What It's All About Blog by Tony Forder
What the hell is going on? Every day it seems, there are more signs that the fabric of society is shredding. You know when for example a sweater begins to fray, at first one strand, then another, then more, quicker and quicker. It's not just the nonstop barrage of shootings, polarized politics and rising prices, it's the little things too.
The other day I went to my bank. It was closed. No explanations, no notifications. Just said closed until further notice. WTF!!
Couple of days later I was in a ShopRite supermarket at the fish counter at 5pm. The worker said, sorry, I'm closing. Huh, the store's open until midnight. Yeah, but I have to leave...and my manager already left. After much pleading I was able to get my catfish, but even so, workers just leave whenever they want to?
So, while things might seem to be unraveling strand by strand here in the US, I got to thinking about other countries. The truth is that we are a privileged population in the western world and have grown accustomed to a really high level of convenience, and when things become slightly inconvenient, we get irritated and it seems that lately people are becoming irritated more easily. Of course, everyone suffered a huge inconvenience recently living with the Covid-19 pandemic, and one of the results may well be that everyone just has a shorter fuse. And don't get me started on driving. What was previously at least a certain level of tolerance of other drivers seems to have devolved into blatant disregard.
All I'm saying is that certain things may continue to get more inconvenient: climate change issues, supply chain shortages, rising prices – the cycle we're in. I'm curious what kind of peeves you have in this particular paradigm? Me - I'm sticking to my mantra Don't Hurry, Don't Worry while trying to be thankful for taken-for-granted conveniences. And ain't that What It's All About.
My wife has an electric car – a Hyundai Ionic. She's been pretty happy with it...until recently. She mostly uses it locally for work and short trips etc, and keeps the charge topped up at home just using our regular household voltage. But recently, we ventured further afield, which required a search for outdoor chargers. It didn't go well. There's a company called ChargePoint that has installed a lot of EV (Electric Vehicle) chargers in the US, and in 13 other countries. But for the novice EV driver, there seems to be a bit of a learning curve. For one thing the ChargePoint App doesn't seem to distinguish between a Level 2 and a Level 3 charger. Level 3 (480 volts) will get you charged in about an hour. Level 2 (240 volts) takes about 8 hours for a full charge. Level 1 is your home plug-in (120 volts) which takes about 24 hours – something that the salesman neglected to mention when my wife leased the car.
Rest stop on the New York State Thruway. Both EV chargers are out of service.
We were down the NJ Shore, Belmar to be exact. The first charging station we tried, in neighboring Lake Como, was occupied. So, we continued with the day's activities, a half hour drive up to Beach Bee Meadery in Long Branch, figuring we'd find a charge on our travels. The closest one was in a residential complex. We plugged in and went for a walk, even though it was extremely hot. The App reported we were charging at a rate of 10 miles an hour, so we went back to check on the charger. A security guard told us, "Yeah, we've had people plug in and go to the beach for 3 or 4 hours, but they only get like a 20% charge."
The next one we tried in Neptune was at an Indian motorcycle dealership. Unfortunately, there was a semi truck unloading bikes and blocking the charging station. And there was another truck waiting to get in behind it. Not our day! We drove back to our original try in Lake Como with a dwindling battery, plugged in, and walked the mile back to our hotel, minutes ahead of a downpour. We had a nice dinner (recommendation for the Dolce Vita) and returned a few hours later by Uber. The charge had made it back to 50% at a cost of $20.
Well, enough to get home the next day, but since we were booked for a family event 40 miles away, we needed another charge, so we went to the BMW dealer in our hometown. The fast charger wasn't working so we had to plug into the Level 2. After about an hour, the App reported that charging was complete, but the battery indicated only 50%.
We managed with that, notwithstanding a nerve-wracking return trip when we were driving on fumes, or in the case of an EV, sparks.
Electric vehicles may be the cars of the future, but it seems the infrastructure has a quite a ways to go. Charging companies may have installed a lot of chargers, but maintenance appears to be lacking. The exception is Tesla, which has units all over the place, but only for use by Tesla owners. The good news is that Tesla adapters for other EV cars should be available by the end of the year.