The market share for electric vehicles continues to grow and stakeholders from OEMs to utilities are all part of the transition. Mobility solutions company Autocrypt highlights the need for quality and reliability in EV charging
This article is partner content presented by Autocrypt.
Throughout the coming decade, an e-mobility ecosystem is expected to take shape across most high- and middle-income economies.
Canada is among many countries that have established regulations (or mandates) that set targets for EV sales or average emissions.
By 2026 at least 20 per cent of new vehicles sold in the country must be ZEVs, at least 60 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2035.
But achieving this goal will also require Canada to electrify its one million kilometres of public road network to support this mandated zero-emission fleet. Here, Autocrypt highlights four critical EV charging challenges and solutions that need to be considered in order to make this happen.
Making public chargers visible
Most policymakers agree that more publicly accessible charge points are needed to support EVs. In tandem with sales mandates, governments are also setting charger deployment targets and funding charge point operators (CPO) to build more chargers across their networks.
However, a major problem with these targets is that they are merely quantitative, whereas in real life, quality is what defines the user experience.
Answers to questions such as, “Can the charger be easily found?”; “Is the charger accessible at all times and not located in a gated property?” and “Is pricing information easily available online?” might just be as important as the quantity of chargers.
One of the keys to a convenient and reliable charging experience is how easy it is to find a charger. Unlike gas stations, EV chargers tend to be hidden in the corners of parking lots, making them difficult to spot. Moreover, the pricing information isn’t easily visible from afar. As a result, EV drivers always need to actively search for the nearest available charger. Combustion vehicle drivers almost never need to put effort into finding a gas station.
“To make public chargers and relevant information more visible, we began working with CPOs in Korea to collect charger data and develop a charger information app that process accurate up-to-date information on the location, charging price, availability and plug type of every public charge point available in the country,” said president of Autocrypt North America, Sean Cho. “The long-term goal is to make this available worldwide.”
Enabling one-step charging through Plug&Charge
To build and maintain more public chargers, more CPOs and charging networks are needed. But more charging networks also means that drivers need to register for more memberships, download more apps and carry more charge cards. This makes the EV charging experience even more time-consuming and inconvenient.
How to make the charging process simpler and more enjoyable? Plug&Charge (PnC) is a technological feature defined in the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) communication protocol. It enables EV drivers charge their cars by simply plugging in the charger. Everything else — from user identification to account verification, charging to billing — is automatically processed in the PnC backend. It is a seamless exchange of data between the vehicle and the charger.
The availability of PnC-compatible charging networks is a key factor in making EV charging more convenient and secure. To facilitate wider PnC deployment, an increasing number of automotive manufacturers and CPOs are incorporating PnC compatibility into their vehicles and chargers.
Monitoring and maintaining charging supplies
Although most charging stations are unstaffed, they do require continuous maintenance.
To ensure proper and reliable service to customers, public chargers need to be maintained regularly and ideally monitored in real-time. It is too common today for EV drivers to visit a charging station only to be turned down by unresponsive screens, broken cords and failed payment systems.
Encountering these issues can be frustrating and leads to range anxiety, as drivers end up worrying about finding a functional charging station within range.
To this end, Autocrypt developed an EV Charging Station Management System (CSMS) dedicated for CPOs. The CSMS receives real-time data on all smart chargers operated by the CPO, then displays it on a centralized visual dashboard, allowing CPOs to continuously monitor the status, availability, and functionality of all their chargers. Not only is it a cost-effective way of maintaining charge points, but it also improves the reliability of charging and the user experience.
Improving grid reliability
So far, most national and regional power grids have been able to handle the current rate of EV adoption. The question is, will the grid be able to cope with the elevated levels of electricity demand when road mobility becomes 100 per cent electric?
The answer is likely yes, because there remains time to build more power generators and adopt more efficient power distribution technologies. If government targets in Canada are met, all new vehicles sold in 2035 will be electric. It will then take another 10 years before most internal combustion vehicles get phased out. This leaves us more than two decades to prepare for a fully electric road transportation system.
The real concern is not if the grid can generate enough electricity, but if it is able to maintain itself without incurring outages.
Grid reliability can be difficult to achieve when there are drastic short-term fluctuations in electricity demand, such as on an extremely hot summer day. Hence some experts are concerned that a fully electric mobility ecosystem may cause these sudden fluctuations in demand during busy times, for example, when a city hosts a large event, or during vacation season where road travel surges.
To offset these fluctuations and distribute electricity more efficiently, industry experts are putting their hopes on Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology. A core feature of V2G is bidirectional charging. This means that cars receive electricity from the grid and can also discharge into the grid when not in use, essentially serving as power banks. V2G allows parked vehicles to ease the heavy burden of electricity usage during peak times and give EV owners the opportunity to make money from selling electricity at a premium.
It’s now time to take quality and reliability seriously
E-mobility has passed beyond its introductory stage and is now entering a stage of rapid growth. Consumers will be much less tolerant towards product flaws and unsatisfactory user experiences.
It is time to prioritize quality and reliability.
To sustain the long-term growth of e-mobility and improve the EV user experience, Autocrypt will continue to deliver cutting-edge solutions for EV charging and charge point management.