Advertisement

Chevy Volt Charging Cord Cut: Angry Neighbor, Electric-Car Hater?

Follow John

Vandalized charging cord from 2013 Chevrolet Volt, Venice, Florida [photo: M Cummings / J Brown]

Vandalized charging cord from 2013 Chevrolet Volt, Venice, Florida [photo: M Cummings / J Brown]

Enlarge Photo

Owning a plug-in electric car, as buyers learn, is a process of educating the public at large.

Mostly, people are curious when they see a car plugged in to recharge. But occasionally, uglier emotions come into play.

Vandalized charging cord from 2013 Chevrolet Volt, Venice, Florida [photo: M Cummings / J Brown]

Vandalized charging cord from 2013 Chevrolet Volt, Venice, Florida [photo: M Cummings / J Brown]

Enlarge Photo

That's apparently what happened to Matthew Cummings and Jennifer Brown.

The couple live in a high-rise condominium apartment in a gated community in Venice, Florida. They have spoken in front of its City Council on local policy issues around public electric-car charging stations and associated usage fees.

$25 of power in 3 months

When they purchased their 2013 Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car, the couple asked their property manager to ensure that using a 120-Volt outlet in the garage to charge the Volt wasn't prohibited by the Home Owners' Association.

Their parking stall was at the end of a row, with walls on two sides and the cord between the car and one wall, largely out of sight.

They generally set their Volt to charge only at night, they say--usually from 11 pm to 6 am--to be "respectful of our neighbors" and use electricity only when demand was lowest.

Over the three months the couple had charged their Volt from that outlet, an Onstar report shows them having used a total of 217 kilowatt-hours of electricity.

At Florida Power & Light's regional average rate of $0.116/kWh, the couple used just over $25 of electricity during those three months.

Vandalized charging cord from 2013 Chevrolet Volt, Venice, Florida [photo: M Cummings / J Brown]

Vandalized charging cord from 2013 Chevrolet Volt, Venice, Florida [photo: M Cummings / J Brown]

Enlarge Photo

Onstar alert from Volt

At 8 pm on Monday, February 3, their Volt activated its alarm and alerted the couple via mobile-phone app that its charging connection had been interrupted.

When Cummings investigated, he found that the cable of the charging cord had been severed--rendering it useless, and requiring the couple to buy a replacement at a list price of $450.

The hinge of the charging port door was also bent, they say, meaning the door no longer fits flush to the fender.

The couple first complained to the president of the Home Owners Association, George Kellum. They say he "interrogated and placed the blame on us"--and ultimately slammed his door on them.

'Sending a message'?

Cummings and Brown then called local police and filed a vandalism and damage complaint. The officer interviewed the HOA president, but the couple are not optimistic that the vandal will be brought to justice--though they believe they know who the vandal is.

MORE: Landlords Vs Tenants With Electric Cars: Study Proposes Solutions

"When Onstar alerted us," Cummings told Green Car Reports, "we heard the elevator to our building engaging, meaning someone from our building was the culprit."

Vandalized charging cord from 2013 Chevrolet Volt, Venice, Florida [photo: M Cummings / J Brown]

Vandalized charging cord from 2013 Chevrolet Volt, Venice, Florida [photo: M Cummings / J Brown]

Enlarge Photo

"We would have seen anyone else in the area running by," he added, noting that a common thief would have stolen the cord and sold it for the copper value rather than leaving the vandalized unit in place.

"Cutting the cord seemed to be a culprit 'sending a message,' rather than outright hooliganism," Cummings concluded.

"The vandal would have had to know that our car would be plugged in (we don't charge every night), and would have had to come prepared with a suitable tool to cut through the cord."

Green Car Reports attempted to contact HOA president Kellum for comment. At the time this story was published, we had not been able to speak with him directly.

Sympathetic dealer

Ultimately, the couple paid $363 for a new charging cord, when their local Chevrolet dealer agreed to sell them the replacement unit at his cost.

MORE: Electric Cars' Secret Advantage: They're Just Nicer To Drive

Asked why they wanted to publicize their story, Cummings said, "We hope our negative experience can be shared so we may educate local communities about electric cars and their long-term benefits to our neighborhoods."

Are you aware of any vandalism or damage to electric cars in your area? What's your take on the couple's experience? What would you advise them to do?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.

_______________________________________________

Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find Green Cars

Go!

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.