I remember the first time I got a bicycle. It meant being able to travel around the city, going out with friends, being free! I could see my friend with similar joy when he was planning to buy her first scooter. We were exploring various scooter options when the electric variants caught our attention. “Sure, it requires a higher investment, but it can save you a lot while the fuel prices are soaring high”, I told my friend. Thanks to advancements in technology and multiple companies rolling out e-scooters, we have a lot of options coming with higher range, nifty features, and Government subsidies as well. Although we had a burning question to ask the salespeople across showrooms, “How can we charge it while on the road?” and to our surprise, we met with vague responses adding to our confusion.
Realm of charging stations & sockets
Curious, I started digging and found that while many brands are offering e-scooters, there is a glaring gap in charging infrastructure with charging stations being available only at select cities as of now. Even with the fast charging provision, it lacks the convenience of swift refueling at a petrol pump taking few minutes to an hour to charge for a few kilometers of running. Another layer of complexity emerges from the variety of charging pin sockets used by different manufacturers. It means now you got to add variety of adapters to your EDC.
One might think charging at home should be uncomplicated, but it comes with unique challenges that almost seem oddly comical. First & foremost, being lived across various cities, expecting reliable electricity without power cuts and dedicated parking space seems unrealistic. Now imagine living on 3rd floor of a building and arranging a cable & suitable plug in your parking areas, after you get the necessary permission from the Resident’s Welfare Association (RWA).
Situations like someone accidentally unplugging your vehicle while being charged; the cables being tampered by pet/ stray dogs, cats, cows or even humans; etc. might seem far-fetched but they sure do add to the problems.
Be it lacking ecosystem services or absurdly miniscule issue; these problems are surely causing hurdles on the EV landscape. Such hurdles seem daunting, however they are a part of the transition into e-mobility. Financial savings and sustainability are appealing with EVs although navigating the charging maze will take resilience and adaptability from the owners.
I believe coordinated efforts from policymakers, manufacturers, & service providers to provide universal fast charging infrastructure, standardized charging hardware, solutions like battery swapping, contactless charging can help set the EV mobility as a reliable and sustainable mode to drive us into the future!