Lloyd has asked before whether electric cars are going to make it harder to fix our cities. But what about scooter-riding valet parking services?
Vallie, a UK-based company, is offering London car drivers a service that on the one hand will make driving an electric car a lot easier, and on the other, will eliminate many of the frustrations of individual car use in the city—potentially incentivizing that usage and making life for everyone else in the city less pleasant.
Here's how it works:
1) You use an app to tell Vallie where you'll be dropping off your car.
2) A fully-insured driver monitors your progress, and turns up on their scooter when you arrive to take charge of your vehicle and park it in a commercial parking lot.
3) While Vallie has your car, they'll plug it in to charge (assuming it has a plug), or they'll go fill it up with gas or give it a wash—all for additional fees of course.
For us electric car drivers, such services do provide one way to manage demand for a limited number of charging spots. Still, I can't help but worry that we're using scooters and smartphones to perpetuate the inefficiencies of car culture, instead of reimagining our cities to make car driving unnecessary.
Yes, this is a pretty clever service. And if I had to drive into central London regularly, I'd probably use it. (I've always hated finding parking spots anyway.) In the meantime, however, I am much more excited about proposed cycling superhighways.
Let's just hope they don't get too clogged up with valet's on scooters...