Electric-Car Charging and the Dilemma of Idle Time

Electric-Car Charging and the Dilemma of Idle Time
Scott Lachut, PSFK Labs
  • 20 august 2009

Interesting thought piece over at The Big Money examining the subtle shift that will take place in our habits as we make the transition from gas-fueled vehicles to electric cars. New infrastructure, in the form of “fast-charging” stations, will be needed to meet the growing consumer demand. While the average “fast-charge” may eventually take as little as 15 minutes, that’s still 10 more minutes than the average conventional trip to the gas station. Which is to say, that gap translates into a lot more idle time on our hands. How will our culture of immediacy learn to cope with this interminable lag?

We may not have to, if some enterprising business comes to our aid by tapping into this captive, albeit fleeting, audience with some product or service, while simultaneously providing us with the illusion of efficient, multitasking. The only problem may be logistics. For one, the time constraint is an odd one, given that turnover has to remain consistent at the “pumps”. At the same time, we need to factor in concerns about space –  after all, sprawling swathes of electric chargers are hardly the an attractive solution. Which makes for a rather complicated equation.

The Big Money explains the dilemma:

[W]hat kind of important service would you offer that could take anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour or more, depending on demand? This would be a new “third space”—not home and not work—that would be weirdly time-constrained: keeping you around a bit longer than ducking into Starbucks, but not as long as you might spend shopping at Wal-Mart, Target, Costco etc. It’s important to remember that people don’t actually have to go to that many places anymore, since Internet has eliminated visits to the bank, the library, government offices, and in many cases retail establishments.

McDonald’s is already positioning themselves to pick up that slack when they recently announced that they’d be offering car-charging at one (and potentially more if the formula is a success) of their restaurants, but surely their is some endeavor or activity more worthwhile than a shopping trip or fast food extra value meal. Micro-volunteering or exercise, perhaps?

We’d appreciate your thoughts and suggestions on this.

The Big Money: Electric Car Charge Stations: The Next Third Space?

[image via Pam & Frank on Flickr]


Dubai And The Future Of Humanitarian Design

Design & Architecture
Op-Ed Today

Fitness Advocate: Paving The Future of Workouts With Audio

Ethan Agarwal, CEO of Skyfit, shares how he's democratizing access to boutique fitness classes through an app

Food Today

This Beer Was Brewed Just For Scotch Drinkers

Highland Park Scotch Whisky & Sixpoint Brewery have teamed up to create two limited-edition pairings for New York City boilermakers


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Mobile Today

Let An AI Librarian Help Sort Your Digital Bookmarks

A new app uses machine learning to help organize your virtual life

Mobile Today

Pizza Hut Tattoo Lets You Place An Order From Your Body

The latest gimmick from the fast-food chain is a tattoo-like sticker that lets customers get delivery with a simple tap on their arm

Related Expert

Xioachang Li

Cultural Theorist and Researcher

Travel Today

Reinvented Bicycle Inspired By Supercar Design

The yellow bike based on a Lamborghini has sharp edges and an aluminum alloy frame

Health Today

Health Platform Gives Perspective On Your Weekly Habits

Gyroscope is a new wellness app that works by amalgamating data about your life into beautifully designed visuals

Beauty Today

Korean Beauty Brand Uses VR To Let Customers Pick Their Ingredients

Innisfree created a unique experience for its Shanghai Disneyland customers with a virtual reality trip to select what goes into their purchase


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Today

Community Builder: How to Hack Slack

Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid, describes how she's using an internal team communication tool to build a network of thousands

PSFK Labs october 21, 2016

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Arts & Culture Today

3D-Printed Creations Resemble Floating Paper Outlines

Japanese design firm Nendo's exhibition features works that look like sheets of material being folded, torn, and crumpled

Technology october 21, 2016

Concept Camera Designed To Only Take Unique Photos

Camera Restricta is tool that prompts photographers to only capture one-of-a-kind images

Technology october 21, 2016

Fragrance Will Release The Smell Of Data If Your Private Information Is Being Leaked

The device is designed to create a physical cue for the potential dangers lurking online

Retail october 21, 2016

LYNK & CO Is A New Auto Brand That Promises Mobile Connectivity On Wheels

Online access and mobility sharing are driving the company to disrupt the auto industry

Gaming & Play october 21, 2016

Nintendo’s New Console Pushes For Portable Gaming

The Switch allows gamers to seamlessly play on the go by themselves or with friends

Travel october 21, 2016

Become A Citizen Of The First Nation In Space

Asgardia is a new concept for a floating society above Earth

Entertainment october 21, 2016

Speaker Displays Song Lyrics As Music Is Played

The device is able to generate the graphics on a translucent screen and retrieve the words from a connected database

AI october 21, 2016

Travel Assistant Scans Your Emails To Make Planning Easier

This AI add-on will sync with your inbox and sends reminders to make sure you don't miss anything important

No search results found.