Do Drivers Need Additional Support to Transition to EVs?

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Do Drivers Need Additional Support to Transition to EVs?

The Biden administration recently passed a $1.75 trillion Infrastructure Act with the aim to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the U.S. and help establish a nationwide EV charging infrastructure. The goal of 500,000 chargers nationwide by 2030 will mean potentially tripling the number of charging stations currently available across the country. It will include long-distance oriented ‘ultra-fast’ EV chargers along highway corridors, and multiple public charging options within communities to support the transition to EVs for drivers with limited access to off-street parking.  

Government-subsidized charging will also not be the only expansion of the existing EV infrastructure. Last month, Tesla announced plans to triple its supercharger network within two years, albeit with no nation-specific details at this stage. Electrify America, which currently offers access to the most public fast-charging stations in the U.S., has also committed to spending $2 billion in total until 2027 to improve the public charging network – only two of the many expansion announcements made recently. 

Poor public fast-charging infrastructure is still currently a major barrier for full EV adoption due to drivers’ range anxiety on long or frequent trips. Currently, as many as one-third of potential EV owners do not have the ability to charge their vehicles at home, and would be relying solely on the public charging network in the event of a full EV transition. Adding to this, heavy fragmentation exists within the industry between the various charging providers. Even in only local regions, further complexity is added for activations and payments with even more merchants incorporated – various apps, accounts and payment methods are required for each individual charge, adding further roadblocks to any large-scale transition required.  

However, an even larger issue is the existing poor quality and unreliable EV charger POI information currently delivered to drivers. In a country as vast as the U.S., a lack of available public charging is a barrier to entry for prospective EV owners. Knowing the accurate location of where the nearest chargers are will be crucial to drivers’ daily lives, and their trust in the technology and systems can quickly be tarnished with a ‘bad’ charging experience.  

Currently, the most obvious location to house the majority of the vast amounts of new EV chargers enabled by the new infrastructure bill will be within existing parking facilities as municipalities look to remove vehicles from inner-city areas as a method to improve the quality of life there and limit environmental impacts. Housing many of the new chargers within parking facilities seems the most logical, as cars need to be parked in order to charge, but only a solution that is a successful combination of both services can create the user experience required by EV drivers.

 

Parking and Charging

Already designed for driver convenience, parking facilities benefit from being centrally and conveniently located to offices, stores and services, allowing drivers to charge their vehicle at the most convenient time and maximizing services during the time the driver is away from the vehicle. Charging while parked also prevents long waits at chargers, or drivers having to build extra time into their daily schedules to charge their vehicles.  

A typical electric car with a 60kWh battery takes just under 8 hours to complete a full charge via a 7kW charging point, which is the most commonly found speed. Without the option of a full charge at home, most drivers will rely on frequent ‘top-up charges’ wherever possible, and charging while parked would be the ideal opportunity. An example would be a 50kW DC rapid charger which can easily be housed within a commercial parking facility and add up to 100 miles of range in as little as 35 minutes1 maximizing any breaks during a long-distance driving journey. 

Parking and charging are interconnected experiences, each with their own plethora of technologies and applications designed to make life easier for drivers. However, the current EV driver experience is poor, mainly due to low quality of data and fragmentation across multiple charging services with a lack of communications between systems and services. With the EV industry growing substantially, the existing and future parking and charging technologies need to work together to supply future demand and deliver the best user experience to the driver if we are to be successful in this transition.  

Technology such as ‘Park and Charge’, introduced recently from Parkopedia, looks to directly address this issue, using the company’s comprehensive experience in parking and long expertise within automotive to bridge the gap between the two industries that currently appear at odds to the connected drivers on the roads today. The company plans to apply the same logic to EV charging as they do for parking, using existing processes, tools and resources such as global survey teams for accurate data verification, computer vision and data science teams covering dynamic predictive availability technology. They will also apply an existing, successful integrated payment platform and indoor mapping services that will assist drivers navigating to hidden EV chargers and make payments seamlessly on arrival – an answer to the many existing pain points surrounding public charging. 

By automakers and government grants helping to remove the current barriers to EV ownership, and the associated technologies looking to address the major pain points experienced by existing EV owners with public charging, more drivers should certainly be encouraged into Evs. This will help lower the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the transport sector, which currently is the largest cause of air pollution in cities. This shift to EVs will lead to improvements in air quality, reduce noise levels, lower congestion and improve safety for those living in urban areas – estimated to be more than two-thirds of the world’s population by 2050. By providing seamless and intuitive in-car experiences, to not only the parking industry, but now also the EV industry, Parkopedia is ensuring that EV ownership and transition will be a much better experience for all involved. And it will make it much more convenient for individuals looking to reduce their emissions and make their contribution to helping save the world.  

 

Adam Calland is Marketing Director at Parkopedia. He can be reached at adam.calland@parkopedia.com

 

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Adam Called
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