge the car on a Chademo. I explain to him that he's only going to be able to use the L2 there, but he has plenty of range to get to his destination, where there's a L2 charger (30 miles) or the Supercharger (30 miles). At this point he panics and says he needs a more reliable car and wants to return it.

Frankly i'm fine with him returning the car. Like I said, I enjoy sharing this with other enthusiasts so locking someone into the car for another 6 days wasn't really interesting for me either. So he immediately drives 30 minutes to my place and drops off the car.

Perhaps I underestimated how weird EV driving is since it's just part of my daily routine to pull up plugshare if I'm somewhere for a few hours but I at least tried my best to prepare him for how to use the car properly. Maybe I need to give a longer primer on how to switch out of the "Gas Station" mindset and more into "opportunistic charging". Maybe next time I'll get the customer to set up alerts on Plugshare so they at least get a notification when they're near a charger.

Oh well, I hope he rented a nice Panamera or something for the rest of his week but I doubt he'll be getting a Model X any time soon.
 
It's not Turo, it's people.

We GAVE our car FREE to a couple just so they could experience Tesla. I know. Who would do that? Anyway, I followed the couple on my phone app, as I told them I would. The fellow was headed for Sacramento from Napa area, and I personally would have made the trip without charging, but I suggested that if he added any miles, he ought to charge. I pointed out that the chargers appear on the map on the dash.

So. I'm following him, and he's down to thirty miles of range after doodling around all afternoon moving stuff from his apartment, and he turns off the main road and drives directly away from the charger. It's like hes TRYING to run out of charge. I phone him and tell him to turn around and go charge. He doesn't. By now he's down to about ten miles of charge. I call and threaten him. I tell him there is a charger two miles away behind a city hall. If he doesn't go there, I call the police. So he goes.

Then he acts like the car is no good, and is all angry when he returns the free car after over 250 free miles. Go figure. I don't loan out my car anymore. Go figure, again.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Those are two very strange stories. Apparently there is a certain segment of the population that needs extra hand holding when it comes to EV charging basics.
8 hours later I get a call. He's down to about 60 miles of range and is at a Kia dealership trying to charge the car on a Chademo. I explain to him that he's only going to be able to use the L2 there, but he has plenty of range to get to his destination, where there's a L2 charger (30 miles) or the Supercharger (30 miles). At this point he panics and says he needs a more reliable car and wants to return it.
he's down to thirty miles of range after doodling around all afternoon moving stuff from his apartment, and he turns off the main road and drives directly away from the charger. It's like hes TRYING to run out of charge. I phone him and tell him to turn around and go charge. He doesn't. By now he's down to about ten miles of charge. I call and threaten him. I tell him there is a charger two miles away behind a city hall. If he doesn't go there, I call the police. So he goes.
 
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whitex

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Sep 30, 2015
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Those are two very strange stories. Apparently there is a certain segment of the population that needs extra hand holding when it comes to EV charging basics.
Actually, there is just a certain segment of the population that is just not that bright. Look for stories of people driving ICE running out of has, filling up for $5 and then wondering why they run out of gas so fast, or seizing their engines driving with the engine light on, or simply never servicing their car and then wondering why it died 3 years later. In some countries car maintenance, filling up, etc. is part of driver's license test. USA, not so much.
 
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BluestarE3

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Apr 2, 2016
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Those are two very strange stories. Apparently there is a certain segment of the population that needs extra hand holding when it comes to EV charging basics.
Or there's a segment of the population like the John Broders and Jeremy Clarksons of the world who feel it's their life mission to do everything possible to "debunk" the viability of EVs by deliberately running down the battery?
 
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Don't think these people are necessarily in the bottom 10% of drivers. I think there are factors that are causing this. Probably #1 is that my car is a 60, not a P100D so the range is a bit shorter than an ICE.

