Before companies jumped into the electric vehicle (EV) industry, the idea of an electric car seemed a dream of champions when it came to disruptive technologies, lovers of upscale and luxury products or environmentalists. The idea of switching to sustainable choices for a greener future 20 years ago was even a threat to traditional markets.
Fast forward to 2021, where not only are sustainable solutions a profitable business, media outlets report daily about the growing market and its financial advantages as a prime topic.
Yet, as we look into greener solutions mostly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, new challenges emerge. The current growing EV market lacks charging solutions for the growing demand.
Some Bumps In The Road
More than 250 new electric models and plug-in hybrid EVs will be introduced to the industry in the next two years. Yet, the current charging options are not enough. For example, while Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) EVs can charge at non-Tesla locations, the same cannot be said for non-Tesla models — Tesla charging stations are exclusively for Teslas. This adds an extra barrier as now charging stations are not as simple as just parking and choosing between regular and premium gas.
While charging at home is convenient, the fast-charging infrastructure is essential and requires imperative innovations. Current EV owners not only deal with limited stations but also with the fact that whenever they find one, it is likely that it is very busy.
Additionally, to have more places to plug an EV, electrical infrastructure needs upgrading. EV charging at scale requires careful planning of a building’s electrical distribution system as well as local electric-grid infrastructure.
U.S. President Joe Biden is pushing to add more than 500,000 charging stations over the next four years. However, would this be enough?
Where Is All The Energy Going To Originate?
Many who are against this new industry believe that we will need to multiply the generation of energy, which will reinforce the coal market. Yet, as we move to better resources, clean energy is the future. For example, adding solar panels to the equation can help with this issue.
Finding new solutions for charging is beneficial to automakers, however, beyond the dollar sign, there is a far greater environmental, technological and innovative impact.
Diversifying sustainable choices will play an important role as more charging stations will be needed. Besides, this approach helps to reduce the dependence on fuels as a source of energy.
In the U.S., renewable energy from solar and wind generators is breaking records of integration into the electricity grid without compromising reliability.
In 2012, the city of San Diego in partnership with San Diego Gas and Electric implemented a pilot project at the San Diego Zoo with 10 solar photovoltaic canopies. This program gives access to 5 charging stations, and when not used the energy is stored in a battery system.
Google also powers a portion of the 750 charging stations designated for its employees with the solar energy generated by its own PV systems.
The Worksport Approach
As new models are being developed to do more than just provide transportation, cars can be another source of energy. Companies like Worksport have developed solutions to store energy through solar panels in modular battery packs.
The company took its Trailblazer product design of bed tonneaus for pickup trucks and transformed it into the mounting system folding truck bed tonneau to store power through its solar panel capabilities. This innovation gave birth to TerraVis™.
Soon, relying on charging stations or home plug-ins will not be the only option to grow the EV market.
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