Woman has to return electric car. It dies before she can drop it off

@watchzoedothings/TikTok Sopotnicki/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘Did I accidentally steal a car that I hate?’: Woman has to return electric car. It dies before she can drop it off

'It sounds like you got a free car.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Feb 23, 2024   Updated on Feb 23, 2024, 1:44 pm CST

Millions of Americans are switching to electric vehicles as their daily drivers, but TikToker Zoe Grant (@watchzoedothings) probably won’t be one of them.

She says after participating in a study that had her use an EV as her primary vehicle for eight weeks, she found herself in a bind on the day she was supposed to bring the vehicle back. Despite the car having a “great sound system,” she explains how it just didn’t fit her lifestyle.

However, on the way to return it some 100 miles away, she says it didn’t have enough charge to make the entirety of the journey even after charging it for three full days at her house.

Grant says she was left stranded on the side of the road and when she called someone at the study, they didn’t seem to be much help.

“The car can only make it like 50 miles, maybe 75, cannot get it there,” she recalls. “I call the institution, I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m really sorry. I cannot get the car there it’s not working out, what do I do?'”

Grant says they didn’t really remember who she was and refused to tow it.

“I’m not really sure what to do,” she says before the video transitions to her charging a black Ford Mustang Mach E electric vehicle at a truck stop.

According to EV Box, the Ford Mustang Mach E is capable of Level 3 “fast charging” and the outlet broke down what that means in real-world scenarios: “Using a DC fast charging station, the Ford Mustang Mach-E can support a maximum power output of 107 kW, meaning it would take around 34 minutes to charge the 70 kWh Mach-E and 41 minutes to charge the 91 kWh Mach-E from 10 to 80 percent.


Did I accidentally steal a car that I hate?

♬ original sound – Zoe Grant

Grant’s reference to charging the car for three days at home probably refers to her using a regular, 12-volt charger on her vehicle, which provides a negligible amount of juice depending on the charging capabilities of the vehicle, and how much power it draws simply by being idle.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Grant via TikTok comment to gather further details about the institute’s initiative. In one follow-up clip, she recorded from the inside of the vehicle, addressing concerned followers who wanted an update on her situation.

She details a pretty miserable experience: she’s stuck in a cold car as she doesn’t know how to operate the climate control while it’s charging while having with the vehicle’s charging port.


A brief part 2

♬ original sound – Zoe Grant

She says that the charging cable at the rest stop is stuck inside the vehicle’s port and she doesn’t know how to get it out.

“Whoever says that this is as easy as getting gas has never had to do it and has never been stuck with a car like this,” she says. “Because I cannot imagine owning this car. It’s $100,000 that I would never ever own it.”

She then uploaded a third video to address some of the questions and accusations from other viewers. Apparently, some folks accused her of being a “paid agent” against the electric vehicle industry, which she called insane and averred that she wasn’t. Grant also clarified that despite her “temper tantrum” in the rest stop parking lot, she got the car working and back on the road to bring it to her home, not the research facility.

As it turns out, she says something was “defective” with the particular vehicle she was given, but neither she nor anyone in the study can pinpoint what it is exactly.

She also clarified how the study organizers intended to get the car brought back to them and the entire process seemed a bit strange: She had to leave the vehicle at a “rest stop” somewhere, and then FedEx the keys to someone else who would then presumably pick the keys.

While many online resources glowingly discuss the advancements made in electric car technology, anyone who’s actually owned an EV can tell you that they’ve been left worrying about whether they were going to make it to their destination.

While electric car charging networks and the advent of supercharging have increased the number of offerings for drivers, things don’t always go as planned when you’re road-tripping with an EV.

Sure, your car’s internal navigation system, a maps application, or online resource might tell you that there’s a charging station nearby, but sometimes the chargers don’t work or are filled with long lines of folks waiting to charge their own EVs.

Then there’s the unreliability of range estimates when it comes to electric vehicle charging—cold weather can account for a marked dip in the longevity of a car battery, leaving drivers with a lot less range than they thought they had after the sun goes down.

In fact, the popular electric car brand Tesla has been accused of manipulating its range estimates for its vehicles, with many outlets stating that the EV brand routinely overstates the maximum range its cars are capable of delivering.

The Daily Dot has also reached out to Ford for further comment on its Mach E EV.

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*First Published: Feb 23, 2024, 3:00 pm CST