Daily driving with an EV is pretty cake. You know your route, you know your chargers. It's about as hard as managing your cell phone battery. I could realistically drive a Fiat 500e as my daily, even with the lack of DC fast charging. And considering the lease is <$100/month I probably should :)

Now if I'm going off the beaten path or somewhere new like Borrego Springs , I really do need to plan ahead with evtripplanner and maybe check plugshare. It's not hard but it's something you absolutely don't have to do with a gas car. If you do that though there's almost nowhere you can't reach. I made it up to Jackson Hole in the winter. The car was great, the weather was a much bigger challenge.

Ok so now you have someone on vacation and they've got a special car. What are they gonna do? Drive the heck out of it! So basically you end up with the least experienced people taking on some of the toughest journeys without much preparation. I will admit I did check the app in the afternoon just to see how he was getting on and he spent a good 4 hours at a place with free charging and did not plug in. Rookie mistake. The only other person whose come close to running out of juice (and i mean 1 mile) I happened to see blow past a supercharg

I don't like checking the app though since it feels VERY invasive. And i would never call unless I saw the car in Mexico or 10 miles offshore. I think I just need to emphasize that you should check for charging if you're going to be at a hospitality business for a few hours, especially in SoCal as many of them offer free charging. Possibly I could ask people if they'd like a bit of remote support in managing the charging situation until they get the hang of it.

The way I try to get around this is telling people to use the navigation, as it'll basically manage your range for you and tell you to detour if you're running out. It's not perfect as it has a tendency to panic if you leadfoot away from the superchargers but if you listen to the computer you shouldn't end up meeting many tow truck drivers.

At the end of the day no business succeeds by writing off customers as stupid. So this is really a problem of education that will need to be solved as EVs go mainstream. You can imagine people buying cars and then freaking out about this stuff. I already give a much more comprehensive overview than they gave me in Fremont when I picked up the car
 
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whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
7,130
9,172
Seattle area, WA
Don't think these people are necessarily in the bottom 10% of drivers. I think there are factors that are causing this. Probably #1 is that my car is a 60, not a P100D so the range is a bit shorter than an ICE.

Daily driving with an EV is pretty cake. You know your route, you know your chargers. It's about as hard as managing your cell phone battery. I could realistically drive a Fiat 500e as my daily, even with the lack of DC fast charging. And considering the lease is <$100/month I probably should :)

Now if I'm going off the beaten path or somewhere new like Borrego Springs , I really do need to plan ahead with evtripplanner and maybe check plugshare. It's not hard but it's something you absolutely don't have to do with a gas car. If you do that though there's almost nowhere you can't reach. I made it up to Jackson Hole in the winter. The car was great, the weather was a much bigger challenge.

Ok so now you have someone on vacation and they've got a special car. What are they gonna do? Drive the heck out of it! So basically you end up with the least experienced people taking on some of the toughest journeys without much preparation. I will admit I did check the app in the afternoon just to see how he was getting on and he spent a good 4 hours at a place with free charging and did not plug in. Rookie mistake. The only other person whose come close to running out of juice (and i mean 1 mile) I happened to see blow past a supercharg

I don't like checking the app though since it feels VERY invasive. And i would never call unless I saw the car in Mexico or 10 miles offshore. I think I just need to emphasize that you should check for charging if you're going to be at a hospitality business for a few hours, especially in SoCal as many of them offer free charging. Possibly I could ask people if they'd like a bit of remote support in managing the charging situation until they get the hang of it.

The way I try to get around this is telling people to use the navigation, as it'll basically manage your range for you and tell you to detour if you're running out. It's not perfect as it has a tendency to panic if you leadfoot away from the superchargers but if you listen to the computer you shouldn't end up meeting many tow truck drivers.

