In the 21st century, there is a huge demand for green technologies. Particularly, the rapid growth of modern cities has increased the necessity for urban mobility, resulting in excessive traffic, the use of copious amounts of fossil fuels, and subsequent environmental issues.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are one such example of emerging green technologies which aims to build sustainable transportation system in the future.
There is little doubt that the market for electric vehicles has experienced substantial expansion over time. Manufacturing, sales, and demand have all increased, and the market for electric vehicles is booming with new brands, models, and solutions. However, it is no secret that several difficulties are limiting the widespread adoption of electric vehicles among the masses.
Currently, limitations such as dead mileage while charging, intolerably long charging durations, inadequate management of public charging facilities, and difficulty with EV repair and maintenance are a few reasons behind the lack of commercially available EV models in the market.
Figure 1 Challenges faced by EV industry
However, to overcome these challenges, EV manufacturers and other stakeholders in the market are adopting different strategies to promote EVs globally.
One such strategy includes pushing favorable policies that encourage the private sector to participate in the development of innovative technologies. Such policies include offering incentives and bonuses for commercial EVs, providing high-power EV fast charging technology, actively developing commercial EVs, installing more charging infrastructure for private EVs, and fostering connections among stakeholders.
In this article, the key challenges and their emerging solutions for the growing electric vehicles market are discussed in detail.
Increasing Demand for Electric Vehicles and the Challenges Faced by the Industry
1. Finding a solution for long charging duration: One of the major roadblocks to the widespread use of electric vehicles is long charging time. A gas-powered car merely needs to pull into one of the many gas stations and spend a few minutes filling up the tank. Given the status of EV charging stations and charging timeframes in most countries, the convenience is difficult to match.
Therefore, the increasing demand for electric vehicles is spurring the direct current (DC) fast-charging infrastructure industry. The infrastructure for DC fast charging is expanding because of the rising demand for high power and fast charging solutions. An electric vehicle may need 6–10 hours to fully charge on a regular alternate current (AC) charger. Previously, electric vehicles’ short batteries meant that they needed to be charged quickly—in only a few minutes—to stay on the road for longer.
Ultra-high-power chargers (>250 KW) are generally used for heavy-duty vehicles, passenger vehicles, electric buses, and e-trucks. Due to the demand for the manufacture of new EV models for passenger vehicles, e-buses, and e-trucks to be charged more quickly than a conventional 50-100 KW DC fast charger, several businesses, including Tritium Pty Ltd, Tesla Inc., and ABB, are concentrating on fast charging systems.
Additionally, the development of EV charging infrastructure is being supported by funds and investments from the governments of various nations. For instance, the Swedish Transport Association Fast Charging Grant is one of the various EV charging incentives offered by the Swedish government, which spearheaded the campaign to use electric power as an alternative to conventional fuels.
Owing to various government initiatives supporting EV charging network infrastructural plans, the global EV fast-charging system market is expected to grow significantly.
According to the BIS Research report, the global EV fast-charging system market is expected to reach $10.82 billion by 2031, growing with a CAGR of 16.56% during the forecast period 2022-2031.
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2. Building efficient charging infrastructure: The absence of infrastructure and charging stations for electric vehicles is one of the most frequently cited problems. According to the BIS Research analysis, there might be 35 million electric vehicles on the road in the U.S. by 2030. However, there are only 100,000 charging stations throughout the nation.
Therefore, while many people are encouraged to buy electric vehicles, there will be serious problems if there are not enough charging stations for them.
Figure 2 Charging facility for electric vehicle
In addition to favorable government initiatives to provide effective infrastructure, cutting-edge technological solutions such as smart charging stations are emerging as the best response to this issue.
The smart charging solutions allow station operators to operate multiple charging stations with a cost-effective solution and in an energy-efficient manner. To optimize the charging infrastructure, station operators can choose from a wide selection of smart charging systems that produce and distribute power in a flexible and effective way.
The smart meter’s ability to connect to the internet via a local area network (LAN), wireless local area network (WLAN), or the global system for mobile communications (GSM) makes these smart charging stations relevant to other electrical devices as well.
This also allows for smart artificial intelligence (AI)-based decisions to help boost the efficiency of the network and distribute power more efficiently as time passes. Furthermore, the networks also help in providing updates on maintenance and repair that may be required.
3. Reducing the cost of electric vehicles: Only a few consumers are willing to purchase EVs at a higher price. EVs are supposed to have substantially lower maintenance costs than gas-powered vehicles, but their initial cost is higher. If more consumers are to buy electric vehicles, this pricing discrepancy must be decreased.
Currently, lithium-ion batteries constitute more than 50% of the price of EVs. Costly battery repairs or replacements are one of the factors contributing to higher insurance rates.
Therefore, car manufacturers are striving to reduce the cost of these expensive batteries. For instance, Elon Musk has stated that improved battery technology could result in a $25,000 Tesla vehicle because of his efforts in this area. If that were to happen, EVs would undoubtedly be a much more cost-effective substitute for gas-powered automobiles.
As public awareness increases, so will the consumer demand for eco-friendly goods such as electric vehicles. Startups can make a significant contribution to the adoption of EVs as a sustainable mode of transportation and the transformation of the mobility industry by businesses and consumers alike.