How To Get A Million Hits On A Facebook EV Post!

Newly retired from his job as an IT architect, Paul and his wife decided to live the dream and bought a blue Tesla Model 3 LR three months ago. They decided to test it out and check out the various charging options on a recent road trip to Port Macquarie (NSW) from Brisbane (Queensland). Paul published some photos with commentary on a Tesla owners Facebook page and was amazed at the reaction. The post reached more than a million people and generated 415 likes, 315 laughs, and 245 comments.

A million hits

Almost a million Facebook hits. Screenshot courtesy of Nathan Merritt.

It took him a while to realise that many of the smiley faces were laughing at him not with him. The Tesla Owners Australia Facebook group is public and someone had shared his enthusiastic post about charging overnight at the motel with several dirt bike and 4WD enthusiast pages. Some responses went beyond smiley faces and were downright rude, and some even hateful.

He shared his story over coffee at our monthly “Coffee, Cake and EVs” morning in Brisbane. “Here are links to the posts that infuriated the ICE drivers. At first, I thought all the ‘laugh’ responses were Tesla owners who thought the post was funny, but soon realised they were ICE drivers who had misunderstood what it’s like to keep an EV charged. They assumed that if you can’t fill up at a servo in five minutes, then it’s a bad technology.

This was the one that got shared to dirt bike/4WD groups.

“Some people joined the Tesla group and then read/responded/commented on this and this.

“Thankfully, Nathan and the moderators stopped most of the hate messages being published but some got through that were disguised as normal messages.”

Paul feels sorry for the moderators and the workload they had to carry. There were as many likes as laughy faces — interesting how the two groups read the same information and yet had opposite reactions. EV owners liked the fact that you could charge overnight, petrol car owners laughed at the absurd idea.

Ironically, at Tyndale in Northern NSW, only one diesel bowser was available. So, the utes and fourbys were lined up for much longer than 5 minutes. Paul describes this as a conga line of utes. Charging at Stanthorpe, he had just got his breakfast toastie and the car informed him it was full and had to be moved. That’s quick.

A Million Hits

Watching the utes queue for diesel. Photo by Paul Donohue.

“The ute parked on the side had been in line but he parked and went into the shop to get a drink. The ute second in line was desperately trying to get out of the sun because it was very hot.”

Paul wanted to try different types of charging. As he had a Model 3 Long Range, he really didn’t need to charge very often, but did so, as available, to understand the process. “We were the first people to use the new EV chargers at Glenn Innes Motel, 12 Church Street, Glen Innes, NSW.

“The cables still had the twist ties on them. The owners have installed seven Marvin untethered chargers from Evolution Australia. 7 kW/32 amp, 3 phase. The units have a type 2 socket and the motel has a selection of cables to suit most vehicles.

“We arrived with 50% in our Tesla Model 3 long range and the car told us the charge would be at 100% in five hours. The motel is clean, comfortable and quiet. They charge a $15 flat fee for an overnight charge. The chargers are attached to rooms with different price ranges to suit all budgets. A good overnight stop on the New England Highway. Great to see the motel owners supporting EVs like this.”

The owners of the motel watched as their chargers were used for the first time. They are on PlugShare, so you can find them easily if you are travelling down the New England Highway. They have a selection of cables for those who do not carry their own. Paul delighted in showing his Tesla to them. They have certainly gone out of their way to make EV owners welcome. Just like we experienced on our visit to Ravensbourne.

There is a free NRMA charger in Glenn Innes, but Paul wanted to support the owners of the motel to encourage the businesses that get involved. The hotel chargers are fed by solar from the roof, so charging is a relatively carbon-free experience. Paul and his wife walked to a local restaurant for dinner, posted the photo and comment — and then it started, the beginning of a million hits.

A million hits

The photo that inspired a million hits. Photo courtesy of Paul Donohue.

The moderator of the Facebook page was alerted by a member who wrote saying that he thought the post had “triggered” a lot of V8 owners, people who ridiculed the fact that an EV had to charge overnight. Not just V8 owners, the post had been shared to 5 Facebook groups. On a positive note, the people who trolled Paul’s post had to make an effort — they had to engage. In order to post a comment, they had to lie to join the group. They were passionate enough to react. Some comments were even written as to be read as positive — but then had a sting in their tail. So, at the least, there was some awareness raising.

“Triggered” is an interesting term. Are we to imagine that those defending ICE vehicles have some sort of PTSD? I expect that they will go through some sort of grief process — you know, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. I am sure people felt that way about their horses. Add to that the fear of change and the FUD that is circulating.

Paul was amazed at the size and intensity of the reaction.

  • “There was a level of hate!”
  • “They don’t seem to get the fact that I had chosen to stay overnight. I didn’t have to!”
  • “They just can’t seem to get their heads around the fact that you can do other things while you charge your car. I didn’t have to stand their holding the cord.”
  • “The 5 minute servo fill-up is a myth!”

In our conversation, we kept coming back to the idea of “like for like.” Just as moving from a horse to a car was not exchanging like for like, so moving from an ICE car to a Tesla is not like for like. A Tesla is far more than a means of transport, just as a smartphone is far more than a historical telephone. You can’t make a direct comparison. “How do I do that thing with an EV? Well, you don’t need to do that thing with an EV.”

“You can’t compare filling a car with petrol with charging an EV. A better analogy is charging your mobile phone.” On a side note, it is worth noting how ubiquitous mobile phone charging access now is compared to 10 years ago.

Paul has had quite the experience, exposing his love for Tesla on the internet. I am encouraging him to come to some EV expos and talk face to face with people who have genuine curiosity, in order to help dispel some of the ignorance. He still has his Subaru XV for driving up forest trails for camping, so he will still stay in contact with fossil fuel world. It will be interesting to see the reactions of these people once electric jutes and trail bikes become more available down under.

So, how do you get a million hits on Facebook? Post about charging overnight!


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