Nissan Leaf: For Those Concerned About the Environment...and Not Concerned About Stealing?

posted Nov 17, 2010, 9:56 AM by Calan McConkey   [ updated Nov 17, 2010, 10:17 AM ]
Pictured to the left is the Nissan Leaf -- the new automobile that runs exclusively on electricity. Seems like a great idea, especially when you can find a spot in the local parking garage that has an electrical outlet nearby. This situation raises the question of when using something that is provided for free becomes, effectively, stealing.

I have always been of the impression that if something is offered for free then you cannot actually steal it. For example, going to a fast food restaurant and taking multiple condiment packets, napkins, etc., for home use. Or when you go to a trade fair or other similar function and you decide you want an entire box of free pens, instead of the recommended one.

The blog Instapundit recently discussed the above scenario and analogized the situation with the Nissan Leaf as to that of a public water fountain. According to Instapundit, it all deals with the "scope of consent" -- essentially meaning that those providing the service/item are only providing a certain amount for free. In the case of the water fountain, it is free to use if you want a drink, or even if you want to refill your water bottle, but it is likely not within the scope of consent to attach a hose to it and run it across the street to your house for large consumption. I think this analysis is pretty accurate. Carrying this over to the Leaf situation, the electrical outlets are usually provided for charging a phone or a laptop, etc., but not for charging a vehicle drawing kilowatts of electricity.

It will be interesting to see what happens to these "public" outlets as electric cars become more prominent.

Original story: MSNBC; Blog: Instapundit
Comments