Electric Vehicles (EVs) have come a long way in recent years and are beginning to make headway in the public transit sectors.
Public buses are slowly outfitting drivers with electric buses, the public sector is introducing electric vehicles to their fleets, and numerous companies are setting initiatives to go fully electric by designated years.
Numerous factors make opting for an electric vehicle or introducing electric vehicles to a city fleet the right decision, but cities are running into a common issue:
The lack of EV charging infrastructure.
Fast charging, more charging stations, and efficient charging methods will certainly help build out the existing charging infrastructure, but there are a few issues that city councils and policymakers need to address!
What is EV Charging Infrastructure?
Electric vehicles or EVs for short are fully electric vehicles that do not require gas or diesel to operate. The upside to electric vehicles is the numerous environmental benefits paired with performance and quieter transportation.
EV charging infrastructure refers to all of the necessary equipment, components, grids, and charging stations necessary to support the rollout of more electric vehicles.
According to a Lighthouse Discom Programme case study, EV charging infrastructure refers to:
Electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), is a core component of a healthy EV ecosystem and requires adequate planning and dedicated electrical infrastructure at various levels of the distribution grid.
However, the primary issue is the lack of charging infrastructure and stations. EV charging infrastructure development is making headway, but there are still issues that must be addressed which we will share today!
The Big 4 EV Charging Infrastructure Issues
1. Charging overnight
When is the best time to charge an EV? Overnight.
The same goes for public transportation fleets and city vehicle fleets, the ideal time to charge the vehicle’s battery is at night or when it is not in use. A limited supply of charging stations makes this extremely difficult for cities to fully convert to EV only fleets.
In creating the availability of charging stations is a common issue that must be addressed, but for electric buses, in particular, the charging process can last six to eight hours. Unlike simply refueling in a handful of minutes, 6-8 hours of charging means buses are only utilized 66-75% of the day.
2. Enough EV Charging Stations
For the everyday commuter already using an electric vehicle, a common complaint or fear they experience from time to time is “Range Anxiety” which refers to being able to make it to their destination with enough electricity/energy.
In the event they can’t make it, they will have to stop and commence charging their vehicle to restore the necessary energy to finish their trip.
Having enough charging stations readily available is a common issue. One report indicated that to keep up with the current trajectory, there will need to be 20 million public EV chargers by 2030.
The same can be an issue for cities looking to move towards electric vehicles and fleets. Higher utilization of EVs and electric public buses requires a larger demand of charging stations. Simply increasing the sheer amount of charging station availability is a must to build out the infrastructure development.
Underserved communities, rural locations, and other areas are in desperate need of new charging stations in order to fully move towards EVs.
3. The Grid
A city has enough charging stations, but what about the electric grid and capacity requirements?
The solution for a lack of charging stations means increasing the number of charging locations, but that can’t occur without increasing electric grid capacities. The aforementioned report from Brattle estimates an investment need of $75 to $125 billion in the electric grid to have the capacity to meet charging infrastructure demands.
Smart and efficient charging infrastructure development will help, but building out the grid is a must to support the rapid EV adoption!
4. Plugging & Replugging
This might sound silly, but when a bus is done charging at a charging station, who is going to unplug it and plug in the next bus?
A current challenge facing transit departments is this very issue.
- Creating efficient charging systems and procedures
- Hiring employees to use charging equipment
- Keeping vehicles of the road to charge means utilizing vehicles appropriately
Electric Vehicles are STILL the future!
Any shift in how day-to-day life is carried out requires adjustments and with those adjustments, there will always be issues that need to be addressed. Figuring out the necessary solutions to support EV growth is a must.
And that development is already underway!
While this might sound futuristic to some, charging while driving concepts for buses is a solution to many of the problems mentioned above. Thing inductive roadways!
It could be a little far out before a highway can charge EVs, but fast-charging infrastructure development is in motion and with more EV stations, the future is bright for EV transit sectors!