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Electric Vehicle Drivers Just Want to Have Fun (but can we?)

May 3, 2013


With a road trip around the corner, I have been thinking alot about how to pass the time at charging stations. We will be facing 2-3 hours of charging at least twice a day as we take on this crazy adventure. So how do we still enjoy our getaway without being stuck passing the time sitting around updating our Facebook statuses?  It’s one thing to be working while at a charging station. That is easy. As a social media editor, I can do it anywhere.

But on this trip, I want to  have fun. And, as much as I like spending time with my husband, I suspect that spending six hours of the day sitting around waiting for a car to charge could challenge any couple even on their best day.

Luckily, people smarter than myself are thinking about these things. Check out these projects which came out of last weekend’s BMW Sustainability Hackathon held in Mountain View, CA, home of Google. I am intrigued by this one:

“Charging is sometimes annoying 🙂 but EV driving is extraordinary! Why you should not use this time to meet with some Facebook friends when you are charging or visit nice places around your charger,” the hackers explain in their description of the idea.”

Visiting the local sights sounds like a great idea, but unless we are lucky enough to happen upon a charger located in a scenic hiking spot, or near a museum, we will be stuck calling a taxi or hoofing it if we want to go anywhere beyond a parking space. Maybe we can hitch a ride with the local EV drivers.:)  I like to imagine the day when there is such a critical mass of  EV drivers that Food Trucks will vie for spots around clusters of charging stations, and shuttle buses will offer waiting drivers cheap transportation to local cafes and tourist spots.

That’s why this hackathon idea is so cool, or at least a step in right direction. As writer Brad Berman reported in this story ” A team of BMW interns devised a mash-up of Google maps, charging locations and Yelp-like sites so that EV drivers avoid wasting time when charging. Choosing the best charging location utilizes information about restaurants, shopping and movies within walking distance of the charger.”

Bring it on hackers. And, while you are at it, if I give you a list of charging stations, will you send the shuttle from the nearest winery to come pick us up.  After all, my husband is driving!

Several other intriguing ideas were explored at the Hackathon. Thanks to the San Francisco BayLEAFS Facebook Group for first posting the news of the Hackathon. Chargepoint and Drive Now were also sponsors.  The hashtag is #sustainhack.

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