Like Child’s Play

Jan. 1, 2024
Drivers love their toys and art projects, but watch out for the tantrums

Road rage is so 2023. Experts predict that the “in” rage for 2024 will be “charge rage.”

Trend-setting UK drivers can already be found charge raging at London electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

According to a new study from the office of London’s mayor, the issue stems from insufficient charging points. The study found that installation of new charging points has not been keeping pace with the sale of electric vehicles. At current installation rates, London will have just one charging point for every 15 EVs by 2031.

Of the new charging points that are being installed, many are “standard” or “slow” chargers, taking between six and eight hours to fully charge a vehicle.

As a result, sparks are flying at charging stations as stressed-out drivers stuck in long lines are getting into confrontations with each other, requiring the deployment of police to mediate and manage lines.

Experts recommend the following etiquette to avoid these highly charged situations:

  • An EV charge point is a place to recharge and go, not park for the day.
  • Choose the right plug-in point — don’t use the DC fast-charging station if your vehicle isn’t compatible.
  • Once your vehicle reaches an 80% charge, give up your spot if other drivers are waiting.

Living large

Some men take up relaxing hobbies like golf, woodworking, or gardening when they retire.

Pennsylvania’s Dan Hryhorcoff wanted something more challenging. “When I retired, I decided I kind of wanted to build a car,” he told Popular Science.

The former engineer and machine shop owner didn’t want to merely create a copy of an existing vehicle.

Instead he began making adult-sized fully functional replicas of vintage children’s vehicles.

Hryhorcoff’s first project was a larger-than-life replica of a 1950s Murray General pedal car.

Using a homemade pantograph, he created a 4.5x larger version of the toy vehicle, big enough to seat four adults and accommodate 24-in tires.

Completed in 2015, the road-ready vehicle was built on a rear-drive 1997 Ford Ranger pickup and powered by a stock 3.0-liter Ford V-6 rather than foot pedals.

A few years later during the COVID-19 outbreak, while many of us took up breadmaking or crochet, Hryhorcoff began his own pandemic project: building a street-legal bumper car.

Hryhorcoff first visited the Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, PA, and spent 8 hours meticulously measuring and documenting the design of a 1953 Lusse bumper car that he thought had a “Chevrolet pickup truck sorta look.”

Underneath the blue fiberglass exterior, the bumper car is powered by a Chevrolet Aveo. “I took the front of the Aveo, and chopped it off, and put that in the back of the bumper car,” he explained. “And the front of the bumper car is a motorcycle wheel.”

Hryhorcoff’s colossus creation measures 13 feet long, 7 feet wide, and 5.5 feet tall — double the size of the original.

It even has a pole in the back to mimic the way actual bumper cars get their electricity. 

Not fooling anyone

Some drivers who don’t have a street-legal vehicle, or just want to avoid tolls and speed cameras, will go to great lengths to create fake license plates from a flat sheet of aluminum, paint, and adhesive vinyl letters.

And then there’s the driver in Benicia, CA, who simply used a sheet of printer paper and a black marker.

The comically bad forgery was duct taped onto a silver Kia Rio LX and featured hand-drawn plate numbers and registration sticker.

Instead of drawing the license plate characters at a uniform size and spacing, the artist drew large letters on the left side of the plate, and progressively smaller letters on the right to ensure they would all fit.

Best of all, the artist got confused on their dates, drawing "JAN 2023" on the fake registration sticker.
 
After an officer spotted the fake plate in November, they looked up the vehicle, discovered that it was reported stolen, and arrested the driver.

Now in jail, the artist’s passion for making license plates can finally be put to good use. RB

About the Author

David Matthews

David Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news for his Roads Report column since 2000. The stories are all true.

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