The Solution to Solving the EV Charging Crisis
The boom in the electric vehicle industry, pushed by aggressive regulation, will soon hit a brick wall, especially in the urban areas where the benefits of a zero emissions vehicle are most needed. Overnight home-charging is ideal, but if you do not have access to this then “charge anxiety” becomes a real problem.
All motorists know that we already have an efficient system for ‘recharging’ vehicles. It is quick and consumers are used to it; Gas (Petrol) stations. This system of fast ‘recharging’ is second nature to consumers and solves many of the problems facing EV infrastructure roll out.
You do not require a dwelling with off-street parking to ‘refuel’. Petrol stations are already situated where they are most useful and profitable.
‘Refuelling’ is rapid
You can also purchase groceries and other convenience items whilst you ‘refuel’
This successful model has been frustrated by current battery electric vehicle (BEV) charging technology. Fuel Station operators are forced to deploy slow chargers that tie up much needed forecourt real estate with little profit. Current ‘fast charging’ technology still requires significantly more refuelling time than petrol or diesel and significant investment in both the station and the grid infrastructure.
Charging operators may set up new charging stations, in locations with low property values (lorry car parks, or the far side of retail parks for example) to enable BEV users to charge.
The mistake in the expectation for EV adoption has been the assumption that the majority of charging will be at home. This is not the case for many urban users. This is only possible in some suburban and rural areas. It is those in dense urban areas who have the most pressing requirement for BEVs due to the health problems associated with the toxic emissions of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. They also face the toughest challenges for charging. An urban residential street offers few opportunities to charge and there will be growing infrastructure and availability challenges to charge every electric car as they become ubiquitous. The challenges to providing charging infrastructure to every parking space in even the best provisioned employee car parks will also be considerable.
‘Charging anxiety’ is already replacing ‘range anxiety’ in the minds of consumers.
The concern is about finding a charger when needed, not in travelling as far as desired. If it is not possible to charge at home, or at work there will be a requirement for another charging solution.
The grid infrastructure cannot cope with the widespread introduction of high capacity ultra-fast chargers without a major upgrade.
A domestic three pin socket provides 7kWh and the fastest home charger is 22 kWh. In fact, the term ‘ultra-fast charger’ currently describes 150kWh which is far less than the 300kWh that the latest BEVs can operate at.
So, how do we charge the vehicles up quickly to replicate the current fuelling model?
Petrol stations require a high throughput of customers to enable the efficient use of the space available. There is also a considerable value to consumers in saving time. Car makers could then install smaller battery packs in vehicles as range anxiety will be no more of a concern than in current ICE vehicles. This reduces manufacturing cost and allows more cars to be built with the same resource. A far more sustainable solution. Battery cell developers are already working to enable faster charging cells.
The UK government has established a £950M funding programme to enable the roll out of charging infrastructure, announced last September. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rapid-charging-fund
Mykos is developing a solution that enables 350kWh charging without major upgrades to the infrastructure. This allows the grid to deliver the necessary number of fast chargers without a hurried and expensive rollout. They will further enable the distributed storage of energy to accelerate the exploitation of renewable power generation.
This is a complementary technology to the ‘six-minute charge’ that Mykos is developing for the vehicles themselves. These high-capacity chargers when paired with the ever-increasing battery capabilities within vehicles, mean that comparable ‘refuelling’ times will soon become reality and range and charger anxiety will become, a distant memory.