Home News Driving Forward with Widespread Implementation of EV Charging Infrastructure

Driving Forward with Widespread Implementation of EV Charging Infrastructure

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The electric vehicle (EV) adoption is growing more and more momentum. If society wants to fully embrace an electric future, then it is crucial that the charging infrastructure is in place to keep pace with increasing demand. It is not without the challenges, however.

Even though EVs are only just a tiny fraction of the cars currently used around the world However, the trend is set to change to their benefit during the coming decade. Reliance on internal combustion engine-powered vehicles won’t be useful. An analysis by the analyst firm IDTechEx indicates that plug-in EVs represented $55 billion of sales revenue annually in 2020. IDTechEx has projected that the figure will be nearly an order of magnitude more at the end of the 10 years (reaching $502 billion in 2030). China is the one that has the highest number of EVs currently in use (with more than 4.5 million registrations) and Norway is the most popular (at about 75% of the new vehicle sales). However, it is important to recognize that if the amount of EVs currently on the road towards the end of the decade is to be given sufficient support, then there must be more widespread deployment to charging networks.

Dynamics driving EV adoption

IHS Markit estimates that by 2030, 23.5 million EVs will be sold each year (equating roughly 27% of new vehicles sold). The motivation behind this stems from several sources. The limited oil reserves are an important factor, along with growing concern about the negative impact on carbon emissions to the environment, and the way that pollution in the air is impacting the health of people being two other reasons. The availability of more powerful choices has also contributed to the increase in EV adoption in recent years and models like the Tesla Model 3 being the most sought-after EV with regards to sales of units in 2020, with more than 365,000 being sold across the globe in the year that year, as per the data released by Statista.

China is an example to follow, giving other economies an example to follow. The Chinese population is the largest with the most availability to EV charging stations. Recent statistics compiled by the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance (EVCIPA) indicate that there are currently more than 930,000 charging points that are available for public use throughout China and 700 battery swapping facility in operation. This is more than 10 times the amount of China, which is the country with the most charging stations (which would be that of the USA).

The Factors that Hold the EVs Behind

While governments are able to cut carbon emissions and address the climate crisis, consumers must have a an incentive to adopt the EV style of living. They will not switch to electric vehicles unless there are tangible benefits to doing so. They should be sure that a decision will not make them less fortunate. First of all, the cost cannot be considered as excessive. Furthermore, EVs will need to be as easy to use as internal combustion engines which is why making sure charging isn’t a hassle is crucial.

Let’s examine the cost that are involved in the first place. From a consumer perspective it is important to recognize that EVs remain expensive relative to similar internal combustion engines. When the number of vehicles used increases and prices rise, they are likely to fall, but we’re still not at this point. In the coming years, rising oil prices will contribute in a certain degree, to an equal level playing field in the coming years, as EVs cost the same for daily use are already much less expensive, and a further reduction is expected to offset more expensive capital expenses. In addition, the inverters used in EVs will become smaller and less costly as time passes, allowing vehicles cost tags to increase in value. The operating lifespans of batteries and inverters will grow, meaning that EVs won’t need replacement as frequently (again aiding in reducing the cost of ownership of their use to decrease). The economies of scale will eventually begin to take effect, with higher numbers of EVs being shipped resulting in lower prices, and then everything soaring from there. Government programs, like financial incentives to encourage consumers to get rid of their car and switch to an electric one and provide the push necessary to start this trend.

Alongside affordability Another concern for drivers considering switching to electric vehicles is that they will not be able to locate a place to charge their electric vehicle when taking longer journeys. This is often referred as “range anxiety”. Since the distance EVs are able to travel has increased (thanks to the inclusion of battery packs with higher density and more efficient engines) as well as the number of charging stations installed has increased, the issues about this sort of issue have diminished somewhat, however in order for the widespread EV acceptance is going to be a reality, it is necessary to address this issue in full. There are two clear methods of easing the anxiety about range. The first is to extend the distance EVs are able to travel. This can be accomplished by reducing EV weight, increasing battery capacity and making the powertrains more efficient. While the first versions could only reach distances of around 150km which meant they were restricted to short trips However, the most modern EV models can cover much more territory. There are models that can boast the range of 500km.

