Monday, January 18, 2016

The new charging stations arrive too late

Actually, the new charging stations at work could not have arrived soon enough.  The demand for (free) charging at my company quickly outstripped the availability of charging stations.  Even with a four-hour limit, there still was not the right combination of etiquette and charging points available to meet everyone’s demands (as opposed to their needs).  Of course, had there been a cost for the electricity delivered for car charging, the situation would have changed.  Adding a nominal charge (say eight to ten cents per kilowatt hours) likely would have driven away the folks trying to get their EV charge for free while still allowing those needing a recharge to make the return trip home a chance to charge economically.  I know this because what happened next supports my theory.

The next week, I needed to make a shopping run at lunch time that would add another 12 miles to my 39-mile commute.  While the extra distance could be covered safely by the full charge I had started with when leaving home, it would have been more comfortable knowing I had some extra range instead (just in case I needed to rush somewhere).  So, upon returning from my errands, I found that the existing chargers were oddly vacant, so I pulled into a parking spot happy to have found the charger available.  Regrettably, the company had made the decision to stop subsidizing the cost of electricity for car charging and had begun charging $1.00 per hour connected.  Since my car draws electricity at a rate of just three kilowatts per hour, this amounts to about 33 cents per kwh.  At home I pay about 11 cents, so I decided to just rely on the remaining charge in the car battery and forgo any evening driving.  It would seem that with the installation of the new charging stations, the company had decided to switch to market-rate pricing at the same time.  Had they simply made the switch earlier, they would not have needed the new charging stations, as there were plenty of open spaces without the new stations.

Alas, all of this no longer matters to me.  I just received notice that my talents will no longer be needed and I was given a standard severance package.  This time, I am hoping to find work a little closer to home where I don’t have to worry about forgetting to charge the car one night.  There are a number of possibilities ahead for me, many of which offer EV charging on-site.  I’m both hopeful and a little scared at this point – this is my first time to be on the lay-off list since I began my career so many years ago.