Friday, June 14, 2024

Enterprise – Viewpoint – the EV Charging Management edition Article by EVinmotion 12-8-2023

In the early days of December 2023, the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry finds itself in a complex situation, grappling with doubts about achieving ambitious sales targets of 40-70% of global auto sales by 2030. The transition from the research and development phase to mass production has not yielded the anticipated results, even witnessing a decline in global sales for prominent brands like Tesla.

Several factors contribute to this perceived sluggishness. While the quality and pricing of new EV models may be somewhat underwhelming, the primary bottleneck appears to be the absence of a robust charging infrastructure. Despite positive experiences with EV driving, potential buyers hesitate due to the lack of a dependable system to meet their charging needs wherever they go.

“Range anxiety” is a genuine concern, causing potential buyers to postpone their purchases, especially in regions with limited charging stations. The current growth phase of the EV industry aligns with the idea of “build it, and they will come.” However, various challenges hinder the development of a resilient and accessible EV charging network.

Let’s delve into the key challenges that need to be addressed for widespread acceptance and use of EV vehicles:

Energy Availability: The U.S. power grid requires a comprehensive reconfiguration to meet the high wattage demands of fast chargers, particularly in rural and interurban areas. This necessitates the development of clean energy sources, distribution lines, and affordable electricity rates.

Charging Station Availability: Currently, there are an estimated 180,000 charging stations in the U.S., with a significant proportion in private applications. To support the projected volume of EVs in 2030, an estimated 43 million charging stations will be needed.

Density of Public Charging Stations: While many EV drivers charge at home, urban dwellers without garage parking rely on public facilities. Like gas stations for traditional vehicles, a dense network of public charging options is essential.

Speed of Charging: DC fast chargers are becoming the standard, offering a quick solution to charging—though calling 20 minutes quick, compared to the time spent at a gas pump, is subjective. Challenges with EV fast chargers include cost, power requirements, and availability. Most DC fast chargers today share power among multiple vehicles, extending charging times.

Reliability of Charging Systems: Drawing a parallel to the pre-cell phone era, finding a functioning public telephone was a challenge due to wear, abuse, and vandalism. In September 2023, Car and Driver reported a J.D. Power study finding that 20.8% of EV drivers experienced charging failures or equipment malfunctions. The “Build it, and they will come” approach won’t suffice without a concerted effort to establish a support system for preventative maintenance, break-fix, and emergency repairs.

Despite these challenges, the rapidly growing EV Charging industry is actively addressing them. As a nascent industry, it took a couple of years for companies to consolidate around these challenges. The EV Charging Summit and Expo serves as a focal point for education, brainstorming, and industry development, specifically geared towards “powering the Future of Transportation Infrastructure.”