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EVs are growing and here to stay, how we’ll charge them is still up for debate

By Posted on July 19, 2018

Jim Saber
President & CEO


If you follow the automotive industry announcements on the number of electric vehicles planned for the market in the next three to five years, and the growing number of e-mobility companies bringing electrified shuttles, motorcycles, scooters, and e-bikes to the market, it is sometimes hard to imagine the options and changes we will experience in how we move from point A to B in the near future.

Electrified mobility offers many benefits to consumers and society.

  • Lower cost of ownership: even in the most expensive electricity markets, the cost of electrical energy is less expensive and more stable than petroleum. Electric vehicles also require less maintenance than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles
  • Environmental: electric vehicles do not produce emissions
  • Accelerates autonomy: electric vehicles can provide more seamless deployment of electrical power for sensors, computing, and communication required for automated vehicles
  • Noise reduction: electric vehicles reduce noise pollution and can be more pleasing to the public, especially in congested areas
  • Convenience: the ability to “recharge” anywhere and provide greater stability for the electrical grid. In simple terms, an electric vehicle can be plugged into any standard electrical outlet as a connection to recharge the battery

Let’s talk more about the idea of convenient charging and all of its implications. It’s no secret that greater adoption of electric vehicles could be hampered by “range anxiety,” so convenient access to charging is critical. However, the impact on the grid (both positive and negative) as the number of electric vehicles on the road increase also needs to be considered.

Today, for the vast majority of electric vehicle owners, 90% of their recharging needs can be met at home. Most of this charging occurs at night which benefits the grid by creating new demand for electricity when our electrical utilities typically have more capacity. Utilities commonly offer incentives to recharge electric vehicles overnight lowering the cost of ownership even more. The other 10% of the recharging needs are typically met by charging at work and at public charging stations (perhaps at a public parking space or shopping mall).

The recent advent of electric vehicles with greater driving range (200+ miles) and additional charging capabilities (direct current fast charging) increases the number of electric vehicle applications to more than just personal ownership and commuting, making them available for longer range travel, car and ride sharing applications, fleet, and delivery services. Electric vehicles are also becoming more attractive to people who live in multi-unit dwellings that do not have a dedicated charger available to them as you would in a single-family home. Workplace, public, fast charging, and now shared use of charging at multi-unit dwellings will be in greater demand. The result of this will be an increased amount of charging during peak hours for the electrical grid. If not managed properly, this can not only impact the cost of electric vehicle ownership, but it can increase costs and/or decrease reliability for other electric customers.

The ecosystem for electrified mobility (automobile manufacturers, charging station manufacturers and network operators, electrical utilities, software developers, property developers, state and local governments) are working to bring solutions to the market that will manage these potential issues and create even more value for electric vehicles and society.

NextEnergy has been working with this ecosystem on a number of solutions to understand how they can be commercialized and implemented at scale to support the growth of electrified mobility. From integrating charging stations and electric vehicles into a smart building network to better understand the impacts of fast charging vehicles at peak times for businesses and utilities, to smart charging applications for consumers, to how electric vehicles and electric scooters are best managed in shared use applications, we see the potential for many new solutions coming to the market in the near future.

These solutions will be best realized with agreed to and adopted standards that allow for multiple systems to communicate effectively. Simply put, the communications and messaging between electrical utilities, homes and buildings, charging stations, and electric vehicles need to be seamless for their value and user experience for all involved to be realized. NextEnergy is working with the ecosystem on applications which support multiple standards including SAE, IEEE, CCS, and ISO. This September we are partnering with CharIN on their first CharIN North American CCS and ISO/IEC 15118 Interop Event here at NextEnergy. This event will include testing and on-site evaluation of the communication between electric vehicles and charging systems. We hope to see many of you there.

Also look for more announcements on NextEnergy’s programs and partnerships to accelerate electrified mobility applications later this summer.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at any time with questions or to discuss how we can work together.



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