As the move to EV adoption continues to increase, more people are considering EVs as, while not yet mainstream, certainly more in the realm of possibility rather than luxury. Yet standing in the way of adoption are myths about EV charging that date from the early days of electrification and still persist. Read on as we bust those myths and shed some light on the state of EV charging today.
MYTH 1: EVs are not really green because they increase the demand for energy generated by traditional fossil-fuel power plants.
BUSTED: Even including the electricity used for charging, EVs have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The key factor to how much smaller, is the type of fuel used to power generators, and that is highly dependent on where the EV is located. If the power is generated using solar or wind power, then EV driving is emission free. In Europe, 93% of the population has the option to use 100% renewable power for charging vehicles.
Charge point operators increasingly use smart energy management to incorporate energy from onsite renewables, usually solar panels, into the power supplied to the chargers, further reducing carbon footprint. Smart energy management can reduce generation demand by ensuring that EVs are charged only during non-peak times. During peak times, energy can also be supplanted by onsite storage and even from other vehicles using V2G (vehicle-to-grid) technology.
MYTH 2: EV drivers suffer from range anxiety.
BUSTED: EV automobiles today can travel 200 to 300+ miles on a charge. With the continuing improvement in battery technology, we can expect that distance to increase over time. Range anxiety has been replaced by “charge anxiety,” the concern about finding an available charger when it’s needed. That’s because EV drivers have encountered many issues with public chargers’ reliability, availability, and network stability (ability to provide adequate energy for a full charge in a reasonable time). Problems can range from failure to reset for the next customer to broken parts to issues with payments.
MYTH 3: As more people buy EVs, utilities won’t be able to supply enough power to buildings or neighborhoods and homes for EV charging.
BUSTED: Smart energy management for load balancing, in combination with integration of local renewable energy sources and battery storage, can smooth out the highs and lows of energy supply to ensure that EVs can be charged and ready to go when the drivers need them (see Myth 2).
Consider an office building where a large number of EV drivers expect to charge their cars during the workday and have them fully charged by 5 p.m. Without smart energy management, everyone plugging in at the same time could overload the building’s power supply. But with smart energy management, power supplied for charging can be staggered across vehicles.
Cars that have been charged at home – consider them “local battery storage on wheels” – can use V2X (vehicle-to-anything, in this case the building) to smooth out demand and get recharged later when demand is low again. Integrating local solar power and power from batteries charged overnight when power is less expensive can also contribute to grid balancing.
MYTH 4: EV total cost of ownership (TCO) is higher than ICE vehicles.
BUSTED: This myth has its roots in the early days of EVs, when they were considerably more expensive than comparable ICE vehicles. But prices are going down as volumes are going up and more manufacturers are making more EV models. Plus, there’s more to TCO than purchase price. Fuel-wise, electric is cheaper than gasoline, hands down. EVs also have many fewer moving parts that break than their ICE counterparts. One estimate puts EV maintenance at half of an ICE vehicle on average, and far lower than an ICE vehicle that has reached the mileage or age where extensive repairs and parts replacement normally are needed. And for at least the near term, only EVs have tax breaks and purchase incentives to further decrease TCO.
MYTH 5: EV fleets – buses, delivery vans and trucks – can’t operate efficiently because charging takes either too much time or, in the case of fast charging, too much energy.
BUSTED: An EV Fleet Management software platform can address the complex interactions of EV charging, energy management, and fleet operations with easy-to-use and highly automated tools. The software can ensure a seamless vehicle journey based on driver schedules, business priorities and the power needed to charge the fleet in a timely manner. At the depot, chargers can be kept up and running with self-healing algorithms that identify and fix up to 80% of charger issues remotely so charging operations are efficient to maximize fleet utilization. And as described earlier, smart energy management optimizes energy use within the depot and lowers costs, based on driver priority and time-of-use utility charges.
Summary: As private and commercial EVs become more mainstream, the charging infrastructure and management tools must keep pace. The goal is twofold: to ensure that homes and commercial buildings have the energy they need, and, at the same time, charge points and depots can keep drivers on the road without putting strain on the grid to the point that expensive upgrades are required. The end result will be happy EV drivers and a lower carbon footprint overall for a happier planet.