Electric Vehicle Innovations
Five Innovations Herald Easier and Faster EV Charging Future
Electric vehicle adoption is growing exponentially. A recent report by Bloomberg NEF projects that in 20 years, 500 million electric vehicles will be on the road. Getting to that point requires significant expansion of the EV charging infrastructure, supporting multiple charging scenarios. In addition, technology innovation would be at the core of this transition. In this blog, we review five technologies that will directly impact drivers’ EV charging experience, will support new business models for EV charging and will create new business opportunities for the entire EV ecosystem.
Vehicle to Grid (V2G)
V2G is a key area of EV charging energy management, enabling two-way energy exchange between the vehicle and the grid. With V2G, energy stored in an EV can be fed back to the grid at times of peak demand to minimize the strain. Given that the average car is parked for around 95% of the day, V2G connectivity offers the potential to optimize grids by leveraging millions of EVs as decentralized energy storage resources, with no capital or operating costs. This approach turns EV drivers into “prosumers” – a consumer of the grid and a provider of energy – thus enabling them to reduce their costs of EV charging and receive other discounts on their electricity usage.
Wireless EV Charging
Wireless EV charging may be the catalyst for mass adoption of electric vehicles. With a high-powered wireless EV charging system, vehicles can automatically charge while parked in selected pick-up/drop-off locations – an ideal solution to keep taxis or autonomous vehicles perpetually charged. The system requires no physical charger-vehicle connection; it consists of multiple charging plates installed underground that engage automatically. No charging station is required, delivering more convenience and less clutter in the public space.
Mobile charging includes charging vans, portable chargers, and temporary chargers, where the chargers themselves are “on the go” and do not require infrastructure investments. With mobile charging, there’s no need for structural changes, no huge financial outlays, and no more problems for fleet EVs who need fast roadside charges – which is one of the first applications of the mobile charging vans.
Volkswagen has deployed electric charging stations with giant integrated batteries to manage station demand and keep them online if the grid goes down. The stations can be deployed anywhere, either temporarily or permanently, serving concert goers at festivals or at other events, or providing charging points in areas where building large EV charging stations isn’t possible.
Ultra-fast charging is the logical next step in satisfying EV drivers’ demand for charging on the go. A fill-up at the pump with a traditional gas-powered vehicle takes only a few minutes, and EV drivers are demanding the same time savings. Ultrafast chargers are delivering 32 km (20 miles) of range in one minute, removing driver range anxiety, one of the major barriers that limits the adoption of EVs.
Australia is working to create a countrywide national ultrafast EV charging network. The charging stations will be spaced to enable EV drivers to confidently drive between Australia’s major cities, with convenient, ultra-fast charging sites enabling them to charge in minutes. With this future-proof development, battery makers are now following suit and working to ramp up charging speeds on their side.
New battery technology
Range anxiety and battery cost are two issues preventing an even wider adoption of electric vehicles. However, new battery technologies are poised to solve both issues at once. Lithium-ion batteries have become the industry standard over the two decades of EV development. New technologies are being tested, such as graphene-based technologies, which charge in 15 seconds. These are expected to supplement, not replace, traditional EV batteries. Toyota is working on sulfide-based, solid-state batteries that are projected to last almost 30 years. Other companies are trying to eliminate cobalt, one of the most expensive components in existing batteries, which will significantly reduce the price.
These innovations will shape the future of EV charging, accelerating EV adoption. The new technologies will be game changers from an EV charging experience perspective, will support new business models for EV charging and generate new business opportunities for e-Mobility industry players.