Understanding the needs of EV-owners

Of all the EV-charger equipped petrol stations in Klang Valley, this BHP station in TTDI is the only one that makes sense. It is smack in the middle of business areas, making it easy for EV/PHEV owners to park, charge and continue their business nearby for one or two hours.

It is also in a sweet spot for my daily hike in Kiara Hill Trail nearby. I would typically hike at 6am and return at 8am (7-10km hike) to find the car fully charged; sufficient for one day of movement with no fuel used. Do this daily, at times I would only spend RM80/month for fuel. Thats 75% lesser than the average consumer fuel-spent.

The rest of EV-equipped petrol stations are not positioned optimally to meet the behaviour of EV owners. No one wants to wait at a petrol station for hours just to charge their car.

When EVs become commonplace, petrol stations that are centrally located to housing and business areas have the best chance of being converted to EV stations…

… provided power utility companies (TNB, SESB) do not disrupt energy delivery by equipping regular parking spots with EV chargers using power from light/electric poles first.

With EVs, energy delivery to power our mobility is now democratised and decentralised. There is no need for expensive petrol stations with its strict HSE policies to built, maintain & run; now everyone can juice up their EV cars at home or at the car parks.

An electrified future is here.

Charging an electric/hybrid vehicle at a petrol station feels out of place.

In the past, refueling petrol at a gas station is an absolute necessity. There’s simply no other way to refuel except at petrol stations. Hence we plan travels for a brief pit stop to get juices for our cars, while some stop longer to buy drinks & food at the convenience store.

As such, gas stations are erected in high traffic areas; near intersections, in between two major locations, or on primary roads to cater to refueling needs. 

When EV (electric vehicle) becomes commonplace, will this behavior persist? In an electrified future, does the petrol station or dedicated charging stations with so many charging bays even relevant?

These are my hypotheses:

1. EV drivers will still drop by at petrol stations occasionally, at a much lower frequency than before.

2. Dedicated EV charging stations are only relevant for long-distance travel. Thus I pray that we will see more erected on major highways.

3. Similarly as EV becomes common, inner-city petrol stations slowly become irrelevant.

EV frees you from the need to refuel at petrol stations. It does not make sense to waste a few hours (or at least 30mins) waiting for the car to juice up at the petrol station. This inherently forces EV owners to change their behavior, with preference to recharge at the beginning of the trip, or at the end of it, seldom in between.

Which makes more sense? 

a- Spend the time waiting at a petrol station while the car is charging

b- Charge at your home, or your office, or at any road-side charging stations

The most logical & efficient step would be the ability for an EV owner to charge the car whenever the car is parked for hours. 

Power utility companies, those who own the light & electric poles stand to gain the most as we transition from ICE to EV. They already have the grid and the infrastructure. Now the likes of TNB, Sarawak Energy, and Sabah Electricity only need the technology, vision and boldness to hasten the EV revolution.

We are at the cusp of an EV revolution

Some will say EV has a long way to go before it reaches our shore. I beg to differ.

It only took ~10 years for cars to completely replace horse wagons in New York back in 1900.

A Model T, when it was introduced by Harrison Ford costed USD850, double the price of a horse wagon. A year later, the price dropped to USD609. By the year 1924, the price is now USD290.

Most car manufacturers have publicly shared their plans to be fully electric, with some already delivering competent, market-driven EVs.

  • Porsche Taycan, starts at USD150k (~RM725,000 sold by Porsche Malaysia). Already one of the most popular selling Porsches out there.
  • Volkwagen ID.3, starts at USD30k+ (Not yet in Malaysia, estimated at RM140,000), also one of the best selling new VWs with ID.4 coming up next.
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge, starts at USD55k+ (coming soon, estimated at at RM240,000), production already fully booked till the end of year.

Can’t wait.