The world is transitioning from gas-guzzling cars to electric vehicles (EVs). And as we make this shift, the infrastructure around EV charging is evolving to cope. Thanks to technological advancements, charging an EV has never been easier. One noteworthy development recently dominated the news cycle as seven automakers joined forces for a North American venture and the widespread acceptance of Tesla’s connector design as a potential industry standard.
There have been many recent developments in EV charging trends and innovation that have continued to move the industry forward so there are also some lesser-known trends worth paying attention to. According to Bloomberg’s Three Trends to Watch in Electric-Vehicle Charging here are three trends to keep an eye on:
- Energy Storage
- Grid Flexibility
- Trucking Network
We have a few more we’d like to add and some takes on their list…
Energy Storage – Electricity Trading Industry Continues to Grow
With the increasing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), automakers are now venturing into the energy market, providing substantial flexibility for the coming decades.
According to BloombergNEF’s Economic Transition Scenario, the storage capability of all EVs is projected to reach an impressive 52 terawatt-hours by 2040, which is 570 times more than the currently deployed grid storage. Additionally, the annual electricity consumption of these vehicles is estimated to be around 3,200 TWh, accounting for approximately 9% of the global electricity demand.
Grid Flexibility – Electric Vehicles Enhance Future Energy System Flexibility
In a groundbreaking development, electric vehicle (EV) batteries emerge as a key player in managing electricity demand and grid energy flow. Major automakers have begun exploring the potential business models and technology required for this innovative approach. General Motors plans to introduce vehicle-to-home bidirectional charging technology across its EV lineup by the 2026 model year. Renault intends to launch a vehicle-to-grid service with its R5 model in France and Germany next year.
Notably, Tesla is already making strides in this space. In Texas, the company offers a convenient overnight home charging service at a nominal fee of $25 per month. While Tesla does not currently manage vehicle batteries, in California, Powerwall owners can earn up to $2 per kilowatt hour by discharging energy back to the grid, resulting in annual earnings ranging from $200 to $500. Tesla retains a modest 20% share of these earnings, with plans to expand this initiative to the UK, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Likewise, Volkswagen announces its foray into the power market by engaging in electricity trading on Germany’s largest short-term power exchange through its Elli division.
This dynamic landscape presents both established automakers and emerging players with new opportunities. Notably, UK-based startup ev.energy recently secured an impressive $33 million in funding to propel its growth in this rapidly evolving industry.
Trucking Network – Truck Charging Sector Gains Momentum
The truck charging sector is seeing increased activity as it prepares for significant growth. According to BloombergNEF, the number of electric big rigs on roads outside China is projected to grow from 6,500 at the end of last year to 12 million by 2040. To support this growth, the sector will require 280,000 public chargers. The infrastructure of truck stops is already established and perfect for EV charging stations. Love’s Travel Stops has been installing a charging network for 4 years now. So the industry is moving in the right direction. The utilities are catching on. Look how many locations Pennsylvania awarded to Love’s and Pilot Travel Centers in the first round of NEVI funding…
In a recent development, WattEV introduced the largest public truck-charging station in the US. This station has the capacity to pull 5 megawatts of power from the grid and can charge 26 trucks simultaneously. While this is a relatively modest amount compared to other upcoming truck stations, some of which will tap into the grid for over 25 megawatts, it is worth noting that the power requirements of entire towns typically fall within this range.
New truck charging joint ventures have emerged in the US and Europe, as Greenlane and Milence introduce numerous additional stations. In related news, Tesla aims to secure nearly $100 million in US government funding to construct nine semi-truck charging stations, spanning from the southern border of Texas to northern California.
The article also added wireless charging and battery swapping…which we discount completely as expensive and infrastructure heavy ideas that are impractical.
Electric Vehicle Battery Swapping – Many industry experts express doubts about the widespread adoption of electric vehicle battery swapping across the nation. Car manufacturers already face challenges in securing the necessary minerals for vehicle production, making it difficult for them to meet existing demands. Implementing battery swapping would require a significant increase in the number of batteries stored at changeover stations, all of which would need to be kept on a trickle charge and maintained by personnel.
