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  • Davin Hutchins

Playing games with electric cars




Here's just a little exercise in personal mindset and behavior shifting and electric vehicle adoption. My son, Jibran, and I have been playing a cars game since he was about four years old. We started this when he was in a baby booster seat.


Basically, when driving to a destination, we'd say that we'd have to reach a certain number of "future car" points before we arrive or we lose. Each hybrid or electric car had a certain amount of points based on their efficiency. Toyota Prius - 5 points. Nissan Leaf - 15 points. Tesla Model S - 50 points etc. When he was this age, we owned a 2001 Toyota Prius and 2007 Toyota Prius. So we got five points just getting into our car.


We'd keep looking for these cars on the road in a desperate attempt not to lose the game before arrival. (Usually we panic once getting closer to our destination. But we had no trouble while visiting San Francisco for example where every street corner had three Priuses.) As electric vehicles became more prevalent on the road over the years, we do in fact seem to be winning our game more and more as adoption seems to be taking off depending on where you look. We spot Tesla's all the time now.


For his eleventh birthday, I actually treated him to an EV open house and a Tesla Model X test drive where we scored the most points we've ever accumulated. We made a little iPhone video to document the day. (Turns out, it's easy to rack up the points in this game if you drive through a Tesla dealership.) We tested out the autopilot and he even got to park the car using The Force aka Summon mode.


Tesla's are still too rich for our blood but we can say we are now proud owners of a used 2016 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid which we power with our Tesla Solar panels. We're not fully onboard electric mobility yet but getting there.


Now that we own a plug-in hybrid with 62-mile range, we're realizing that the challenge is not so much not spotting electric cars on the road but actually finding the charging stations. The United States still doesn't have the necessary charging infrastructure. Just download the PlugShare app and you'll see what we mean. We're going to need aggressive federal and state policies to install free stations on public land to jumpstart this shortcoming. Maybe we should make a new game around spotting charging stations. In the near term, we'd lose again but hopefully that would change.


Try playing this game with your kids and make mindset and behavior shifting as fun as you can. Because planting the seeds of a new aspirational lifestyle in youth is really the most effective way to change tomorrow.