Four ways innovation in EV charging stations can boost India’s EV adoption

EV charging infrastructure is an indivisible part of battery tech and its assembly as enabling fast charging along their usage geographies has emerged as a definite course for resolving the range anxiety.

By:Published: July 6, 2020 1:36 PM

electric car charging

The excessive use of the planets fossil fuels reserves for furnishing the ever-rising energy needs of our world has in fact not only led to a tremendous depletion of these non-renewable sources of energy but has also resulted in ominous changes in the earth’s climate due to intensive pollution from the burning fossil fuels. The rise of EV mobility has presented itself as a veritable alternative to the ICE-driven conventional mobility formats.

The EV industry is galloping at a rapid pace, having evolved with the utmost fecundity and innovation. The $22.2 billion worth industry is anticipated to reach a phenomenal industry valuation of $157.4 billion by the year 2025 while growing at a projected CAGR of an impressive 29.4%.

A plethora of companies has broken into the unicorn category by developing the EV charging sector by extending charging points and other essential EV infrastructure. As the EV charging sector is seen as an amicable factor towards creating novel energy consumption and demand for clean power, it is fast becoming the designated face for ushering sustainable technology and economics for the $70 billion worth energy management systems segment.

EV charging infrastructure is an indivisible part of battery tech and its assembly as enabling fast charging along their usage geographies has emerged as a definite course for resolving the range anxiety of EV drivers and fleet-owners. The evolutionary developments in battery technology, electrochemistry, intelligent Battery Management Systems (BMS) and innovative Li-ion cell cooling techniques have allowed the outdoor charging of EVs by comprehensively increasing the amount of charging for EVs in considerably less time.

There are multiple levels of charging standards prominently used in EVs today

AC level 1 charging is distinguished by slow charging and is supplied by battery vendors as it does not feature a standardized charger. A 10 Kwh battery takes about 3 to 20 hours on this charging grade. A majority of “adaptable” batteries utilized by 2W/3W and some authorized 4W EVs of India employ them. This charging range is optimum for immobile batteries as they are air-cooled. The rate of charging the cells has to be low so that heat/thermal dissipation is manageable.

The AC level 2 fast charging generally utilizes 3.6, 7 Kwh and 10 Kwh AC chargers with consistent connectors. The all-Indian BHARAT 2 AC and most of the 4W launches made this year feature a level-2 fast charger. Under this caliber, a 10 Kwh battery top-up takes 90 minutes and a full cycle of 30 Kwh usually takes about 4 hours. Global vehicle OEMs for 2/3/4 Wheelers employ liquid cooling batteries to permit fast charging. Unless cells remain at their optimum temperature, fast charging can damage the battery’s Cell life. OEMs have already established that batteries with better cooling proficiency can now run for 1.5 Million Kms before losing their capacity.

Level 3 & DC Fast charging technology circumvents the on-board charging circuit of the vehicles and supplies Direct Current to the batteries. Various players are exploring combinations of AC and DC to achieve a balance between cooling costs and charging efficiency as the cooling and battery management system of such gradients is even more significant to accomplish equilibrium between cooling costs and charging competence. A 40 Kwh battery can charge up to 80% of its capacity in 30 minutes using hi-speed FC charging.

Here’s how the advances in technology and innovation revolutionizing the EV charging sector:

1. BMS: An efficient Battery Management System corroborates the proper charging and discharging of batteries besides balancing them to extend their longevity. A well-linked BMS can assess the state of batteries and can develop complex optimization algorithms that can enhance the scope, effectiveness, and the shelf-life of cells.

Up-and-coming EV charging players have created a 4-100 Kwh connected BMS designs that OEMs can utilize to improve their battery performance by employing innovative Cloud services that help OEMs evaluate battery parameters in concurrence while directing their operations and predicting charging essentials while on the move. Interestingly, a lot of third-party BMS companies are now independent of Li-Ion Cells and their chemistries thereby giving EV OEMs a lot more flexibility for performance and range.

2. Charger Management and Analytics: While some of the AC Fast & slow chargers feature OCPP (Open Charge Point Protocol) compliance, a significant number of popular chargers suffer from low-intelligent and incompatibility. The recent advances in tech-innovation have allowed EV players to fashion new-age IoT hardware that adds “Dumb Chargers” to the cloud network to prevail over the various shortcomings. By virtualizing Charger connectivity and control, Fleet operators can cater to any EV, Any Charger with unified cloud access.

Also read: Boycotting Chinese automotive imports is like destroying your house to kill the rat: Magenta Power

3. Energy management and security: EV charging like any other high voltage appliance needs professional installation and architecture stack. Many recently spawned EV companies are extending industry-standard and India compliant electrical architecture to provide state of the art EV charging infrastructure across the country whereby contractors and fleet owners can arrange secure, hi-quality and consistent electrical architecture.

4. User App and Charge Station Control: The technology up-gradation surrounding EV charging will herald a favorable impact only if the entire end-to-end operations of EV Charging are automated beginning from locating a charging station through cutting-edge user apps, to relinquishing the charger for the next user. As effective and seamless automation of the entire grid requires a meticulous gauging of energy, control and safety of users, App-based control ensures touch-free operation. Billing for the energy consumed, parking charges, etc with the due intelligence will ensure transparency to the entire value chain. Emerging EV charging brands are providing advanced Eaas (Energy as a service) to EV fleet owners so that they are capable of automating EV Charging and attaining EV RoI faster than before.

Author: G A Bhargava, CEO and Founder, Enercent

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not represent those of The Indian Express Group or its employees.

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