With the diminution of the range anxiety, the availability of a large commercial offer, new and renewed charging infrastructure and the citizen awareness around climate change the number of sales of electric vehicles is increasing rapidly and are driving the growth of the sector.
At the same time, the charging industry continues to innovate and attract new investors. While some innovations are still a few years away and will bring new advances in electric vehicle charging, others are already improving the charging experience.
We would like to introduce you to six technologies that are already improving charging comfort or will do so in the near future!
Smart Charging of electric vehicles
Smart charging is a real breakthrough andis a must have to make EV charging sustainable in the long run. This technology provides reliable, safe, renewable, and cost-effective energy to electric vehicles. Above all, it allows for meeting the needs of each driver within the capacity of your grid or by leveraging renewable energy capacity. Smart charging is a key differentiator of charging points management systems and rely on the software to optimize the charging of vehicles taking into account multiple parameters. The number of parameters depends on what you want to optimize and how smart your system may become, this may integrate different parameters such as insights from the EVs or its near future usage , the chargers capabilities, the smart assets connected, the local production forecast, the cost of energy or signals from the grid itself.
Open E-Mobility solution will optimize charging by integrating the parameters mentioned above to minimize the impact of charging on your network while being certain than high priority assets such as your building is served first. Building the big picture – a digital twin – of your energy components This is essential since all energy needs to betaken into account. The core of smart charging is composed by an algorithm that dynamically distributes the cheapest energy when and where it is needed without omitting the most urgent needs.
Self-healing algorithm for electric vehicle charging management
Drivers are challenging charge point operators and e-mobility services to improve the charging experience. Indeed, there is a real need for better management of charger availability and stability to achieve a smooth charging experience.
Today, charging station issues due to poor maintenance, problem of connectivity or badge or hardware incompatibilies is frequently refered as a major concern by EV drivers (link to quechoisir), so drivers will definitively prefer to rely on trustworthy charging points network. Industry professionals should address these concerns and may rely on solution that allows for the addition of self-healing algorithms or predictive maintenance that will help them to provide the right quality level. Real-time and proactive problem discovery together with strong remote an onsite maintenance team would significantly improve the charging station network reliability and enable a smoother end-user experience and help the adoption of the solution.
Bidirectional charging or Vehicle to X (V2X) – Vehicle to everything
The concept of the vehicle to grid has resulted in thinking of the electric vehicle not just as a means of transport but also as a kind of external battery on the wheel. Thus, it is possible to restore part of the energy stored inside the vehicle battery according to the needs of the local grid. The goal is to generate more energy during the hours when the needs are the most important. During the hours when the needs are less important it would then be possible to recharge the vehicle. V2X for the vehicle to everything takes the concept a step further and includes all possible uses. That is anything that requires energy can be powered by a vehicle’s battery. Like a building or a house.
Environmentally friendly batteries
The comfort of use of an electric vehicle is also directly linked to the battery. Its constant improvement shows it well. Power and autonomy have made it possible to democratize its use.
Today, efforts continue to find alternatives to lithium-ion batteries. Research is focused on batteries that are less expensive, faster to charge, more durable and above all do not depend on the rarest minerals.
Certain advances in chemistry offer the promise of improvements, such as sodium-ion. Researchers and R&D laboratories are tracking down the smallest significant gains. They are experimenting with solid-state batteries or new shapes such as blades. Can you imagine a technology that would allow us to charge our cars in less than three minutes? It will be a real game changer for the whole industry.
The megawatt charging system for trucks
This is a real breakthrough that the whole world needs! Current ultra-fast charging solutions for trucks are in the range of 250kW and soon 350 to 500kW. For light electric vehicles, this offers the possibility of getting back on the road in 20 to 30 minutes with 80% of the battery. But for trucks?
Trucks are heavier and require more energy and therefore more power. With nearly four years in development, CharIN, the global standards body for electric vehicles, has launched a fast-charging connector. The Megawatt charging system, as it is called, is designed for heavy-duty vehicles. It is designed for DC charging of up to 3750 kW. This increases the truck’s range by about 320 km in just half an hour of charging. Above all, this allows trucks to get closer to 800km of range for one trip!
Credit photo : CharIN
Smart battery management for a second life
Batteries are made up of thousands of cells, grouped into modules that are connected to act as a single entity. When a number of these cells degrade, the battery becomes unusable for vehicles. However, intelligent management of the battery can give it a second life!
The batteries can then be stacked and racked so that they can be used with others. This creates a larger battery. This offers storage possibilities for a building, for example, and is particularly interesting for storing renewable energy and redistributing it intelligently.
The technology that makes this possible combine software, sensors, and hardware to correct faulty cells, optimize charging, and communicate with charging and energy management software.
A system that has already proven itself
At SAP Labs France, a battery of this type has been developed. The battery is composed of old Nissan leaf batteries that are no longer in use. Coupled with the Open E-mobility solution, it allows to smooth out the peaks of energy consumption without impacting the energy demand. In this way, energy from renewable sources can be captured and fed back into the local grid or the charging of electric vehicles.
Smarter, faster, more economical, and ecological. These are the challenges that must be overcome by the new technologies that will arrive in the coming years. To democratize electric vehicles, the experience must be the best for the users. The number of patents that are currently being filed by the sector testifies that our industry is on the right track!