Ford's plug-in etiquette placard

Conjuring up the always entertaining image of a couple of Bay Area treehuggers going medieval on each other, the debate about whether battery-electric vehicles have priority over plug-in hybrids at publicly accessible charging stations went wide this week. The incident was kicked off when a group of ChargePoint stations in San Francisco were recently commandeered by a fleet of Ford Fusion Energi PHEVs. The incident was relayed via a Reddit post by a rather annoyed BMW ActiveE driver who said that Ford Motor Company reserved the spots for itself, and the incident spurred our friend John Voelcker over at Green Car Reports to use his Twitter account to broaden the discussion over plug-in charging etiquette.

The issue is relevant not only because plug-in vehicle sales are rising rapidly, but also because Ford itself last October went so far as to create a placard for EV drivers to share with their gas-dependent kin. The sheet has a list of charging manners, including requests for charging spots to not be taken up by fuel drinkers, admonitions for charging cords to not be set up where they can trip people, and, of course, battery-electric vehicles getting priority over plug-in hybrids. Whoops.

This isn't the first time there have been public charging disputes. Last June, a Forbes reporter reviewing a Ford Focus Electric (in Berkeley, no less) had the public-charging plug prematurely pulled from his car by a local Coda dealer rep who needed the juice. A social-media brouhaha ensued, of course.

And, last October, Ecotality, which makes Blink EV charging stations, jumped onto the fray, creating a "Blink Courtesy Notice" that plug-in drivers can print up and place on the windshield of conventional vehicles that snag a plug-in parking spot (commonly known as getting ICE'd, a reference to internal combustion cars).

Can't we all just get along?