Quick funny- in the last few days, I’ve had two different Volt drivers ping me to see if I knew where a particular public charger was located. That they were both looking for the same one suggests we need better signage at these locations, but eventually one of them found it. Turns out that it’s part of Coulomb’s ChargePoint network, so even though it was free to use, he was out of luck- even the free chargers require the acquisition of a $10 network card ahead of time. He tried calling the 800-number on the charger normally used by non-subscribers to enable point-of-sale charging, but the operator couldn’t remotely unlock that charger for some reason. (I firmly believe that these sorts of needless barriers will end up causing more harm than good for new EV drivers and the image of the network providers, but that’s a different post.)
I pointed out to both of them that it’s not like they really needed the charge to get back home, since they were driving a Volt. Like clockwork, each came back with the same response: that he was trying to stay in EV mode as much as possible in order to raise his “lifetime mpg” number. It was as much a game to them as everyone who’s competed on range or mpg over the years, but it was also yet one more confirmation of what EV drivers have known for years: once you show people the experience of driving electric for even part of their daily driving, they’ll want to do it more and more.
The funny? Both were GM employees. Welcome to the dark side, boys… ;o)