I was talking with some friends about maybe replacing my car and was promptly scolded because my choice wasn't fuel-efficient enough. I have my back of the envelope calculations about the economics of paying a premium for a hybrid car when I don't drive very much, but I'll keep those to myself for now. The discussion got me thinking about the just-around-the-corner all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, which in turn hit me with a disturbing thought:
Exactly where and how would I charge an electric car when I live five stories up and park on the street? Even if I could reliably park near my building, I'd need at least 50 feet of extension cord from my window just to reach the ground. I somehow doubt that the even the People's Republic of Cambridge would grant me the right to monopolize a chunk of curb space right in front of the building for this purpose.
I guess the electric car model includes some kind of charging stations that will be rare to begin with and maybe someday more common, but while I can fill my tank with dinosaur juice in minutes, so far as I know, electric cars need hours to get even a partial charge. So you are expected to charge your electric car overnight at home or perhaps during the day at work. I'd definitely like to see parking lots, offices and office parks have some kind of parking with charging for these vehicles, but I personally don't drive to work and electric car or not, hope that I never do again.
So I guess I'll be just a little bit disappointed when the benefits of electric cars accrue first to those who have private garages, most likely attached to their free-standing homes in the suburbs, and last to those of us dwelling in urban apartments. Better late then never.