Have you seen an electric car on the road? You may have and not even realized it—the telltale sign is subtle: the lack of an exhaust pipe. Electric cars will become increasingly common as auto manufacturers explore alternative fuels. But as with any new technology, there will be growing pains as consumers adopt electric cars. One such challenge is the absence of infrastructure and an established process for refueling.
New automotive technologies face a catch-22 that slows mass adoption. For an alternative energy-powered vehicle to be accepted on a large scale, there must first exist a network of charging stations. But before that network is created, businesses want to know that the new technology will be widely adopted. This chicken and egg scenario makes the integration of new technology a slow and bumpy process.
Where to charge?
Manufacturers of electric cars believe they have a solution to the infrastructure problem. Since electricity is available at home, electric car owners can charge their vehicles in the driveway overnight. This is an adequate solution for homeowners, but what if you live in an apartment or condo? A Canadian man was recently prohibited from charging his electric car at the condominium complex where he lived, even after he agreed to pay for the electricity. Difficulties such as this are unfortunate, but will likely be common until electric cars are more widely accepted and standards for charging stations are established.
The future of electric cars
If electric cars eventually replace gasoline vehicles, charging stations will become much more common. Some cities have preemptively installed a network of charging stations, hoping to promote the use of the new technology. These charging stations, along with other alternative fuel stations, can currently be found on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Alternative Fueling Station Locator. The DOE will eventually be partnering with Google to display charging stations on Google Maps.
Another question that arises with a new automotive technology is how automotive insurance will be affected. Since electric cars function almost identically to gasoline vehicles, few changes in insurance policy should be expected. But as with any vehicle, it will be important to protect your investment with partial or full coverage auto insurance.
As a demand for the Electric Vehicle increases, so will the availability of a charging infrastructure. This should also help drive auto manufacturers to invest more in the development and refinement of the electric vehicle which will hopefully drive prices down to where everyone can afford to drive carbon free!
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