The onset of electric cars brought with them a phenomenon called range anxiety – the bubbling stress from that nagging doubt that your EV won’t be able to make it to your chosen destination on its current charge level.
The first crop of all-electric cars had short ranges; owning one was enough for your GP to put you on repeat prescription for beta-blockers to tackle the stress levels every time you got behind the wheel.
That “will I make it home?” question permanently lurking in the back of your mind is pretty much how Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins must have felt on the way back from the moon in ’69.
However, with cars like the Tesla Model S that we’ve recently had in on test, range anxiety is now no longer the dominating factor.
At around 300 miles to the charge, practicality isn’t too bad – no, the new thing is charge rage. And I’ve just experienced it for the very first time.
Trying to park the Model S at an electric car charging point in Harpenden is hard – there’s only one such facility in the whole town.
So imagine my, displeasure, shall we say, when I turned up to the car park and found a Peugeot 107 and a VW Touareg in the bays next to the plug-in point.
Now I’m not an angry person and it wasn’t even my own car, so why should I care if the vehicle was getting picked up the same day? But this is what it must be like to own an electric car – a real-life taster of the drawbacks.
Combined with a touch of range anxiety as the Tesla’s display was showing less than 50 miles, I felt a fizzy feeling of frustration erupt inside me. But I just couldn’t be angry at the drivers of said vehicles.
The car park in question has no signage or any markings on or in the bays themselves to denote they are for EVs only.
I rang the charge point company to see what they could do: nothing.
I rang the local council who operate the car park: nothing.
The outcome was I had to get back in the Tesla and park it somewhere else. Which was actually the best solution to the problem.
You see, getting back inside the serene little pod of calm that is the Model S’s cabin means your rage just flows away. It really is that refined.
It’s going to take a big shift in the knowledge of regular drivers driving regular vehicles to stop them blocking charge bays. Maybe we need a blue badge system similar to that employed for disabled spots – how about a green badge? What do you reckon?