Over the last few decades, we have seen a major rise in carbon footprints, which has resulted in adverse effects on the planet. Many nations around the globe have understood the aftereffects of the rising emissions and have been trying to implement various measures to curb these effects and switch to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.
It has been found that the automotive/transportation industry is responsible for 12 percent of the global carbon footprint. To reduce carbon emissions many automobile users are now switching to electric vehicles. We are already seeing a surge in the adoption of electric vehicles across the globe.
According to MarketsandMarkets, the global electric vehicle market size is projected to grow from 353 thousand units in 2022 to 3,144 thousand by 2030. As auto manufacturers are trying to meet the increasing demand of electric vehicles, it also raises a concern about supporting the use of EVs with adequate public infrastructure. This has already been cited as a major bottleneck for the adoption of EVs.
Why is lack of infrastructure becoming a bottleneck?
According to studies, 80 percent of American EV owners, charge their vehicles at home. This may be convenient for people who live in single-family homes, however, adoption could become a challenge for people who may be living in apartment buildings, where setting up a personal charger may not be possible. In such cases, users will have to rely on public charging infrastructure.
Though there is steady EV adoption amongst users, we have not seen rapidly developing infrastructures for charging so far. The road to rapid development has been marred with various bottlenecks. Let’s take a look at what these bottlenecks are.
One of the factors that have become probable bottlenecks is the lack of required components. With the current growth trends, we will be nowhere close to fulfilling the constant rise in demand even by 2032.
Some of the other factors that are mitigating growth is the lack of a skilled workforce. Since this is a fairly new technological trend, there is still a learning curve ahead of automotive engineers to build comprehensive products and solutions. Another factor that could mitigate growth is the predicted scarcity of lithium-ion batteries. To counter this scarcity, alternative power sources are also being explored. However, this may not be an immediate solution.
Another bottleneck is the lack of regulatory standards for EV infrastructure. Though we have seen ISO standards emerging over the last few years, there is still a long way ahead to streamlining and standardizing every aspect of the infrastructure. Each company has its own charger, which makes it even more difficult to set up a universal charging station.
The cost of setting up charging infrastructure is also very high. The need for specialized components, installation, distribution, grid etc. are expensive. The ideal solution in such a situation is to repurpose existing gas stations into charging stations, which may help in reducing the cost to an extent and at the same time accelerate the process of setting up the infrastructure.
How can we mitigate some of these challenges?
From what we have seen so far, we can understand that building adequate infrastructure is only possible by enabling faster time to market and rapid prototyping. This will require collaboration between EV companies and technology experts. Most companies may not have all the required capabilities to build an efficient end-to-end charging solution inhouse, which is the main reason for the slower growth rate. The only way to deliver efficient solutions is by involving reliable partners who have expertise in different technology domains. Let’s discuss some of the areas where key strategical partnerships may accelerate design and development.
Compute is one of the key elements of a DC charger as it also become an integral part of power management. The public chargers are normally built for self-service and need to be operate 24/7 in any weather condition. This requires rugged compute that will be able to withstand extensive use and the compute provider should be able to provide necessary support. Companies that have expertise in building compute platforms and reference designs that are for built for industrial use and flexible at the same time can help in aiding faster prototyping.
Self service chargers will require displays that will showcase necessary details about the charge cycle such as time taken to charge, charging indication, price etc. These displays should not only provide good visibility but also be able to withstand extreme weather conditions. Any company that specializes in display may have off the shelf ready-to-use products along with capability to design a display from scratch can help in accelerating the development process.
Another key element in the EV charging sector is the software. EV charging software helps in authenticating users, monitoring charging sessions, and processing payments among other activities. Software solutions are connected to the hardware via the internet. However, just developing hardware is not enough. OS upgrades, firmware updates etc., device health status, remote device monitoring etc. become essential part of the software setup to ensure maximum uptime along with aggregation of other services and predictive analytics.
Strategic partnerships in these key areas could accelerate the time to market for EV charging infrastructure. Many auto manufacturers like MG, Hyundai, Ford and others have already started partnering with private as well as government organizations to tackle this issue. Soon we will be seeing formidable and sustainable solutions in the EV segment.