Putting Convenient Home EV Charging vs Public EV Charging Into Perspective

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A couple of months ago, I published an article about how well electric cars work as primary cars. On the CleanTechnica repost, reader “AltairIV” made a superb comment and I asked if we could republish it. Luckily, he was happy to see it reach more eyes and enthusiastically replied, “It would be an honor!” Slow and always busy me took ~2 months to get to it, but here it finally is (following the image from BMW, and with a Fastned image added on the bottom):

BMW i3 white and black

It seems that it’s very hard to keep people from overly focusing the negative and de-emphasizing the positive. Lets see if an analogy will help…

Imagine you are offered a job that is comparable to your current one in duties and has about the same pay and benefits, or even a bit better. Also, 95% of the time it will be easier and you will have better working conditions than in your current position. But of course there’s a catch. For the other 5% of the time you will have to work just a bit harder than you do now, under slightly more difficult and stressful conditions.

Would you take the job? I’d say it would be foolish to turn such an offer down, wouldn’t you?

That’s what an EV is like for many people right now. 95% of the time it is perfectly suitable for their daily lives and offers benefits that ICE cars cannot. They go to work, they go to the store, they go home and plug in overnight, and the next day they’re ready to go again. No gas-ups, no oil changes or breakdowns, just quiet, clean rides with few hassles and the satisfaction of knowing that they aren’t spewing noxious emissions everywhere. But maybe about 5% of the time, generally when they need to go on longer trips, they have to put just a bit more effort into it than before. They either have to plan their iteneraries more carefully or rent a gasmobile for the trip. Nothing generally too onerous, really, but just requiring a bit of planning and foresight to manage properly.

So when we consider the overall picture honestly, do the benefits outweigh the hassles? Is having to rent a car to visit granny in Scotland twice a year really such a terrible thing?

Fastned Charging Station

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

Zachary Shahan has 7128 posts and counting. See all posts by Zachary Shahan

15 thoughts on “Putting Convenient Home EV Charging vs Public EV Charging Into Perspective

  • You phrase your last two questions well and forgive me but I will answer it with a question of my own “Can we consider the average person to be rationale?” The answer to both our questions, is no =)

    Knowledge will hopefully come less of an issue once there are more options on the market. I think the options are still very limited and a lot of people I meet, and myself included don’t like it when the look of a car seems to deliberately scream “look at me I’m different, I’m an EV” aka ugly =(

    I would readily pay a premium for my car to look like all the rest, a nice luxury sedan, that’s electric….entry luxury just to clarify, not Tesla prices.

    • Filling out the car options — classes, styles, etc. — is definitely part of the equation.

      As for the questions being realistic or not, I think AltairIV’s goal (and certainly my own) is to help more people look at things in a way where they make more rational decisions.

      • A noble cause, best of luck =). You along with others on this website converted me but I do try and be rationale… Now I just need a good EV option, none of the current offerings meet my wants/needs but the 2nd gen Volt would have been a decent option but it missed my recent purchase window.

          • Circled back here with a recent upvote.

            I might actually be in the Optimist column… I needed that with the week I have had, I am not feeling like an Optimist at the moment, nice to come back around =)

  • Fantastic analogy – I completely agree (for now). Can’t wait until they are 100% better and the great news is…we are right around the corner from that 🙂

  • Like that pic of the ‘fuel station’, solar to EV, what is better for our planet?

  • I beg to differ. With the same reasoning, you could justify a car without wipers (it doesn’t rain that often) no boot (it’s empty or filled with useless stuff 90% of the time), no AWD nor ABS brakes (last time you panic-stopped?)

    When I shell out all that money, I want a hassle-free experience in the widest array of situations: highway driving, soccermomming, offroading, hobbying, working etc. People buy cars for the worst case scenario, not for the average one. If we don’t get this point, we will always be surprised by the market behavior.

    PS guess what, I’m a fan of PHEV…

    • shorter markogts:

      “I’m totally unwilling to change *any* habits or endure *anything* even remotely inconvenient, whatsoever. I keep my eyes firmly shut/have utterly no clue/DGAF about fossil fuel use & anthropogenic global climate change. and hey, future generations: it’s all about me; so you can just all fuck off and die.”

      this is why adults recognize that governments and regulations are necessary.

      • You completely failed the point I was trying to make. Really. Read again and see if you can understand. Because if you call for regulations, then you are exactly making my point, i.e. that the average use of the car has nothing to do with the choice of it and its not the condition where convenience is estimated.

        PS with the budget and needs I have, a single PHEV was way more effective than a BEV + ICEV for reducing my carbon footprint; it’s off topic, but just to clear the ad hominem part of your argument.

  • The Volkswagen UP! in the photo would be a great addition to their U.S. lineup, whether electric- or gas-powered.

  • Great analogy. But I don’t understand the headline. This seems more about EVs versus ICE cars & not about Public Charging versus Home Charging…

    • I think it is a counter to the hype around the inconvenience of public charging (and the entire thing is implicitly in comparison to an ICE car).

  • Trashing a rental car on a long trip is much preferred to rapidly aging one’s own car no matter its range.

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