Living with an electric car

Imagine going to bed at night, your car has an empty tank of gas, and you’ve got to get to work tomorrow. You’re probably dreading queueing to fill up, and paying for fuel, and taking time out of your day to be able to keep moving around before you even get to work.

Or instead, imagine you wake up in the morning to find your car magically has a full tank, and it cost you less than 1/4 of the normal price. It’s ready to go when you are. You get in, your favourite music starts playing and the air conditioning is at a comfortable temperature. It knows you’re heading to work, and that there’s a traffic jam ahead — so without you even asking, it automatically reroutes you around it. You save nearly 30 minutes on this particular morning.

It’s a summer weekend. You’re making a long trip with your partner and kids. Half way along you come across a service station. You need something to eat, use of the facilities, and fuel. You park at the far end of the busy car park and walk across it. You go in, use the toilets, queue up to get your food, and then eat it. Somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes have passed and you’ve not even fuelled up yet. Since it’s the summer there’s a queue again for the pumps, but mercifully not a long one. You queue for 5 minutes, and refuel and pay in 10. An hour has passed, and on your way back home you’re going to do it all over again.

Alternatively, you pull in. There’s a couple of ‘pumps’ reasonably near the entrance. You insert the ‘nozzle’ and walk away, your car starts refuelling by itself. You go in and take the same 30-45 minutes, you get back and your car is again fully fuelled while you were doing other things.

And again, it cost you less than 1/4 the normal price.

You drive 190 miles for a major event a couple of cities over. It’s only 190 miles so you don’t refuel on the way, but your family car has a rough range of 400 miles on your average day, so you’re going to refuel on the way back to leave a little wiggle-room. You didn’t bring the kids this time so you drive the entire way without stopping (although your bladder is beginning to get uncomfortable). Parking is a nightmare, every major car park near the venue is full to overflowing. You park 3 miles away and walk to the venue, stopping at a random McDonalds on the way to relieve your now ready-to-burst bladder.

Or in another world, you pull into the venues car park itself. There’s a handful of bays put aside for people with vehicles like yours. You park, you again insert the ‘nozzle’ into your car and it starts fuelling. Very slowly mind you, but this event is going to take most of the day. You’re at the venue already so you quickly nip into the nearest toilet before you get uncomfortable. You enjoy your event and return to the car to find that it has again been magically refuelled — this time, it didn’t cost you a penny. You quietly grin to yourself as you start your drive home and see all the gas stations nearby quickly fill up with other attendees making their own trips home, and since they’re refuelling now the traffic ahead is clear and you get to skip the queue. You arrive home on time. The tank is nearly empty mind save for 30 miles worth or so, but that’s fine. Just like the other night you’ll wake up to it full again.

This is my life with an electric car. More convenient and more practical. There’s no waiting for charging, not needing to attend your car while it ‘refuels’ leaves you free to do whatever you would be anyway, whether that’s getting something to eat, using the facilities, shopping, working, sleeping — any time you’re not driving is time your car spends charging so when you’re good to go, it is too. If anything, the car is the one waiting for you.

Charging while I shop, by the time I get back it’ll be done.