Charging into the Future
Sometimes we play a little game. We tell someone we drive an electric car then start to count to see how long before they say, "Yeah, but what about the battery running out?" We never have to wait long.
Sometimes the other person is not quite so sceptical, so they ask, "Yeah, but how long does it take to charge the battery?"
It's a fair point, but to be honest with you, our previous car has ground to a halt because we have run out of diesel before now. More than once.
But the new car has never run out of power, even though we have sailed close to the wind on more than one occasion. Is that because we are older and wiser? Or because we couldn't bear the embarrassment of having to admit it to the sceptics?
In all seriousness, we can reassure you. It's not difficult to plan the charging.
And it is getting easier all the time.
New charging possibilities are needed for city-dwellers who don't always have a driveway on which to install their own charger and those who - quite reasonably - object to more street furniture.
There are a couple of new initiatives that will not only make our lives easier, the very thought of them bring us such joy.
Pop-up chargers. Yes, the world's first public pop-up charger is in Dundee. You activate it via a smartphone app and the charging bollard slowly emerges from the ground. With blue lights! Now, wouldn't that make you feel you had some kind of superpower? And, imagine the thrill when you finish charging, unplug your cable and the charging point retracts automatically into the ground.
Well, we thought that was just the coolest thing, but then we found out about something even more exciting on the horizon. Robot chargers. Can you imagine!
OK, we know the robot won't look quite like this, but Volkswagen currently has a "visionary prototype" that means that the charger goes to the car, rather than the other way round. You may soon be able to park your car in a car park - not having to worry if someone else has parked in the charging bay - and summon the robot via an app or through a connected car system. The little robot trundles along, towing the energy storing device and can then open the charging port in the car and connect the plug. It's a busy little thing so it can then go and charge other vehicles and will return to collect the energy storage device once the charging process is complete.
Oh, please let them come to Dundee soon!
With cinemas and theatres still closed we would take that for our entertainment.
It's not a completely far-fetched fantasy. Dundee is considered to be one of the most "electric cities" in the UK. The city's council has the ambitious goal of converting 20% of all vehicles in Dundee to electric by 2027. Already, by switching to electric vehicles, it has seen council employees travel more than 5.6 million miles on electric, saving an estimated 250,000 tons of CO2.
It's not only council vehicles that have gone electric. In October last year the UK's first intercity electric coach service began running daily between Dundee and Edinburgh.
Electric bin lorries are now a regular sight (but not sound, one of the other benefits of an electric engine is that is it soooo quiet!). It is worth remind ourselves that a bin lorry is a 26-tonne vehicle. Of course, it needs a special charger, but if a monster like that can go about its daily duties on electric, there's no reason to worry about a medium-sized car.
Excuse us for concentrating on Dundee - we know that councils all over Scotland are decarbonising transport and we applaud them all.
Now, bring on the robots.