There are many stumbling blocks for electric vehicles. Some are well known, such as the supposed lack of range that will leave one stranded on the side of the road when the battery runs out. It is not an unfounded concern considering that you...
There are many stumbling blocks for electric vehicles. Some are well known, such as the supposed lack of range that will leave one stranded on the side of the road when the battery runs out. It is not an unfounded concern considering that you are not likely to find a proper power outlet for the EV at your local grocery store or 711. The blunt reality is if people don’t believe there is going to be someplace to plug their vehicles in when they go out to the mall, for example, they are not likely to invest in an EV no matter how much the vehicles drops in price or the battery technology improves.
Some have clued into this problem. The first is Ford of Canada. It announced plans to make it easier for buyers of its plug-in vehicles to charge their batteries by making its 240-volt chargers available through Best Buy electronic stores. An added incentive is the installation of these chargers will be overseen by the store’s in-house Geek Squad team; or if you don’t want to go that route, you can hire your own electrician to install a 240V outlet in the garage in which the charger can be plugged into.
The other bit of news is the Vaughan Mills shopping centre outside of Toronto is looking into adding plug-in capability to spots now reserved for drivers of vehicles in car-sharing groups such as Zipcar.
These are important steps in establishing the viability of the EV concept and can be points for others to build on.
A more important step may be for the vehicle companies to rethink the notion of owning the battery. What turns off most people from EV or hybrid technologies is the cost of replacing the battery some years down the road. The depreciation of the vehicle makes replacing the battery more expensive than what value remains of the car. It is a scenario for simply dumping the vehicle when the battery goes. Why not make the battery a lease option for the vehicle? You pay a small monthly fee for the battery and when the battery runs it course, it is replaced by the vehicle manufacturer. The manufacturer can then recycle or refurbish the battery for another use. This leasing system is already being tried in Europe with success and could prove the same here in North America.
There is still a long way to go for EV technology to succeed, but the steps by Ford and mall owners are steps in the right direction. Now if we could only get the media to stop running such crazily biased news stories against EVs and hybrid vehicles as the one Fox News in the United States ran a short while back. It was so inaccurate and blatantly skewed to show all EV and hybrid technologies in a bad light it was rightly ridiculed. Still, it was Fox News, an organization that likely does not know Cicero’s maxim improbi hominis est mendacio fallere (it is the act of a bad man to deceive by falsehood).