According to experts, the lack of an affordable, efficient charging experience is a primary hindrance to supporting the demand for EVs.
To help the process of EV adoption, players have to necessarily use supporting technologies to bring about an affordable EV charging experience.
Most reports today are positive that electric vehicles (EVs) are gradually gaining traction as the vehicle of choice for buyers and will ultimately lead to more adoption and sales. According to experts other than the high price factor, the battery efficiency-to-cost proportion is a primary barrier to the mass adoption of EVs and so is the lack of an affordable, efficient charging experience. Thankfully, the arena of the EV charging experience has been witnessing quite a transition and if it continues to innovate it should be able to help, and not hinder, the process of EV adoption going ahead.
Here are some of the ways in which the industry sees the EV charging experience evolve in the future.
Indigenous research and solutions
At the beginning of the year, researchers from IIT-Varanasi had developed a new technology for a more affordable on-board EV charger that reduced the need for an additional power electronics interface. In this manner, it could bring down the charging components required by about 50 percent. This advanced charging model is being designed to be multi-functional, so as to act as a charger for the charging mode and as an inverter for the propulsion mode. By making one component functional dually, the researchers managed to reduce the cost of the proposed onboard charger by about 40-50 percent as compared to the existing model. This is great news as such price reductions will directly impact the cost of EV manufacturing as well and will eventually make EVs more affordable for the consumers.
Since the prohibitive costs of EVs is what hinders its adoption for most consumers, such advancements that make them more affordable are necessary for the industry to flourish. Similar advancements that will improve the charging experience can make a mark in the industry.
A global innovation in the making
Another innovation in the works is the technology of Bidirectional charging. Also known as two-way charging, this technology will permit energy flow in both directions, namely from the grid into the vehicles and from vehicles back to the grid or to consumers’ homes. Compared to the traditional one-way EV chargers that only power EVs, this option is a huge breakthrough in that it reduces the power demand and thus leads to cost and energy efficiencies for users.
Further improvements in bidirectional charging will make them irresistible to homeowners as it’ll aid in turning EV batteries into emergency energy storage points as well. This way, batteries will function as stores for renewable energy at the point of generation and then channel it back to support grids and networks when necessary. While the effect of this technology on the cost of EVs or their charging is as yet unknown, it stands to point that it definitely makes the lives of users more convenient.
Rethinking the charging experience
For the sake of the EV users, industry players will also need to improve the EV charging experience. The consumer of today deals with really slow battery-charging speeds with EVs requiring as much as 10-hours to recharge at home completely, and about 40 minutes with the fastest chargers at stations. As things advance, in the near future, experts believe the EV charging voltage will get enhanced as will the power of single chargers. For individual consumers, this would mean shortened charging times at home and outside. To keep up with the rising demand for large EVs such as buses and trucks, players will also need to manufacture mega-chargers that will support long-distance operability.
Researchers are also trying to implement IoT to revolutionise the EV charging practice further. If technology can lead to smart connectivity between networks and grids, energy and batteries, and EVs, it will definitely lead to the most favourable use of resources and an improved quality of charging.
Looking deep into the future
There is also cutting-edge research in quantum technologies that may lead to more new ways of charging EVs quickly. The concept of a ‘Quantum Battery’ has already been in the making and if researchers are able to make it feasible it may bring down the charging time to mere minutes, making the EV charging experience equal to that of filling up car fuel tanks at gas stations. Not only will these batteries completely revolutionise the way energy is consumed they will also carry the earth into a sustainable future.
The Indian government has been supportive of the EV industry in the hope of a cleaner, greener environment. That, and the interest of the conscious consumers, makes the EV industry one of the most promising ones in the foreseeable future. To support and maintain the upcoming surge in demand for EVs, the industry needs to be able to improve the charging experience. This is the best way, maybe the only way, to truly manifest the promise this eco-friendly industry holds.
Raghav Arora, Co-Founder & CTO at Statiq.