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Truck owners are blocking Tesla Superchargers in ‘ICE-ing’ protests

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Tesla supercharger blockedA Tesla driver says a group of truck drivers harassed them at a truck stop in North Carolina.Reddit

  • A recent spate of traditional vehicles blocking Tesla Superchargers has some drivers comparing the practice to “rolling coal.”
  • One Tesla owner told Business Insider a group of truck owners harassed them in the parking lot of a Sheetz convenience store in North Carolina. 
  • CEO Elon Musk said recently that the company is working to expand the charger network across the nation.

Tesla drivers are reporting a spate of “ICE-ing” (an acronym from Internal Combustion Engine) by large trucks at Superchargers across the country.

In one instance, Reddit user Leicina said a group of trucks blocked all of the charging spots while changing “F Tesla” before being asked to leave by an employee of the store.

Like most superchargers, the location where the incident occurred — behind a Sheetz convenience store in Hickory, North Carolina, about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte — isn’t on land owned by Tesla. Rather, it’s leased from third-parties, giving the company no control over how the Supercharger spots are used from day to day.

“I was really uncomfortable,” the Tesla owner said, adding that the Sheetz employees were “really understanding and sent someone out immediately.”

A Sheetz spokesperson said the company was aware of the incident, and apologized for any inconvenience.

“Sheetz is proud to offer a wide variety of fueling options, including one of the largest networks of Tesla Superchargers,” Nick Ruffner, the chain’s PR manager, said in an email. “Parking spots with Tesla Superchargers are reserved exclusively for those charging their vehicles. These spots are regularly monitored by our store managers and employees – who routinely ask other motorists to move their vehicles.”

Another Tesla owner in Bristol, Tennessee spotted a Dodge Ram truck blocking a charging spot, with the charging cable mockingly attached to the bed.

Truck ICE Tesla superchargerReddit

Laws about parking in reserved spots vary by state. In Arizona, for instance, its illegal to park in “any parking space specially designated for parking and fueling motor vehicles fueled exclusively by electricity unless the motor vehicle is powered by electricity and has been issued an alternative fuel vehicle special plate.”

The incidents aren’t new — and Tesla owners have complained about them for years online. (To be sure, some may be accidental, but many — like the incident in Hickory, were clearly meant to provoke.) Some even love to shame their gas-guzzling peers when they park in EV charging spots.

A Tesla spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Many people have compared the practice to “rolling coal,” when diesel owners modify their engines to dump excess amount of fuel into the cylinders. It results in more horsepower and torque, but also black plumes of smoke when not all of the fuel can be burned.

In videos posted online, drivers brag about blowing clouds on protestors or an unlucky Prius on the highway.

The practice has been illegal at the federal level for years, and a similar law was adopted by New Jersey in 2015.

Luckily for Tesla owners, the supercharger network is quickly expanding. CEO Elon Musk this week said the company is “dramatically increasing Tesla Superchargers within cities & working with landlords to add home charging to apartment buildings.”

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Canadian tech diversity and inclusion in the spotlight

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Diversity and inclusion are hot-button issues, but for all the attention they get, there’s still work to be done in the tech sector, according to a recent Gartner blog.

Citing a range of challenges that include pay inequity, lack of diversity in corporate management, and difficulty recruiting diverse talent, the blog suggests three possible remedies for organizations trying to become more diverse and inclusive: having a long-term plan but focusing on one aspect that will make the most benefit, setting targets and making leadership accountable, and committing resources.

The call for such strategies finds support in a report from the Brookfield Institute revealing that Canada’s technology sector has a disappointing track record when it comes to inclusion and equity, with women “four times less likely to be employed in the sector than men, and earning on average $7,300 less than men in technology jobs.”

The findings are just as grim in a January 2020 report funded by Canada’s Future Skills Centre. According to this document, despite corporate commitments to diversity, “decades of initiatives designed to advance women in technology have scarcely had an effect: The proportion of women in engineering and computer science in Canada has changed little in 25 years.”

And women are not the only disadvantaged group, says the report. “The under-employment of skilled immigrants and under-representation of women and other groups in the ICT industry suggests that recruitment and retention policies and practices of the very firms complaining about this [skills] gap may be contributing to the problem.”

