The electric vehicle (EV) market is growing rapidly as more consumers and businesses make the switch to emission-free transportation. With increasing EV adoption comes the need for widespread, convenient charging infrastructure to keep these vehicles powered up. Today setting up EV charging station business can turn into to a very profitable venture in the long run.
While Level 1 and Level 2 public charging stations have become commonplace, there are exciting new technological innovations on the horizon that will transform EV charging. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most promising developments that will allow EVs to charge faster, cheaper, and more efficiently.
Table of Contents
Ultrafast charging technologies
One of the main deterrents for consumers considering an EV is “range anxiety” – the fear that their vehicle’s battery will run out of charge before reaching their destination. Long charging times at Level 2 stations, which can take 8 or more hours for a full charge, compound this issue. However, new ultrafast charging technologies will soon make range anxiety a thing of the past.
DC fast charging
Direct current (DC) fast charging bypasses an EV’s onboard charger to deliver DC power directly to the battery. This allows for much faster charge rates up to 400 kW on newer EVs. Drivers can add hundreds of miles of range in 15-30 minutes of charging time.
Major DC fast charging networks like Electrify America are deploying stations offering charging speeds up to 350 kW along major highway routes. These ultra-fast chargers can add up to 20 miles of range per minute.
The Combined Charging System (CCS) uses DC fast charging with the standardized CCS plug. CCS allows both AC and DC charging, so drivers only need one port. Automakers like Tesla have proprietary plugs, while most other EVs use CCS for DC fast charging.
An alternative to ultrafast charging is exchanging a depleted battery for a fully charged one. NIO, a Chinese automaker, has built over 500 battery swapping stations across China that can replace a 70kWh battery in under 5 minutes. While drivers wait in the swap station lounge, their old battery is charged for the next customer.
NIO claims swapping is faster than the 15-30 minutes needed at a 350kW station. However, swapping faces challenges around standardizing batteries between automakers and ensuring adequate inventory at swap sites.
Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging allows EVs to transfer energy back to the grid when plugged in. This turns EVs into valuable grid assets that can help stabilize the grid by leveling supply and demand. V2G-enabled charging stations can coordinate the two-way transfer of power with a large fleet of EVs. For example, when solar energy production is high, EVs can store the surplus. Then, when demand peaks in the evening, their batteries can feed power back into the grid.
Vehicle-to-home (V2H) charging allows an EV to power a home during a grid outage. With bi-directional charging, energy can flow from the EV battery to home appliances. V2H requires an inverter to convert DC from the EV to AC for home use. It also requires a transfer switch to safely disconnect from the grid before powering the home from the EV.
Vehicle-to-load (V2L) charging allows an EV to provide power for various external loads. V2L outlets can supply AC or DC electricity without using an additional inverter. Applications include powering tools, lights, appliances, and electronics at remote work sites. Campers can use V2L to run amenities like fans, microwaves, and mini-fridges.
New liquid-cooled charging cables allow safe delivery of very high power levels. Non-cooled cables can overheat at ultra-fast charging rates. Liquid-cooling systems circulate dielectric fluid through the cable to carry away heat. The advanced cables also incorporate flexible segments near the handles for ease of use. This cooling technology enables consistent 400+ kW DC fast charging.
Smart charging stations can use load balancing to avoid overloading the grid. By coordinating a group of chargers, power can be shared efficiently. Charging speeds may be adjusted based on the capacity available at any given time. Drivers simply plug in, and the system handles optimizing the power distribution. This prevents blackouts from overwhelming the local grid.
Utilities can implement dynamic pricing for smart charging to reduce strain during peak demand. EV drivers pay less to charge during off-peak nighttime hours when electricity costs are lower. Critical peak pricing further discourages charging during grid overload conditions by applying much higher rates. Smart chargers automatically respond to these price signals.
RFID authentication – seamless payment
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards allow charging station payment by simply tapping or scanning a card. Networks like ChargePoint allow drivers to easily open an account and link a payment method to their RFID card. Then, drivers can seamlessly pay by scanning their cards at any station on the network.
Many charging networks also allow payment via smartphone apps. Drivers can install the network’s app and enter their payment information. At the charging station, the app provides a QR code to scan and start a session. Using an app provides the convenience of paying through a single account anywhere on the network.
If you are looking to turn these capabilities into real-world solutions, you need to develop apps for EV charging stations from reputable companies. Well-designed apps can provide key functionalities like locating charging stations, paying for charging sessions, monitoring battery levels, optimizing charge timing, and tapping vehicle-grid integration features.
While apps and RFID cards provide the most convenient experience, networks are also improving credit card readers. New contactless readers allow tap-to-pay for faster transactions. Swiping is eliminated, so drivers simply hold their cards near the reader. Readers are also being upgraded to accept chip cards and use encryption for improved security.
Real-time status monitoring
Charging networks can closely track the status of all stations in real-time. Data like charger availability, faults, usage levels, and charging speeds are constantly gathered and analyzed. Station owners can view live dashboards and receive instant alerts to issues. Real-time data also helps identify high-demand areas to target expansion efforts.
Full-color touchscreen displays provide an intuitive central interface for charging stations. Drivers can easily follow on-screen instructions for starting a session, authenticating payment, monitoring progress, and troubleshooting errors. Clear graphics and text offer a simplified user experience for minimal driver training. Multi-language support also accommodates diverse users.
Stations include heavy-duty components to withstand extreme weather and continuous use. Military-grade connectors maintain tight seals and reliable electrical contacts through years of constant plugging and unplugging. Vandal-proof enclosures, locks, and screens protect sensitive components. Weatherproofing preserves interior electronics in rain and snow. These measures maximize uptime and minimize the cost of ownership.
Employers are increasingly providing charging for employees as a benefit. Level 2 (240V) workplace chargers typically offer 10-30 miles of range per hour of charging. That can fully replenish an EV battery during a standard work shift. Businesses noted that workplace charging improves employee satisfaction and retention. Installing chargers also builds a company’s sustainability reputation.
The road ahead
After reviewing these exciting innovations, it’s clear that EV charging is entering a new era defined by unprecedented speed, intelligence, accessibility, and sustainability. As this next-generation charging infrastructure rolls out, it will unleash the full potential of electric transportation – faster charges, smarter grids, cleaner electricity supply, and new business models.
EV charging business is one of the topmost car app ideas in the automotive industry. With continued innovation, seamless and satisfying EV charging experiences will become ubiquitous. This will accelerate mass adoption and help make environmentally responsible E-mobility the new normal. The EV revolution has only just begun, and charging capabilities are gearing up for dramatic improvements to carry it forward.