End of the Season and High Speed Charging for Everyone

Saturday 3rd October 2015

We are coming to the end of the 2015 Electric Car Event Season. After the quiet-ish summer, we have been to a few events recently, most notably National Drive Electric Week – definitely the biggest of the events. The other recent events have been a couple of Green Fairs and some car shows where we take the Tesla Roadster which fits in just nicely.

Dreary day in Monroe, NJ. Photo: Alexander P. Brown
Dreary day in Monroe NJ Photo: Alexander P. Brown

We still find that people like to see the Electric Cars and ask lots of questions and there is definitely still some educating to do however, I have started to notice that a change is happening. I think that as there are now many more Electric Cars on the road (certainly more than there were 6 years ago, even 6 months ago!) they are not so unique anymore, especially when we hear – ‘Oh, my neighbour has one of those’, as they point at a Nissan LEAF. Which at the end of the day, is one of the things we hoped we’d be hearing. There are definitely events that we attend that we get better exposure. All this has led me to start thinking that we have reached the stage where we need to be more choosy as to which events to attend. We need to be looking at the events that have the greatest impact and reach the most people, particularly those that are not aware of Electric Cars or are not convinced that they could live with one.

One of the best events that we do and ones that are definitely worth organising are the Ride-and-Drive events as these do seem to make the biggest impact. Getting people in the cars to experience them first hand makes such a difference to their opinion of Electric Cars.

One thing that I have noticed most recently, that stands out quite significantly as being asked even more that usual, is the question, ‘What is the battery range?’ closely followed by ‘How long does it take to charge?

It seems that in amongst all the other wonderful aspects of Electric Cars, people are still hung up on these two things and are not able to get past either of these, well not easily anyway. It seems to be the biggest stumbling block to going out and getting an Electric Car. Which is so frustrating to us as, when you actually look at the mileage that you do each day, people are often surprised by how an Electric Car would easily work for them. I think it is just hearing the numbers.

We are still, it seems, stuck with range and charging time as being an issue. People are very interested in Electric Cars and you can see that they would really like to get one but, they are struggling to get past the range and the time it takes to charge, even when fully explained to them, they still seem unsure. Obviously, Tesla’s Models S & X remove the range anxiety and also the charging issue – when using a Supercharger – but, if you cannot afford a Tesla what are you left with? Currently, no other Electric Vehicle matches the S for range or charge time at a Supercharger.

Here on the East Coast we are not as fortunate as our West Coast Electric Vehicle drivers regarding the charging infrastructure, and in particular the DC fast chargers that we so desperately need. They have so many more charging options available to them. Here, we are still struggling and just don’t have that fast charging network that we need to make Electric Vehicles truly viable for the longer journeys that we occasionally take.

But how can we get that infrastructure installed?

Well, here’s a thought, why not make it part of VW’s punishment for passing off dangerous, polluting vehicles as ‘Clean’?

Actually, that was the first thing that my sidekick said when the news broke. After talking to friends during the National Drive Electric Week and sharing the idea, it did seem to take hold with a few articles coming out. I’d like to add my voice to the choir and ask that the EPA seriously consider this as part of the fines that VW are made to pay to restore the harm that was done. After all, what better way to make amends than to make low emission driving easier, more affordable and convenient for those that take the plunge?

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