There's a Mitsubishi car showroom near my office, and they've recently put a charger for electric cars outside in front, where they usually put a couple of display vehicles.
I'm not really sure if the charger--which looks a lot like a gas station pump, if you haven't seen one yet--is actually functional or just for display. I'm told that a "quick" charge takes about 30 minutes, though, and since that's longer than most motorists would consider spending in a gas station unless they're waiting for a wash and wax job, I rather doubt that it's intended for regular retail use. Maybe they use it to charge their electric car display models.
It got me thinking, though, about what happens if you're driving an electric vehicle and you happen to run out of power when you're not anywhere near a charger. I've known several people who ran out of gas out in the country somewhere, up in the mountains miles from a town, say, and had to walk or hitchhike to a gas stand to get a can of gasoline to take back and put in the car so they could drive to the station and get the car filled, or else had to call AAA in the States or JAF here in Japan, to get a road service guy to come bring some gas.
I don't see how it could possibly be that simple if your electric car loses the last of its charge in some remote spot. Do you have to push the vehicle to the nearest charging station? Since I have yet to see any charging stations other than the one in front of that showroom, that doesn't seem very practical.
Home Truths column for August
2 weeks ago