When electric vehicles first appeared on Irish roads, it was said that if you wanted to drive to Cork, you’d need an extension cord that was as long as your arm. There was a grain of truth in it, as there is in most poor jokes. It was difficult to charge batteries since they were so small, and there was little to no charging infrastructure.
Things have shifted, and they have changed tremendously. There are now reasonably priced electric vehicles on the market that can travel 400 kilometers or even 500 kilometers on a single charge of their batteries. The national charging infrastructure has been developed to accommodate them.
While there are clearly more chargers currently, there are also several more electric cars (EVs) on the highway. The need to wait and line for a charger is indeed a concern for individuals traveling for extended periods on battery-powered transportation. Similarly, while quicker, more efficient chargers are beginning to arrive, they are still fairly rare (especially beyond the greater Dublin region). Those vehicles with larger batteries take more to charge than those with smaller batteries.
Allegra Stratton, a senior spokesperson for environmental issues for the United Kingdom government, surprised many when she stated in an interview that: “Right now, if I owned [an electric vehicle], any of those journeys to my father in south Scotland, my mother in Gloucestershire, my in-laws in Lake District, and my gran in north Wales, they’re all journeys that I think would be at least one kilometer shorter.”
“My children are seven and four years old, and I do not fancy it just yet. Occasionally, while you are driving with a 4-year-old in the car, they will fall asleep, and you will be compelled to keep driving to get to your destination because you know that if they wake up, they will require the bathroom, food, and may even be feeling carsick.”
Although Ms. Stratton’s words drew much criticism, they also had a kernel of truth. This is similar to the awful old jokes about extension cords, which contained a kernel of reality. However, while electric vehicle (EV) living is becoming increasingly convenient, it can still be more inconvenient and need more planning than driving a combustion-engined vehicle.
The inconvenience and need to plan are nothing compared to deforestation or the release of disgusting, risky exhaust fumes into faces (and lungs, further to the point) of transferring pedestrians. Still, certainly even the most ardent proponent of electric vehicles would admit to occasionally preferring the less difficult option.