The past few weeks I’ve been writing about automotive industry quickly evolving to mass electrification. The annual Geneva Motor Show confirmed that is indeed where auto manufacturers are heading, and very rapidly. Fairly soon we’ll be seeing electric vehicles all over dealership lots, hoping to find a good home that will hopefully be fitted with an appropriate charger.
And there lies my only contention with electrification: the charging infrastructure, or lack thereof. Lots of automakers are talking up plans for electric vehicles on a massive scale, but none I can see are discussing the other side of the equation. Gasoline-powered cars have gas stations; where’s the convenient equivalent for electric power?
Some will point out “refueling” stations will be obsolete because owners can charge at home; but what if you don’t have a home? My apartment certainly does not have any sort of provisions for charging, and neither does my workplace. You can give me an electric vehicle for free today and I’d have no practical way of using it. Driving to a charging lot to then wait many hours to “fill up” a car seems like a tremendous waste of time.
Owning a home isn’t in my future, not with the historically astronomical homes prices in the San Francisco Bay Area. Basically, I won’t have the ability to charge an electric car at the place I’m living in, and if manufacturers want to sell me one, they – or someone – need to build out a charging network facsimile to the traditional petrol station. Ideally I should be able to visit a charging station, and fill up the batteries in less than 10 minutes.
Automakers are coming in hot on the supply side, but without a proper infrastructure, will the demand side be there? Up until now, most people who have purchased electric vehicles own a home, therefore capable of installing home chargers; that’s certainly the case with owners I know personally. If electrification of the automobile is indeed the future, then those of us not lucky/rich enough to own a home will need a different solution.
Perhaps this massive infusion of capital by automakers into electrification will be one huge waste of money. I don’t think we can yet know.