You may remember a time when the Toyota Prius was the ultimate virtue-signaling machine, and owners of such hybrid vehicles were characterized by a shared passion for the environment. (If you don’t remember, there is no need to run to the doctor questioning your memory. It lasted about a minute and was eminently forgettable.)
Then came along the greatest of all vehicular paradoxes: the entirely electric Tesla. While Prius drivers think of themselves as gentle and are happy to live life in the slow lane, Tesla attracts a more assertive type of motorist. Because their car emits zero emissions regardless of speed, Tesla drivers reckon they may as well spend all their driving moments going as fast as they can. Set the scene for the battle of the eco-warriors.
One morning in early April 2018, John Doe III found himself forced to remain at 73 mph by a Toyota Prius in the fast lane of the 101, traveling from San Jose to San Francisco. This infuriatingly low speed led him to be 7 minutes late for a make-or-break meeting in the heart of the city, thus losing a million-dollar deal. Enraged by the lost opportunity, he proceeded to prepare a class-action suit against the Prius Owners’ Association, demanding they honor their commitment to a slower-paced life and remain where they belong: in the middle of the road.
When interviewed in court, Doe admitted that although he had not prepared for the meeting and could not answer any of the VC’s questions, he felt the real reason he could not close the deal was the tardiness that had been imposed by the Prius in front of him. When asked why he had not simply moved to another lane, Doe’s eyes widened at the thought: “I drive a Tesla,” he said, “Not some two-wheeler from the Midwest.”
Although this statement did not endear Doe to friends from Wisconsin, many other Tesla owners sympathized with him and came forward with their own tales of distress: how they had been “humiliated” and, in the words of Michael C. Jones from Mountain View, “emasculated” by Prius drivers refusing to move out of the way when followed by a Tesla, the vehicular version of Greta Thunberg.
Prius owner Taylor Tyler from Santa Cruz, CA, stated: “They think they are better than us, and they are. That’s the really frustrating part. Driving a hybrid is like recycling plastic bottles – it makes you feel good but actually, it won’t make any difference, really.”
Nevertheless, the judge presiding over the case felt Doe’s argument was “frivolous,” and threw it out. Doe is now suing the San Francisco Civil Division for referring to him as “frivolous.”