Every day we hear more talk about electric vehicles (EVs). EVs are not only cars, but they are also trucks, bicycles and motorcycles. I am a person who enjoys driving a truck instead of a car. I rarely use the truck for hauling, pulling a trailer or for work. Occasionally, I take a trip across the state or I might travel out of state a few days in a row, but generally I am just a back and forth to work commuter. Rarely do I drive more than 125 miles a day. I generally have no preference on the brand of vehicle I drive, and I am happy as long as it is comfortable to ride in and very reliable. So, what would it take to make me become an EV driver?
With some of the newer car and truck models entering the market, I feel confident in the comfort level EVs provide. I also suspect they are reliable as there are fewer moving parts to fail. From what I have read, it is likely far cheaper to drive each mile than a traditional gasoline powered vehicle. Then there is the fact you don’t have to change oil.
If I owned an EV, my plan would be to charge it primarily at home, and I would intend to have a charger in the garage for convenience. Almost any electrician can do this. Current EV owners have told me technology exists that will allow me to plug in the vehicle, set a timer and charge it at night, or any time I want, especially when electric usage and price is the lowest. They might, in a few years, even be able to power my home when the power is off.
I can see four charging stations from my office at work. I observe the folks that drive and charge EVs every day, and most seem to have little trouble getting vehicle charging accomplished. Occasionally though, a customer seems to have a little trouble and I can tell the process is frustrating. While almost all conventional gas stations are pretty common on use of pumps, I believe that commonality is not quite the same for EV chargers, and there are some differences in the charging process, and at the least, less familiarity.
I can fill up with gasoline, go into the store, go to the bathroom, get a cold drink and be gone in 15 or 20 minutes. I am not sure all EV charging technology is quite as fast, and my observation is it may take a little longer.
Finally, on trips, I am certain I can find a gas station easily, every 10 or 20 miles along the highway. I can’t say I have never run out of gasoline; however it was my fault when I did and not because a station was unavailable. To make me feel comfortable, there would need to be many more EV charging stations than there are today.There are a lot more being built, and soon there may be enough to increase my comfort level.
Today, I can see a time, maybe as quickly as a couple years, that all my worries will be solved, and I do own an EV. Two years ago, I did not know if I ever would. As fast as the world of vehicles is changing, maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.
By Gary Roulet
Board President | Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives