The electric vehicle, or EV, market is growing rapidly as consumers become more aware of the benefits of EVs. According to the International Energy Agency, sales of electric cars (including fully electric and plug-in hybrids) doubled in 2021, setting a new record of $6.6m. And it kept rising strongly into 2022.
The growth has led to increased demand for EV charging stations, as electric vehicles cannot be relied on to run solely on electricity from the grid. EV charging stations provide a convenient and reliable way to charge electric vehicles. The global EV charging market size is estimated to reach $217.47bn by 2030, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 34.49% between 2022 and 2030.
The charging infrastructures are not only growing in size but also going wireless. This can be the solution for many restrictions and complications the EV charging market faces.
Challenges facing EV charging stations
As cities and governments put their efforts into expanding EV charging stations, there are several challenges that come along the way. One is the need for reliable charging stations that work without issues. While that may sound like a given, it's become a big problem that hinders the nation's EV charging buildout. Longer charging times and unreliable payment methods due to stations being offline directly lead to customer dissatisfaction. For an EV charging company, unreliable charging stations mean a potential loss of revenue, as the stations may fail to charge the fee or EV owners may switch to other forms of transportation.
Another challenge is the high cost of monitoring and maintenance of the charging stations. It takes lots of time and money to conduct field visits for troubleshooting charging points. When there are charging points in remote or rural areas, it even adds more difficulty. On top of that, without an energy optimization solution, the cost of running these infrastructures during peak hours can be unnecessarily high.
Sending out real-time alerts and notifications for important events is also challenging when the charging points aren't connected. Companies can also find it difficult to handle a high volume of telemetry data generated from charging sessions. And the integration of various protocols for smooth operations is hard to achieve.
The intersection of IoT and EV charging
All these challenges are making the Internet of Things, or IoT, increasingly crucial for EV charging. According to McKinsey, nearly 40% of the IoT’s economic value will be contributed by operations optimization and account for $1.3trn by 2030. As electric vehicle sales continue to increase, there's a greater need for reliable charging stations.
Under the context of EV charging, IoT can best be explained as a combination of OT, or Operational Technology, and IT, or Information Technology. OT manages physical entities like devices, sensors, and connectivity, while IT handles digital transformation and communication. By connecting to the internet and becoming wireless, charging stations can offer a range of benefits and capabilities that are otherwise impossible with remote, offline devices.
An IoT system for EV charging comprises three major elements:
A mobile app
And, a charging management platform
Benefits of IoT in EV charging
There are multiple reasons why EV charging stations going wireless is beneficial. It can help with managing and monitoring the charging stations, as well as optimize energy usage. With IoT, companies can receive real-time updates on the status of the charging stations, so they can be quickly fixed if they go offline. This also allows companies to track the usage of each station, so they can better understand how to allocate their resources.
IoT's remote management capability can help reduce field visits and improve uptime and customer satisfaction. In addition, IoT connectivity can provide operators with data that can be used to enhance the design of future electric vehicle charging stations.
IoT can also help with managing energy usage during peak hours. By installing sensors and cameras at the EV charging stations, operators can know when the stations are used most heavily. This information can then be used to schedule electric vehicle charging during off-peak hours when energy rates are lower. This not only saves the company money but also helps reduce strain on the electric grid. Study shows that by implementing IoT connectivity technology, a mid-sized European EV charging company will boost annual revenues by 40%. It'll also decrease annual monitoring costs by 15%.
From an EV owner's perspective, IoT connectivity can be used to find the nearest available charging station and check its availability in real-time. They can also use the mobile app to start and stop the charging process, as well as view history and current status. In addition, some IoT platforms allow EV owners to pay for their charging sessions directly through the app. This is more convenient than having to carry around a physical card or key fob.
The future of IoT in EV charging
With more people buying electric cars, the demand for both wired and wireless EV chargers will continue to rise. According to Allied Market Research, 98% of the global EV charging market in 2020 was the plug-in segment. And it will retain the majority share of the market. However, the wireless charging system segment is projected to have the fastest growth, at a 28.8% CAGR, from 2022 to 2030. This technology is here to stay and will only become more prevalent in the years to come.
Many startups at Plug and Play, such as Jedlix, Switch-EV, Agevolt, Paua, and Rocsys, provide solutions for more intelligent, convenient, accessible, and sustainable charging experiences. Companies are also exploring peer-to-peer charging, a system where EV charger owners can share their chargers with other drivers when they're not using them.
IoT connectivity will change the EV charging landscape by making it more efficient and convenient for both EV owners and EV charging companies. It's important for companies to consider IoT solutions when planning their electric vehicle charging infrastructure. With the right solution in place, they can save time and money and improve the customer experience. By doing so, they can also future-proof their investment and stay ahead of the competition.
Read the original article written by Yuhan Ma
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