When It Comes To Powering Electric Cars Plug-free, It's Convenience Versus Conservation

Why plug when you can park? So asks Evatran, makers of Plugless Power, a pad unveiled this month that beams energy directly into your parked electric car. Just one catch: The pad is only about 90% efficient, meaning some energy gets lost. So which is more important—saving time or saving juice?

Can plugless power make electric cars more attractive?

YAY, PLUGLESS POWER!
"Gas cars fill up maybe once a week. With the electric car, you're plugging it in at least once a day, if not multiple times. So you'd think that Plugless Power will encourage the transition." -Rebecca Hough, Evatran CEO

BOO, PLUGLESS POWER!
"Convenience is such a minor thing. You're talking about the difference between driving over a pad on the ground and getting out of your car and inserting [a plug] into a slot. It literally takes three seconds." -Paul Scott, Cofounder of electric car advocacy group Plug In America

How much electricity loss should be tolerated for convenience?

YAY, PLUGLESS POWER!
"A small drop in efficiency is only a small drop as long as it's promoting an adoption of the technology. When people say, 'Well, I plug in my cell phone every day,' it's not that simple. The car's cords are heavier. And the materials in cords are quite expensive." -Hough

BOO, PLUGLESS POWER!
"A 1% loss—ahh, I might be able to let that roll over. But 2% to 5%, that's kind of a lot. Our country is incredibly wasteful, and the vehicles that we buy are grossly inefficient. We've got to stop wasting energy, especially since we're using such dirty energy." -Scott

True or false: The snuggie proves that Americans always prefer convenience.

YAY, PLUGLESS POWER!
"I don't know. One of our market studies showed that 90% of users who had an electric car for two weeks said that they were interested in a wireless option. Convenient products tend to be adopted, loved, and likely to proliferate." -Hough

BOO, PLUGLESS POWER!
"Snuggie—what is that? [Reporter explains it to him.] Well, see, this is part of why our country is failing. You're watching a great country go down the tubes. Our country is full of lazy, selfish people. That's not a recipe for success, man." -Scott

[Illustration by Mickey Burton]

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