Bravely They Charge …

As reported in the NY Times Green blog, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu spoke about EVs at the Washington DC Auto Show. First he talked about cost:

… While [the cost of the battery] has declined from about $1,000 per kilowatt-hour of storage in 2008 to about $500 today, it would have to decline to $125 over the next 10 years. … A battery that stores $2 worth of electricity but costs $8,000 to buy and has the same range potential as two or three gallons of gasoline is an odd combination, like buying a solid gold cup and using it to serve tap water.

Then he talked about convenience:

Dr. Chu … announced an effort to have major employers install charging stations at work so that the 40 percent of people who live in apartments or other structures that may lack outdoor outlets could charge up …

On My Husband’s Electric Car, a blog about actually owning an EV, the understanding wife blogs about convenience:

He emailed Google in advance to ask where the best place would be to charge his all-electric Nissan Leaf.  The Googler responded “You are in luck.”  The company had just installed six new ChargePoint chargers in front of the building he was at Googleplex.

But he wasn’t lucky:

He pulled out his brand new ChargePoint card and tapped it on the charger. … An error message appeared: it said “not authorized.”

With time ticking before his meeting, he dialed up the ChargePoint phone number, only to wait and wait.  He gave up,  found another parking space and went to his appointment. Inside, the Googlers were nice about it. They said they thought the stations were open to everyone.

At his next stop:

Parked at the charger was a Chevy Volt … Feeling a little more desperate for a charge because now, there was less margin for error, my husband checked with the receptionist.  The Volt belonged to a lawyer, who apparently, had been told previously to park in the employee lot.  This space was for visitors such as my husband.  Someone would ask him to move. … His secretary reported that the lawyer did not want to move the car.

Being among the few who are brave enough to go all-electric in America, is not always easy. My husband is finding that he has to build extra time into his ever-busy schedule to deal with charging matters.

The tragedy of the common charging station.


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