At the end of the day no business succeeds by writing off customers as stupid. So this is really a problem of education that will need to be solved as EVs go mainstream. You can imagine people buying cars and then freaking out about this stuff. I already give a much more comprehensive overview than they gave me in Fremont when I picked up the car
While you are right, there is a need for education, there will always be a segment of population that just won't get it - the types who just refuses to learn or think any problem will go away if you just ignore it *yea, I know the "E" light on the fuel gauge has been on for a while, but I don't care". I had a friend who in high school who notoriously ran out of gas, she always said "so what, CAA will come bring me more if I run out". That's why car rental companies provide roadside assistance as an option, because even though people have been driving ICE cars for decades, there are still people out there that run out of gas. Some people just don't like thinking ahead, not even far enough to fill up an gas car, and with EV's that problem is amplified a lot because you can't just fill in up in 5 minutes, so there is more thinking ahead required.
 

AnxietyRanger

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Aug 22, 2014
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EU
The thing is, there is absolutely nothing surprising about these stories - or at least there should not be. It is the same with the idle charge conversation: estimating how long a charge will take and being penalized for getting your guess wrong (or having to monitor an app, which most people really don't do).

EV and technology enthusiasts aside, that both have the technical mindset and the mission-related patience for what it takes to operate an EV, many regular people will have a hard time justifying the transition to EVs and putting up with all it takes.

It is not just EVs. It is any technology (or even any activity) that requires special attention from its owner. Enthusiasts will always be more willing to jump through the hoops to get whatever benefit they are getting, than regular people that just want to get the job done.

There is a lot of work to be done in getting EVs to the level that they will be mainstream acceptable. Tesla has done well in many regards, but these will definitely not be the last times we hear of stories like these ones.
 
Yeah, I can't wait for the first winter tales of the folks who get a Model 3 and aren't the 'experts' at EVs and complain about range dropping down. People who expect the Model 3 (etc.) to be a 'replacement' for their ICE car with no research are going to be interesting to watch, to say the least.
It is going to be interesting. It's possible that the increased infrastructure supposed to be going in between now and this time next year will make it easier for people to not be quite as understanding about the logistics of having an EV. But I suspect it will still be messy in the beginning.
 
Out of curiosity, how does Turo handle if someone were to shoulder the car by running out of charge and you'd have to truck it to the nearest charger? I'd assume there would be some type of fee you'd be able to levy against the renter?

Just like running out of gas. Charge them for the tow. Fortunately hasn't happened yet. I guess I could get a AAA membership in case this happens but I'd rather strongly dissuade them from trying.
 
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While you are right, there is a need for education, there will always be a segment of population that just won't get it - the types who just refuses to learn or think any problem will go away if you just ignore it *yea, I know the "E" light on the fuel gauge has been on for a while, but I don't care". I had a friend who in high school who notoriously ran out of gas, she always said "so what, CAA will come bring me more if I run out". That's why car rental companies provide roadside assistance as an option, because even though people have been driving ICE cars for decades, there are still people out there that run out of gas. Some people just don't like thinking ahead, not even far enough to fill up an gas car, and with EV's that problem is amplified a lot because you can't just fill in up in 5 minutes, so there is more thinking ahead required.

Yeah i've got a bipolar friend who does this all the time.
 
It is going to be interesting. It's possible that the increased infrastructure supposed to be going in between now and this time next year will make it easier for people to not be quite as understanding about the logistics of having an EV. But I suspect it will still be messy in the beginning.

Oh man, it's going to get nasty at public chargers in the next couple years. Not just superchargers.

I've heard about the expansions coming due to VWs fines but still haven't seen anything built.
 
Even P100D or 100D range is way, way shorter than an average ICE. (Well, who knows about gas guzzling American cars, but at least compared to the average German automobile.) And EV range is affected more by driving style and weather.

Probably because German cars have Gas and Diesel versions. The fuel tank is sized for the least efficient petrol version, so the Diesels end up with insane ranges. I think an A8 TDI will go something like 1200km between fill-ups.

Luckily in San Diego we don't have much "weather". Elevation is a concern though as you go into the mountains.
 

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