The electrified future
As governments and societies embrace the idea of a green future, it becomes apparent that the future of transportation is indeed electric. As opposed to the combustion engine, electric vehicles produce no emissions while driving, potentially making EVs the missing link between renewable energy production and transportation. And yet, there are still massive obstacles to the broad adoption of electric vehicles. Range anxiety and doubts about cold weather performance are seen on the consumer side of things, while a need to improve the electric and the IT infrastructure are the challenges on the supplier side. Thankfully, the ingenuity of scientists, engineers, and software developers provides innovative solutions for these problems, some of which are presented hereinafter.
Creative solutions that make EV adoption easier
Charge planning and infrastructure
Merely supplying modern electric cars will not cut it when it comes to electrifying transportation. Charge planning is vital for providing seamless transportation via EVs. The more charging stations are available in a region, the easier efficient planning becomes. But these energy terminals require their own infrastructure, entailing a wide array of construction work to be done and power stations to be built.
But what if stationary charging points were not the only solution to the battery life problem? In Michigan, the USA's first public wireless in-road charging system is making progress. The road itself powers the vehicle via inductive charging on the go. This technology potentially contributes to alleviating the so-called „range anxiety“ of potential EV adopters. And the US is not the only country interested in this revolutionary technology. The "Smartroad Gotland" is a successful experimental project in Sweden, developed by Israeli company ElectReon.
Power transmission and grid stability
For a completely emission-free vehicle, the energy used for driving should also be produced from non-fossil sources. For this to happen, the electric infrastructure has to grow with the demand for electric transportation. This is true for the charging station side as well as the overall electric grid of a region. Technologies like wind and solar are highly conditional in their power production, which does not map onto the energy requirements. One example of this is the recent push for renewable energy in Australia. Too many new energy producers going online in a short time period caused power grid issues and temporary shutdowns. Methods of energy storage like modern battery technology are one way to tackle the idle power problems of grids with a high percentage of renewable energy sources.
Cold weather efficiency and heat pumps
Unlike cars with combustion engines, not a lot of surplus heat is generated with electric motors. Thus, any heating or cooling means additional draw on the battery in settings without a heat pump. The addition of one allows for advanced thermal management between waste heat from the motor, cockpit temperature, and the benefit of heating the battery in cold conditions with high efficiency. While the basic concept of heat pumps is not new at all, the ongoing miniaturization of machines is well-known in engineering. Combined with advanced onboard computer control in modern vehicles, this paves the way to highly efficient, mass-producible, and cost-efficient heat pump systems for electric cars.
IT-Systems not communicating with each other - "Tower of Babel."
One would think that in an age where digitization and worldwide information flow are much talked about topics, the software solutions in place would reflect that. However, a recurring pattern in real-life mobility solutions is the lack of communication between subsystems. It seems essential to have streamlined platforms that can pull live data from vehicles and charging stations alike. On top of that, communication to other software applications via API in secure and reliable ways ends the "Tower of Babel "-Situation, where everyone is talking in his own language, and nobody understands each other. Streamlined, secure, and interconnected mobility solutions are the strong point of Azowos SaaS mobility vision.
The assumption that the adoption and maintenance of electric vehicles and fleets will speed up in the foreseeable future seems like a reasonable one. This is based on technological advancements that happen now, alone. However, since infrastructure plays an important role, local and regional factors will significantly affect the transformation.