Transition to electric vehicles requires significant expansion of infrastructure and network capacity to accommodate charging.
How will distribution systems keep up with demand, while being future-proofed against evolving mobility requirements?
Every major car manufacturer now has at least one electric vehicle (EV) on the market. Whether privately owned or part of a commercial fleet, EVs are already a key component of the current vehicle mix and will play a fundamental role in defining our mobility future.
Governments are introducing legislation and incentives to further accelerate this direction of travel, but the vehicles themselves are just one part of the puzzle. Mass adoption of EVs will only be viable if the necessary public charging infrastructure is in place to accommodate such growth.
We need to have charging infrastructure on the road and travel destinations.
However one cracks it, electric transport systems not only require a major expansion to the existing infrastructure, but the charging of EVs must also become significantly faster in order to keep everyone’s cars on the road.
“A lot of people charge their cars at home or at workplace, but we need to have charging infrastructure on the road and travel destinations,” says Birgit Dargel, Vice President Sales eMobility at Siemens Smart Infrastructure.
Though most vehicles are currently not charged during their journey, charging habits will change as technology improves and drivers switch to EVs for longer journeys.
“Fast-charging infrastructure is essential to drive e-mobility forward,” says Dargel. “People want charging as fast, secure and reliable as refueling a car.
Slow charging, usually at home, can take anything from 6-12 hours at a power of 3kW. Fast charging, which is becoming more common in public infrastructure, can take between 1-3 hours at a power of 7-22kW. More ultra-fast charging at higher power levels, however, will be required in the near future, as will the public infrastructure to charge an ever-growing number of vehicles. Such technologies could, ultimately, be arranged in charging hubs in city centres, as planners build shifting mobility requirements into city design.
People want charging as fast, secure and reliable as refueling a car.
“The number of private charging points is growing now, and people will buy EVs if they can charge them at home or nearby,” says Dargel. “But not everyone can put a charger at his or her home. So we need more charging hubs, or more charging points in public places, like car parks, shopping centers or near stations.”
These could feature slow charging for park and ride, where drivers will be gone for the day, and fast charging for those needing to refuel quickly during a short stay.
“Public charging spaces will change,” Dargel remarks. “They will not be parking lots with one or two charging points only. There will be charging hubs or mobility hubs with links to train or bus stations, and these may become venues in themselves, with cafés and shops.”
“Investment is needed now in charging infrastructure that is ready for future technologies,” Dargel adds. “Capacity is increasing, from 20kW or 50kW up to 150kW, but new cars will have higher battery capacity, so we need chargers that can upgrade to higher voltages. We need scalable technologies to fit the needs of modern cars.”
A new fast-charging infrastructure will place a huge additional burden on the power grid, so an effective charging network needs more than the installation of charging hubs.
“There must be a way of reliably providing the load according to the needs of cars arriving at different times and charging with individual capacity,” Dargel emphasises. “These future hubs will need more energy than a petrol station or a shopping centre today, and energy consumption will vary. Detailed planning is needed to provide the electrical infrastructure to cope with the pressure on the grid.”
There must be a way of reliably providing the load according to the needs of cars arriving at different times and charging with individual capacity.
The more EVs that are charged at the same time, the more likely it is that the grid will be overloaded. Distribution system operators will need to act fast to create the infrastructure, and innovative solutions will be needed at the grid edge, where power consumption meets demand. Battery storage and decentralised energy systems must also be considered.
“We’ve been looking at trends of electrification for a while now and have been in action to serve EV customers with fast, reliable and convenient charging,” says Richard Bartlett, senior vice president, future mobility solutions. “We plan to roll out a mix of rapid and ultra-fast chargers in advantageous locations and mobility hubs for fleets across the world
We need a holistic approach involving policymakers, suppliers, end users and network operators. All need to be committed to building the e-mobility infrastructure.
“One of the most significant challenges is the complex planning process, in which different authorities, stakeholders and companies are involved,” adds Bartlett.
Regulatory hurdles are the biggest blockage to the development of an ultra-fast charging network, Bartlett believes, and legislation will have to catch up with technological advances if the greener future governments want is to become a reality. Working together with the network operators to electrify transportation will accelerate both the adoption of EVs but also the pace at which charging infrastructure is built out across Europe.
“We need commitment from all stakeholders,” urges Dargel. “We have incentives and subsidies, yes, but the development of the network needs to be pushed more. We are facing a regulatory challenge more than a technical one. We need a holistic approach involving policymakers, suppliers, end users and network operators. All need to be committed to building the e-mobility infrastructure.”
For better web experience, please use the website in portrait mode.
This is Scientechnic's website for the Middle East region. This website does not offer any goods or services and will not process any orders for European residents due to legal requirements (GDPR). If you are viewing this message outside the EU territory, please email email@example.com.
I am from the EU and I want to exit the website
I fully understand but would like to continue using the website
It appears that you are trying to register from the European Union. Unfortunately, due to EU regulations (GDPR), we are unable to process any registration request from EU residents. If you are viewing this message outside the EU territory, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.