US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was put in an awkward position recently after her staff blocked a public EV charger with a gasoline car to reserve it for the government official's convoy of EVs.
Earlier this summer, Granholm embarked on a four-day EV road trip between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Memphis, Tennessee, to promote the White House's investments into green energy and clean cars.
But not everything went according to plan as the EV convoy faced the realities of the US Southeast's charging infrastructure. According to an NPR journalist who accompanied Granholm and her staff on the trip, at one point the caravan of EVs – including a Cadillac Lyriq, a Ford F-150 Lightning, and a Chevrolet Bolt EUV – was planning to stop for a fast-charging session in Grovetown, a suburb of August, Georgia.
However, the secretary's advanced team realized there weren't enough chargers at the station, as one was broken and others were occupied. A staffer then tried parking a non-electric vehicle by one of the working chargers to reserve a spot for the US Secretary of Energy.
This did not go down well with EV users who were also trying to charge their cars there. Actually, a family that was blocked from charging their EV – which had a baby in it on a very hot day – was so upset by the display of governmental "ICEing" that they called the police.
However, since it's not illegal for a non-EV to claim a charging spot in the state of Georgia, the sheriff's office couldn't do anything about it.
Of course, Energy Department staff rushed to fix the situation, freeing up chargers for both the frustrated family and the secretary by sending other vehicles to slower chargers.
As the NPR piece points out, EVs that aren't Teslas have a road trip problem, and the White House is aware that it's urgent to solve this issue.
While Tesla is opening up its Supercharger network to more vehicles from other brands, it will take some time until automakers implement Tesla's NACS charging port on their vehicles.
"Ultimately, we want to make it super-easy for people to travel long distances," Granholm told NPR, adding that long-distance travel in non-Tesla EVs is not always "super-easy" today. Still, that doesn't mean ICEing is a solution, don't you think?