Additionally, this approach would necessitate extensive redesign efforts by numerous car manufacturers to accommodate the new infrastructure. Considering these factors, it seems unlikely that the required infrastructure will be established at a nationwide scale. However, there might be potential for isolated regional taxi and delivery services to adopt this model.
Shibashis Bhowmik, CEO of Sinewatts had a solid take on wireless charging:
Wireless charging is one of the biggest duds – infinitesimal benefit for a giant amount of energy loss, not to mention multiple unnecessary hardware subsystems and the amount of generation, transmission, distribution that’ll be required to supply those losses. Perhaps, it’s appealing for the those that like incremental bells and whistles but wasting public funds for wireless charging built into roads, like in Michigan, is just plain wrong.
Aftab Raza, CEO of FynValue expanded on these trends in a great LinkedIn post:
3 exciting uncovered trends in #evcharging 🔌🚗 from Bloomberg’s latest article:
1- Automakers making moves int electricity trading 📈 as #electricvehicles #batteries🔋 are shaping #electricity demand as well as can send #energy back to the grid.
2- Truck Charging Stops 🚚 start to grow fast in both US and Europe and again automakers are in action.
3- Despite challenges, automakers continue to explore wireless 📡 charging’s potential for EVs.
What other #ev charging trends are in the headlines?
– Plug and Charge adoption: 🔄 Streamlining charging by eliminating separate authentication for EV owners.
– eRoaming: 🌍 Seamlessly charge at various stations with just one account managed by your preferred mobility provider.
– Optimized energy management: ⚡ Ensuring cost-effective and efficient electricity use during charging.
– Public vs. domestic charging: 🏡 While public charging grows, home charging remains dominant for EV owners.
– Smart charging: 📶 Improve user experience with Wi-Fi, remote monitoring, and vehicle status updates.
– V2G technology: ⚙️ Electric vehicles become energy sources, supplying the grid during peak demand. Also get used to other terms V2L (vehicle to load), V2H (vehicle to home) and V2X (vehicle to everything).
– #renewableenergy integration: ☀️ Powering stations with renewable sources, like solar panels.
– Innovative business models: 🛠️ Diverse services and collaborations emerge around EV charging, including unexpected players like #oilandgas companies.
We would add a few trends to the list…
Plug and Charge Adoption
Every Tesla owner understands this completely and it is really what sets Tesla apart from the competition. This is the key to electric vehicle adoption and should be table stakes for any OEM with an EV lineup.
Plug & Charge revolutionizes the EV charging experience by providing a seamless and secure solution for drivers. With no additional steps required, all drivers have to do is connect their EV’s charging cable to the charge point, and their vehicle immediately starts to charge. Powered by ISO 15118, the international standard for EV charging, Plug & Charge ensures a future of secure and user-friendly charging.
Plug & Charge kicks RFID tags and mobile apps to the curb. It also ensures that EV charging becomes safer for women EV drivers, which is problem the biggest underreported issue by the media.
There are independent agencies working on this. Amit Bhonsle, Head of Product at Hubject announced this on LinkedIn:
I am excited to share that Hubject is working with CharIN to integrate the CharIN V2G Root Certificate into Hubject’s Plug&Charge ecosystem. At Hubject, we strongly believe that an open and fair environment is essential to make charging easier for the EV driver and we will ensure interoperability with any other Plug&Charge solution that is introduced in the market, both in North America and the EU.
The best way to fix this is for OEMs to realize that full software integration is the best path forward, but that is probably a hope and a prayer.
EV Drivers vs. Utilities
Utilities are legal monopolies. EV drivers are becoming a lot more sophisticated about utility energy rates, demand charges, peak rates, etc and what it means to deal with a monopoly when charging an electric vehicle. And they are getting loud about it…
Electric vehicle charging technologies have come a long way since the first charging station. The world is quickly moving towards electrification, and, as such, various charging station innovations are emerging. The advancements we’ve looked at today, such as plug and charge, V2G, wireless charging, battery swapping, and more, address key customer pain points that traditional charging stations have failed to solve. With these new innovations comes greater flexibility in balancing electricity loads, reduced electricity costs, and convenience for EV owners. It’s exciting to see new developments emerging continuously, which will further revolutionize the way we think about electric vehicle charging.