Two Ideas About Electric Vehicles

I have a serious interest in electric vehicles. I pretty much read anything that goes across my RSS reader about the subject, and am fairly convinced that when I have the wherewithal, I will be getting an electric vehicle at some point. I understand that they are somewhat controversial about how much waste they create due to their batteries, I think that using the same energy for everything will eventually bow to the economies of scale. I’ve had a couple of interesting things that I’ve been thinking relating to electric vehicles lately.

The first is me trying to estimate how much money that the United States Postal Service would save by replacing all of it’s neighborhood trucks with electric vehicles. I think of this whenever I see one of those tiny trucks that are filled with mail and seem to stop about every thirty feet in order to deliver the mail. It seems like having these use gasoline is a big waste. They are basically the ideal vehicle for electrifying - they are forced to be the most stop-and-go because they need to stop at every mailbox. Gasoline or Diesel engines would need to stay on at these very short stops, but no electricity would be used for these. They are always refueled at the post office that they are based at and usually have routes that are shorter than 40 miles in total. That means that they wouldn’t have any problem recharging and that they would not have an issue with range. The vehicles are owned by the postal service, so they have the say on replacing every one of them, which they can roll out slowly if it has a large up-front cost.

The second is a startup idea, which would be good for the current climate. Because electricity is available everywhere, it effectively democratizes the supply of fuel for these vehicles. Electricity is available pretty much everywhere, but people willing to let you recharge your electric vehicle are not everywhere. It would be fairly easy to put a meter on your charger, and then let anyone who is within a certain range recharge their vehicle using your electricity. Using some type of phone application which determined what places within your range were available, and they could also connect with the meters in order to automatically transfer the money. This would solve the “drive and dash” problem that some gas stations would have. I would be interested in how people end up pricing the premium over the electricity.

I’m excited to see what electric vehicles will do to change the way transportation works.