To achieve net-zero emissions targets in the decade of the battery, Electric Vehicles (EVs) will fashion the intersection between mobility and infrastructure. By July 2021, two-thirds of Oslo’s residents owned an EV. The highest density of public charging stations in Europe is in the Netherlands. Much of the EV adoption leadership has its epicentre in Europe, where EV adoption has surged. While plug-in sales have soared by 43% against a global light vehicle decline of 14%, this growth is concentrated in specific geographies, and electric’s total share of the light vehicle market shudders at just about 4%.
The environmental impact of EV uptake is indisputable. Road transport pollution contributes over 20% of all CO2 emissions. EVs reduce harmful vehicle emissions by up to 30% when operating with electricity generated from fossil fuels. This figure crosses the 70% threshold when EVs use renewable energy sources. At the heart of the hesitation to make the transition is range anxiety. This is the fear of running out of battery before reaching a charging point. Range anxiety explains why the transition has crept, despite the regulatory push from governments, and technology improvements from EV manufacturers, a 15% increase in the range of EVs due to improvements in battery technologies, and the proliferation of charging point infrastructure.
The present momentum to build charging infrastructure also aims at reducing the risks that can convert grid-scale battery storage into a development bottleneck. In many countries, the charging infrastructure transition increased fourfold between 2015 and 2020, despite the undertow associated with applying for permits to build chargers, constructing charging sites, and permissions to connect to the national electricity grid. None of these processes are agile nor straightforward.
They require scheduling and planning to kick off. In metropolitan centres with high charging demand, the electrical grid has to be upgraded to expand power capacity—which include expensive and time-consuming updates to infrastructure. This challenge is robustly coupled to the scarcity of resources, including skilled technicians, production capacity for fast-charging hardware, and sufficient green energy to make EVs fully environmentally friendly.
EV charging infrastructure is also costly. Across the EU, an archetypal 350-kilowatt (kW) charger can cost about $150,000. This includes hardware, installation, and preparation and planning fees. Distributed charging station networks are now needed, given the expected exponential growth in EV adoption, but also because of range anxiety. In the Netherlands, the government is stimulating the infrastructure network and installing numerous EV charging points to confront the psychological obstacle of range anxiety, and take it away from EV driving. The government of the Netherlands recognizes that widespread access to charging stations builds the momentum underpinning EV adoption.
Steep slopes, weather patterns disrupted by climate change, congestion, road SurfaceDNA that displays transversal fissures, crocodile cracks and potholes from stress, and vehicle acceleration all impact an EV’s achievable range, on a single charge. Using this data, technology can help provide accurate range calculations for more predictable and less anxiety-inducing trips. Knowing the information in advance is vital to strategic and safe EV route planning. To build trust and sustain the momentum of adoption, accurate range information is key.
Advanced road knowledge is pivotal for EV car manufacturers. With precise knowledge of the terrain ahead, an EV can estimate and optimize its energy management. For instance, if the driver planned an itinerary that included a commute along a road with a fast-charge station, using the in-vehicle navigation system, the EV can then use this data to start pre-conditioning the energy storage pack to achieve the optimal temperature for charging upon arrival. This improves charging speed. Hybrid vehicles can also consume more energy from the battery pack along a steep slope to Maracas Bay, if the car knows that it can recuperate charge, negotiating downhill sections of the North Coast Road.
To achieve ubiquity, charging companies and governments are offering incentive schemes and establishing public mandates for building private chargers. Consumers are offered a refund if they install a wall box. Municipalities have established new requirements and subsidies. Apartment buildings and other multiunit communities are now required to offer charging stations as a condition for Town and Country Planning Approval.
Companies now install chargers at office carparks — as charging stations are fast becoming a standard requirement of approved building and dwelling designs. These inducements disrupt and dismantle any possibility of bottlenecks for EV growth in communities, cities, and workplaces. The new in-dash navigation systems with connected services technology offer commuters a seamless EV commuting experience. Predictive systems will tell drivers if their favourite destinations can be reached without having to recharge, as well as displaying the charging options available to them – based on compatibility with their battery configuration and real-time availability of charging points.
On Monday 6th June 2022, Apple announced that its new software connects deeper into the core driving systems of cars. Apple unveiled a new car dashboard and announced that it was in talks with Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and Honda, and that vehicles with the new software will not be announced until late in 2023. Apple’s car software has been in vehicles since 2014, and is currently available in over 600 models – including a few motorcycles.