Until we do a better job of addressing inclusion and diversity, career opportunities will continue to be limited for women, internationally educated professionals, racialized minorities, First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. In addition to being a very human issue, this is also one that perpetuates the ICT skills gap by failing to tap into a supply of well-qualified labour.

On the bright side, there are technology companies and organizations across Canada that are truly determined to create opportunities for those who are under-represented in the digital talent pool. There is also an opportunity to recognize their efforts during Channel Innovation 2021: Adapting to the New Customer Experience, a 2.5-hour, virtual event on April 28, 2021.

A showcase for independent software vendors (ISVs) and Canadian channel innovators, the Channel Innovation 2021 celebration will take place on CIA-TV, a unique ITWC platform that allows the audience to take in the show, download related content and videos, and network in live breakout rooms. There are six award categories, including the C4 Award for Diversity and Inclusion. Nominating is simple. Whether a self- or third-party nomination, there are only two main questions to answer and an opportunity to include a supporting document or image.

Winning entries will be announced during the celebration and profiled in the Channel Daily News Magazine and in Direction Informatique, ITWC’s French-language publication devoted to the Quebec marketplace. They will also receive a digital badge for use on their websites and on social media to help gain industry-wide recognition and end-user exposure.

The media attention and recognition are reason enough to vie for this honour, and we always need things to celebrate during a global pandemic, but the real value in awards for diversity and inclusion is in setting an example for others to follow. The news is full of the ways we are falling down when it comes to equity in the IT sector. Let’s take some time to highlight the success stories and encourage other tech innovators to step up.

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Leading Canadian tech entrepreneur Saadia Muzaffar to give virtual keynote in Peterborough on March 9

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In celebration of International Women’s Day, one of Canada’s leading female tech entrepreneurs will be giving a virtual keynote for residents of Peterborough and the Kawarthas on Tuesday, March 9th at 7 p.m.

The Innovation Cluster is hosting Saadia Muzaffar as part of its ‘Electric City Talks’ series.

Muzaffar is a tech entrepreneur, author, and passionate advocate of responsible innovation, decent work for everyone, and prosperity of immigrant talent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). She is the founder of TechGirls Canada, a hub for Canadian women in STEM, and co-founder of Tech Reset Canada, a group of business people, technologists, and other residents advocating for innovation that is focused on the public good.

In 2017, Muzaffar was featured in Canada 150 Women, a book about 150 of the most influential and groundbreaking women in Canada. Her work has been featured in CNNMoney, BBC World, Fortune Magazine, The Globe and Mail, VICE, CBC, TVO, and Chatelaine.

Muzaffar’s March 9th talk, entitled ‘Redefining Term Sheets: Success, Solidarity, & The Future We Want’, will inspire women to achieve success in all areas of life, including in business by providing strategies for obtaining funding.

“It is impossible to explain how women only get 2.2 per cent of funding for their ventures while we constitute a majority of the population, without acknowledging long-standing structural and systemic bias,” Muzaffar says, describing her talk. “Women know these odds in our bones because we feel them in too many boardrooms, banks, media advertisements, and venture competitions — yet women are the fastest-growing demographic in new businesses.”

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ARK’s Cathie Wood joins board of Canadian tech firm mimik

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ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood is joining the board of Canadian technology company mimik.

Vancouver-based mimik is an edge computing company that effectively turns devices like phones into private cloud servers. It has already teamed up with Amazon Web Services and IBM on edge computing – two of the bigger players in the space.

The AWS partnership gives software developers access to mimik’s cloud platform. Together, edge devices including smart phones, tablets, and Internet of Things (IoT) products can act as extensions of the AWS cloud. With the IBM partnership, mimik’s technology will be included in automation and digital transformation across manufacturing, retail, IoT and healthcare.

All of mimik’s business lines fit in with Wood’s broad ‘next generation internet’ thesis, one of her big five investment themes. The company itself is private and Wood is not an investor. 

However, as Citywire noted in January, Wood has hinted in interviews that ARK is exploring the launch of a private markets strategy. 

Wood joins a relatively high profile board at mimik. Other members include  Allen Salmasi, a pioneer in mobile technology who was previously with Qualcomm, and Ori Sasson, managing director of Primera Capital, who was an investor in VMWare and other technology companies.

‘I’ve always believed in backing founders who are at the forefront of innovation,’ Wood said in a statement on her decision to join mimik. ‘At mimik, [they] have built a foundation for the next generation of cloud computing.’ 

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