The constant advancement of battery technology will definitely allow the capacity of energy storage to increase. In addition, the use of broad bandgap (WBG) power switching technology is anticipated to increase the voltage levels of electric powertrains. Current 400V powertrain designs are beginning to be replaced with 800V models. One benefit of this is that lightweight, more efficient cars could be built and the distances between recharges getting longer. Another advantage is that the charge durations supported can be cut down.

Figure 1: The TW070J120B MOSFET from Toshiba.

Ideal for use in the next generation of EV charging infrastructures with higher voltages, Toshiba’s TW070J120B is an N-Channel MOSFET that is 1200V rated. It is based on the silicon carbide (SiC) technology This power switch has an extremely low on-resistance, 70mO, which minimizes power loss. It is compatible with 50kHz switching frequencies and delivers an efficiency of 98%.

Another issue that should not be ignored is the possibility of queues building in peak times due to the amount of time it takes to refill batteries for electric vehicles. While petrol stations can provide the capacity to fill up quickly that allows customers to refill their vehicles , and going home in less than a couple of minutes, charging stations for EVs will have customers waiting some time. This is the reason why replacing of traditional charging outlets with ultra-fast, high-current outlets will be crucial. In the event that they are installed, it could take between 20 and 30 minutes to charge out. It is essential to ensure that there is more availability of outlets in charging points than traditional petrol stations for cars, which means more customers are attended to at any given moment.

Another aspect that has to be taken into consideration is the strength that the grid can provide. As the number of EV customers grow and the demand for electricity increases, the issue will be whether the electricity distribution system is able to support them or if the load could be too much. If, as in the scenario that the International Energy Agency (IEA) often refers to, in which 75% of all vehicles will be powered by electric vehicles in 2050 they will require around an average of 900 TWh per day. This is a massive amount of power that must be supplied. While the popularity of electric vehicles is growing as well, there is shifting away from the using power stations powered by gas or oil. Instead, there will be a greater dependance on renewable energy sources in the near future. As we’ll learn in the next section this will bring major challenges along with it.

Aligning EV Charging to Renewable Generation

If EVs are to be considered eco-friendly, and help contribute to carbon emission reductions that are required to stop global warming, then the power they consume is not able to be generated by sites run with fossil fuels. Thus, the electricity would have to be produced by renewable sources. The issue with this is the fact that solar power plants as well as wind farms are subject to large seasonal and daily variations of their production (depending on the external conditions). It is therefore essential that measures be implemented to ensure that grid power can meet the demands that are placed on it.

The availability of battery banks allows energy produced through renewable sources to be utilized during peak consumption times (thereby taking care of any gaps in the capacity of generation at that moment). Batteries of EV could play some role to play in this, as they can provide reserves of energy storage that can be connected with the mains of the home. The implementation of bi-directional charging systems could mean that, aside from drawing power from the mains power supply, there is the possibility of the batteries of EVs injecting stored energy back to the grid for load balance purpose. The owners of EVs could earn money from their utility and, as a consequence help pay back some of the initial cost of purchasing the vehicle.

Figure 2: The highly integrated Bourns Hybrid GMOV circuit protection solution.

When load switching is high-power regularly it is possible to run the possibility of high-speed voltage transients forming in charging equipment for electric vehicles – that is why superior circuit protection mechanisms are required to be utilized. This Bourns Hybrid GMOV is specifically made for these kinds of devices safeguarding electrical circuits from voltage surges. Available in a 14mm by 20mm size the integrated system is more efficient and durable than traditional discrete solutions. It comes with a small gas discharge tube as well as metal oxide varistor.

Conclusion

The automotive industry is looking forward to a time when EVs will be the main market. However, it’s wise to be aware that there are still significant challenges to be overcome. In order to increase the powertrain voltages and expand the distance of travel between recharges, and increasing the amount of charging stations that public motorists can use It will be possible to create EVs more attractive to the people who are buying cars. In parallel, major modifications to the electrical distribution infrastructures will need to be made.

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