A freeway in California, late afternoon rush hour. Most of the traffic is doing 65mph; I’m in a new electric VW eGolf at the end of a long drive and the dashboard tells me I have zero miles of range left. Zero miles. I’m just one week into electric car ownership and already mischievously seeing how far I can push it – and in a few more miles that may be literal.
The car kicks into emergency mode, the ominous glowing tortoise of doom appears on the dash and the car slows to 25mph. I crawl off at the next junction.
Knowing there will be a good chunk of “secret” reserve energy hidden behind that zero, I find a lay-by and look for the nearest Volkswagen dealership. They will have at least a level two charger that will give me enough charge to get home in about half an hour. In an age when time is at a premium, the exchange of time for charge is the biggest cost of electric vehicle ownership.
Then again, my previous charge was at Doran Beach Road, which is, as it sounds, a car park on a beach. I plug in, then have to wait on a golden sandy beach for an hour while my car charges. Like a lesson in learning to appreciate the moment, I can’t go anywhere. There are no shops. There is no food. I must stay on the beach, in the sun, and wait. There’s some satisfaction, then, in that exchange of time for charge.
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