Discover what’s driving innovation in the EV sector, and which problems still need solutions.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sustainable modes of transportation require new power solutions.
  • Wireless, bidirectional, and intelligent charging systems are among the latest developments.
  • Public-private partnerships and blockchain-based solutions are improving electric vehicle (EV) charging.

UES stays informed about all advances in electrical technology. The infrastructure and tools connected to EV charging has proven to be a priority the growing number of EV owners. There’s been exciting news that should energize EV fans. Other aspects of this evolution are exposing the present limitations and challenges to more widespread EV adoption, and the development of a robust EV charging network to power them. Jump in for what’s new with electric vehicle charging stations!

The biggest trend: more charging stations nationwide

Today, there are more EV charging stations than ever; recent data reveals over 53,000 charging stations and 138,000 charging outlets already exist. This means consumer “range anxiety” (the fear of running out of charge mid-journey) is slowly diminishing as more electric vehicle charging stations appear. Nationally, that’s much better than the gas station/gas-powered vehicle ratio which currently equates to 21 EVs per charging port versus 2,500 gas-powered vehicles per U.S. gas station.

New styles of charging systems

Innovations in electric vehicle charging stations have limitations, but they point to easier, quicker methods of powering an EV. Wireless EV chargers which look like large electronic pads on the ground represent one emerging EV-charging trend. These pads use resonant electromagnetic conduction to generate electrical pressure, with EVs receiving power similar to charging a cell phone when they park on the pad. Imagine the convenience of parking at work or home, neatly within range of a wireless signal, then driving away later fully charged!

Keep this vision in mind; it’ll take a while before it’s provided efficiently. It still works slowly, and the infrastructure won’t appear overnight. Public interest in very high; several big companies are predicted to drive the market to $2.5 billion by 2030.

Bidirectional EV charging

Bidirectional EVs charge via electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and can resend that charge to a secondary source that’s also using EVSE. For example, with bidirectional charging, EV owners with a household charging station can use their vehicle to charge their house and vice versa. One potential future scenario features EVs using bidirectional charging en masse to help relieve the strain on America’s power grid.

There’s a good selection of bidirectional EVs on the market, and this emerging charging trend could save cut owners’ utility bills and lease payments on certain models. The V2X program from Pacific Gas and Electric Company and a Ford partnership with Duke Energy are funding research in this area, with participants eligible for thousands of dollars in incentives. 

However, Elon Musk isn’t sold on it, which could negatively impact public opinion. His concerns highlight a big flaw the method currently has. Using your EV battery to power your house isn’t helpful when you drive off and leave everyone at home in the dark! They’ll still have to use the power grid, negating bidirectional EV charging’s impact and minimizing its contribution to conserving electricity. 

Intelligent/Smart EV charging

Smart-charging EVs don’t just plug in and power up. The charger communicates with a data network to more precisely charge vehicles. Metrics, such as how long an EV charges and how quickly it does so are stored in EVSE software to influence smarter charging decisions via onsite infrastructure.

EV-charging systems ease pressure on local power grids and commercial buildings’ energy capacity. Smart charging could expand to cell phones, with apps that will help EV owners manage and pay for charging services onsite or remotely, allowing them to automatically set when charging starts and stops.

Public-private partnerships and blockchain-based solutions

Creating the expensive and expansive EV charging infrastructure, while managing security concerns, requires major cooperation between governments, private and public companies. As EV charging becomes smarter and more connected, it becomes more vulnerable to exploitation by hackers and other cybercriminals.

The U.S. Department of Transportation offers resources to help local governments adopt EV charging while considering all associated factors. Any companies considering adding EV charging stations to their premises (here are a few good reasons to do so) could be eligible for up to $30,000 in federal tax credits.

Blockchain is one of the most powerful forces helping emerging EV charging infrastructure provide more secure transactions. Furthermore, blockchain’s airtight recordkeeping capability can be used to receive and store EV data. This can create a detailed, dynamic history of every aspect of its condition and performance that public and private companies can share. The next time you charge your EV, you could effectively analyze your EV and provide your insurance company, mechanic, and auto manufacturer with valuable data.

EV charging in the (distant) future

European drivers have been testing electric charging roads. This powerful infrastructure works without sitting still for cable or wireless charging, just charging your car as you drive. It seems safe for people and EV batteries, but would be difficult and cost-prohibitive to deploy as a large-scale public project. The idea is cool and worth mentioning, but isn’t likely to be viable for quite some time.

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