We’re creatures of habit, it’s literally how our brains are wired, so anything that might push us too far away from our well-trodden routines are usually rejected. So how far away from normal is an electric vehicle (EV)?
Imagine a compass with north being the direction you find the most normal. When you’re navigating life, you want the easiest path you can take to reach normal north. You might be able to tolerate a few degrees either side of your true north because you’re still heading in the right direction but, at a point, you’ll find that you’re not going where you want to.
Say you’ve just gone from owning a petrol car to a diesel vehicle. There are some changes you need to make. You have to remember to refuel with the black hose and not the green one at the petrol station. When you consider the compass metaphor, that’s a tiny degree of change. Your routines are almost identical. It’s north, it’s normal and it’s easy.
Have you ever switched your phone from an iPhone to an Android? Does thinking about this fill you with dread? On one hand, it’s not really deviating from your normal routine because it’s touch screen, you make phone calls, and you go on the internet. On the other hand, everything looks different, you have no idea how to turn it off and all your old cables don’t work anymore. Going back to the compass, do those changes you have to make pull you too far off course from north?
How many degrees of compromise or change on that compass is acceptable? When is it too far from normal? How many degrees from normal is it?
How many degrees from normal is recharging your electric vehicle?
If you’re a petrol or diesel driver and switching to an electric vehicle, then somethings have to change, and some of those changes are a lot of degrees from normal.
The biggest change is that we now fill our cars with kWh electrons and not with litres of fuel. These electrons are delivered through a myriad of different options and fill your tank more slowly than we’re used to with fuel. You’ve got type 1 and type 2 chargers, slow chargers, fast chargers, rapid chargers, and whatever comes next. This change and choice means your deviating from north. If we’re going to make the EV transition happen, we need to understand how many degrees from normal each of these options carry and how many degrees a mainstream customer base is ready to accept.
For example, lots of solutions require a driver to carry a charging cable in their boot – this isn’t normal, no-one carries a petrol hose in their boot. So how many degrees from normal is this and is it too many?
EV “filling stations” charge at different speeds from achingly slow to expensively quick. Working out which to use and when requires considerable mental arithmetic. Is that too many degrees from normal?
For those who can’t park off-street, there are even more options. Some require you to hunt for a suitable lamppost, while others ask the driver to carry a harpoon in their boot to stab the pavement, all a long way off normal but are they by too many degrees?
How many degrees from normal is too much for you?
Early adopters have made the decision that the degrees of change required were worth it. For some, simply the method of refuelling may be enough to unsteady the ship – not driving to a petrol station and filling up when the needle is on empty. For others, this change can be counter-balanced with the convenience of being able to charge at home and waking up every day with a car ready to go. For those who can’t home charge, inconvenience may start to creep in and tip the compass a few too many degrees from the ‘north’ they’re comfortable with. This is where the importance of understanding the degrees of deviation is important. How many degrees from north are we asking people to deviate if they can’t charge when and where they need to? What will they find acceptable and at what point does it all go south?