Published on February 25th, 2013 | by Ronald Brakels10
Electric Vehicle Charging Through Online Social Networking
February 25th, 2013 by Ronald Brakels
I recently read about how New York is installing thousands of electric vehicle charging stations. Hopefully this will encourage the use of electric cars, as I think they’re an excellent way for the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And of course they can also be used to reduce emissions here in Australia, with the possible exception of Melbourne, on account of how its coal power truly blows. (It blows carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in vast quantities.)
Unfortunately, I cannot buy an all electric vehicle at this time. And I mean that quite literally. There are none available for normal purchase in Australia. While it is technically possible for an Australian to get their hands on a Nissan Leaf, last time I checked the price was twice as high as in the US. Also, they’re not adapted to Australian conditions, which means they can’t actually be plugged into an Australian power socket. This is rather a large drawback, especially given the lack of dedicated electric vehicle charging stations here.
But I’m sure all this will change. Once Europeans start buying more electric cars, it will result in them becoming available in Australia also, as we have compatible electrical standards. Waiting for Europeans to drive down prices worked for solar power and it can work for electric cars, too. Go, Europe, go! Buy those electric cars and give us Australians a free ride!
Europe and Australia have a big advantage over the the US and Japan when it comes to electric cars. This is because our heftier electrical standards mean that a normal everyday power socket can charge an electric car twice as fast as in Japmerica. This means we won’t need special charging points installed in our garages. An everyday Australian power point can charge pretty much any electric car overnight, unless it’s a Tesla sports car, and if you can afford one of them, I think you can probably afford to install a special charger.
And while we don’t have many dedicated electric vehicle charging stations at the moment, this shouldn’t be a barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles on account of how a national electric vehicle charging system is already installed and operating. It is located throughout Australia and consists of letting anyone who is caught short charge their car at my place. And not just my place, but other people’s places too. Australians are, for the most part, a friendly bunch, and there are plenty of us who wouldn’t mind letting a stranger use a power point for a while if they needed to. In fact, I might even go as far as to say there probably wouldn’t be a populated area in Australia where you couldn’t find someone willing to bend over backwards to let you plug into their socket if you needed a charge. It’s just that kind of place.
Now, admittedly, Australians aren’t quite as friendly as we like to think we are. In my opinion, our educational system has resulted in a little too much British stiffness being forced onto many of us. In fact, by my calculations, with certain important exceptions, the English-speaking world reached peak friendliness in New Zealand in the 1960s. Australia doesn’t do nearly as well in comparison, but at least we beat South Africa. Like we do at cricket. The important thing is, we like to think we’re friendly. And so I’m sure many people would be willing to sign up for a scheme to help out electric vehicle drivers in need, even if a certain portion of us are only doing it to keep up national appearances.
Personally, I know I am motivated to help others both because of my own kind and generous nature, and because of my strong desire to beat the living tar out of New Zealanders on measures of national kindness and friendliness.
All we really need in order to get our national, friendly, electric vehicle charging service under way is a website. And I’ll leave that up to somebody who understands online social networking (which is not my area of expertise). I have to admit, I really don’t understand facebook. I don’t get it at all. It’s supposed to be worth about $100 billion, but I checked it out and there were only about eight people on it. And by some weird chance, I happened to know all of them.
What we do need is a site where we can enter our location, the times we’re likely to be available, whether or not we feel the need to be paid for electricity, and so on. We also need a box we can tick if we’re not into making small talk. I don’t do conversation. You see, I used to have a job where I was paid $20 an hour just to talk to people. Ever since then, whenever I talk to someone and don’t get money at the end, I feel let down. (I have to admit, this has made dating rather awkward.) I know that $20 Australian sounds like a lot of money, as it is currently about a bajillion US dollars (1 bajillion = 20.8) but back then it was only about $2.50 US and could only buy like one sheep.
And of course we need to be able to give feedback on the people who use the system to charge their cars. This way we can weed out the few bad eggs who might try to exploit the system to get their cars charged for free instead of just using it for emergencies, or who use it to try to meet women, men, or sheep. And to also weed out that optimistic individual who might use it to try to meet a transwomanmansheep.
Oh dear, I’ve just realized something. Throughout this whole article I’ve been going on about how eager I am to use my sockets to help people in need, and I’ve just remembered there’s no power point in my garage. And worse, I don’t even have an extension cord. Well, there is one in the kitchen, but it’s nailed to the wall. (And I have to say, I am quite wary of touching those nails.) I guess the website would need to let us enter special conditions, such as, “I’m willing to give you a charge, but you’ll need a long extension.”
Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.