The lifting of lockdown in the ACT has seen barbers and hairdressers inundated with work for weeks as thousands seek to tame their manes.
Things on my head, for one, are so desperate that when working outside, my face mask doubles as a sort of bandana to prevent the wind picking up the strands of hair and whipping my eyeballs with it.
But finally, the day arrived. I would be seeing a barber in Civic. Order will be restored. I will see again!
Yes, this would mean parking at the Canberra Centre, on a Saturday, when the LEGO store was opening for the first time. It would be bedlam.
But I wasn’t phased at all because Porsche Centre Canberra had loaned me their new Taycan for the weekend, the brand’s first fully electric sports car. There’ll be a full review next weekend, but for now, this is about the EV ownership experience and I thought it would be a breeze. After all, there are plenty of dedicated EV charging spots in the Canberra Centre car park.
I was wrong. Very wrong.
Having negotiated the stupidly tight entrance with five metres of very expensive metal, I found that all six EV charging stations were taken. Instead, I was left to fight over the normal spots along with literally every other Canberran.
I missed my appointment, and my hair is still in my eyes.
This is absolutely a First World Problem. But I am in an EV – a Porsche EV, no less – so there are only First World Problems.
This particular set of free and publicly available chargers comprises four Tesla Superchargers and two for everything else. After what felt like an eternity negotiating more stupidly tight turns and accidentally going against arrows, I resorted to dumping the Porsche in a Tesla spot. Maybe it’ll still work.
Nope, that would be too simple. Because Teslas are American and therefore different for the sake of it, the little light at the charging port refused to blink no matter how many contortions I pulled with my tongue while trying to plug the charging socket in.
It gets even worse.
So naive was I that I had saved this moment as the time I would charge up the batteries. I would go about my haircutting business and come back to a car at 100 per cent. At least that’s how it goes in all the ads.
To be honest, the situation wasn’t all that dire. The Porsche reckoned it still had about 180 km on it, but I was worried. It was Saturday morning and I had this car on test until Monday. I did not want it to run out in that time because I had no idea how I would charge it at home.
There’s an assumption out there that everyone has a five-bedroom house with a garage and a yard. Easy – charge the EV overnight in the garage. Well, I live in a top-floor apartment, and not even Bunnings sells an extension cord long enough to stretch from behind the drinks trolley in my lounge room to the carport below.
This meant I had to ask Clement, the downstairs neighbour, power cord in hand and long-haired head hanging, for his precious electrons. Fortunately, we have already brokered a deal whereby I pay him a packet of cigarettes a month to use his carport, so this was a simple extension on that.
But there it was, my $225,000 Porsche sitting in a carport, an extension lead running out of its side, across the driveway and underneath a screen door. It was undignified to say the least.
Thank you, Clement. I know that you had to contend with metres of power cord draped over your decor and that whenever you tried to make a coffee, the fuse blew. But what a small price to pay for saving the planet. Somehow.
It certainly paid off, too, because come morning, the battery percentage had risen from 34 per cent to 63.
I should clarify that none of this is the car’s fault. The Porsche Taycan is a phenomenal machine. This rests entirely on human error.
If I owned the car, I no doubt would have fine-tuned some sort of system so that this predicament would not unfold in the first place. Not to mention that if I had a Porsche, I would also have a very big garage, with a proper, faster-charging setup installed.
But until there are more public charging stations out there, this will happen. Six in Canberra’s biggest shopping mall is nothing in the grand scheme of things, and as EVs become more and more popular, there will be many more like me, flustered and missing their haircuts.
Governments can’t begin to think about ramming EVs down while there are still shortcomings with the infrastructure.
I have no doubt we will get there. Technology marches on, and more charging stations are going up as I type. But for the moment, I am going to my rescheduled appointment this afternoon in my V6 Verada.
Check back next weekend for the review of the Porsche Taycan 4S.