Nissan Leaf owner arrested for taking 5 cents of energy without asking
Electric vehicles no longer count as spaceships of the road; last month alone, U.S. automakers sold about 10,000 vehicles with a plug, and a few like the Nissan Leaf have become commonplace. Unfortunately for those owners, the methods of charging such cars hasn't kept pace with their growth; there's only about 6,800 public charging stations nationwide, and it's not uncommon for an EV owner to have to ask for some spare juice.I suspect - and this is pure conjecture on my part here - that the issue wasn't so much that the person in question plugged his car in without asking, but how he responded to the police officer. There's a world of difference between the response to "Hey, pal, what's the deal here?" being "I'm just charging my car, officer, is there a problem?" versus "Don't you have robbers and murderers to catch?"
But what happens if there's no one to ask? That's the trouble facing a Georgia man who was arrested and spent a night in jail — all for taking electricity worth about a nickel.
I have a very hard time believing that someone being cordial and polite would have police come to his door later on to arrest him for stealing electricity. Could it happen? Almost certainly. I just have a sneaking suspicion that the person in question's attitude was not sufficiently docile for the responding officer. Should this be the cause for an arrest versus a "knock it off"? That's a tough call.
In the most technical of senses, the man was stealing something. Would it make a difference if, rather than a middle school, he was parked outside a stranger's house charging his car off the stranger's outdoor electrical outlet? It's the same thing as someone with a pool running a hose to the neighbor's house to fill it so that they don't have to pay the water bill overages, really.
But it is worrisome that it was a public place. Assuming that this man lived in the town (since his kids were theoretically going to the school), there's a bit of a case to be made that since this was a public school, and his taxes go to fund the school, that he's got some claim to taking the electricity. I certainly wouldn't want to be the DA who had to prosecute someone for using electricity from a public building.
It will be interesting to see how this shakes out, certainly...
That is all.