It's an old cliche used to indicate an unsolvable problem: which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Sometimes it's applied to the challenge of electric-car charging stations: which comes first, sales of the cars or installation of public charging to support them?

Well, Jeff Allen isn't having any of it. He wants to talk about hot dogs, and buns.

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In a feisty essay, "Let Us Bury the Chicken and Egg," the executive director of Forth (nee Drive Oregon) lays out why the chicken-and-egg comparison irritates him.

It's an easy out, he says, suggesting that the challenges of electric-car charging infrastructure are unknowable and can't really ever be solved.

"It invites a shrug of the shoulders," he wrote, "and an 'oh well, guess it won’t work' attitude.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

That's probably accurate ... but why hot dogs?

 You can eat a hot dog without a bun. However, with a bun, you can add onions, mustard, and pickle relish; it’s easier to carry them around; and most people think they taste better that way.

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Unfortunately, in one of the great mysteries of modern cuisine, hot dogs and buns are virtually never sold in packages of the same number. It’s always 10 and 8, or 8 and 6, or some other mismatched number.

 That means you always have extra buns, or need more hot dogs to use up the buns.

Electric Avenue rededication, Portland, July 2015

Electric Avenue rededication, Portland, July 2015

(Allen even included a link to a YouTube video discussing this major mystery of modern life. Nicely done.)

He followed with this: "Anyone see the analogy to charging infrastructure yet?"

Electric cars are great on their own, and some owners essentially never use public charging. Others rely on it for longer trips, or because they don't have charging at work (yet).

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Allen's desire to reframe public charging as a question of items that can stand on their own, but produce something new and better when combined, seems to us a good example of thinking outside the box.

And as he noted at the end of his essay, it may well also make listeners smile—or at least keep them intrigued long enough to listen.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In the spirit of full disclosure, Green Car Reports editor John Voelcker is one of several members of the council of advisers for Forth, the former Drive Oregon.


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