One of the strangest things about owning an EV which looks bog standard (yes, I’ve recently got a 1985 VW Golf CityStromer EV which looks like a gasoline powered car) is that folks tend to tell you that you can’t park in an electric vehicle recharging bay.
Why is that? Is it really because electric cars are perceived as small, strange-looking little vehicles with no normal car features, or is it because no-one actually believes that electric vehicles are real? In Bristol, where I live, the latter could be possible. Of the twenty or so electric vehicles that are currently on the road (there are many, many more out there which aren’t being used or are under conversion) I would estimate that about 50% look like a toy, or a quirky, strange electric car. The other 50% look like regular cars. I happen to drive one of those regular cars.
The direction that I couldn’t park in the charging bay was aimed at me by a security gaurd at one of the local malls I was parking at while I happened to be interviewed by the local newspaper for an article on electric cars. Funnily enough, a reporter was in the car with me at the time. She couldn’t believe the shock the security guard had when I whipped out the Golf’s charging lead and plugged into the mains. In fact, I don’t think the security guard was completely convinced until I showed him that the car didn’t have a tailpipe. In his mind, an electric car didn’t look like a factory spec car. Less still, it shouldn’t be a family hatchback.
Some people are happy to drive electric cars which look quirky. In fact, I used to own a car which was considered very strange and to be compeletely honest, pointed at whereever I went. As an extrovert I really didn’t mind, but my wife isn’t quite so happy to drive a bright yellow bubble car down the street. The unassuming golf is so much more her style. It’s a suspicion of mine that she’s not alone. In fact, as someone commented yesterday when I was showing them the golf.
“It’s a shame that [they] don’t make normal cars electric like this”
Of course, what most people don’t realise is that there ARE electric cars out there which are normal. Yes, even big car companies made them and yes, they’re about to again. But the problem is that most people don’t see the regular EV. Most people see the quirky. The G-WIz. The Mega City. The small. The performance crippled. Or they see the very expensive. The Tesla. The Miev.
But in the middle, there is a small, unnoticed band of people, converting, building and running factory-built EVs which can compete with their gas powered counterparts. And which lurk, incognito, on the roads of the UK.
So next time you see a regular looking car with no exhaust, or perhaps a strangely normal car parked at a charging point why not look for that charging cable before having a moan. And get the owner to give you a ride. You may be suprised.