5 biggest challenges to EV charging infrastructure in 2023 – and how EcoG aims to tackle them
Electric Vehicle (EV) ownership keeps growing rapidly. According to the International Energy Agency’s Global Outlook 2022, in 2012, just 120.000 electric cars were sold worldwide. In 2021, more than that number were sold each week. About 10% of all global car sales were electric in 2021, four times the market share in 2019. This poses serious challenges to both the EV charging industry, as well as EV users. EcoG has listed the five biggest challenges to EV charging infrastructure in 2023, and how we aim to contribute to tackling them.
1. Number of charging points
The European Union aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. Additionally, it wants to achieve a 55% reduction on 1990 emissions by 2030 (source: Element Energy – ‘Electric Mobility: Inevitable, or Not?’). The total number of electric cars in the world is now nearly 17 million, three times as many as there were driving around in 2018. In order to ‘handle’ this fast growing amount of electric vehicles on the grid, the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure will need to ramp up.
Predictions for the number of EV charging points needed in 2030 to meet the demand for mass electrification vary wildly. One thing that experts do agree on, is that in most countries the rate at which charging points are being installed is too low to meet future demand.
According to McKinsey (figure below), by 2030 the EU-27 would need to scale up from its current 340,000 charging stations to the estimated 3.4 million public chargers required to meet the needs of its future EV fleet. On average, 6,000 public charging points a week would have to be installed in the European Union as a whole from 2021 to 2030. This means there is much ground to make up.
2. Locations of charging points
Presently, there are significant regional disparities in deployment of EV charging points, complicating travel between EU countries. The charging infrastructure network needs to be expanded quickly to reduce range anxiety and provide people who do not yet own an EV with the confidence to purchase one. This means that charging points need to be in the right place and of the right type.
3. Types of charging points
While the vast majority of EV drivers do most of their charging at home overnight, public (fast) charging points are needed to enable long-distance journeys and support those without the opportunity to charge nearby home.
This calls for a wide network of DC fast chargers. In contrast to AC charging, DC Fast Charging bypasses all of the limitations of the on-board charger and required conversion, providing DC power directly to the battery (source: EV Safe Charge – ‘DC Fast Charging Explained’). DC fast charging is essential for high mileage/long distance driving and large fleets. It allows drivers to recharge during their trip as opposed to being plugged in overnight, or for many hours, for a full charge.
On top of this, charging stations will need to offer sufficient smart charging and vehicle-to-grid capability.
4. Shortages of key materials
The manufacturing of computer chips and EV batteries is already an issue and that is expected to linger for a few more years. Recent global crises have hindered chip and battery manufacturing capacity. As a result of disruptions in the supply chain, the price of key materials has increased by more than 20 percent. It is expected that ongoing geopolitical unrest and labor constraints will hinder material supplies in the long term (Source: McKinsey – ‘Power spike: How battery makers can respond to surging demand from EVs’).
5. A robust power grid
To supply the required amount of energy to the EV industry, utilities will have to expand infrastructure to generate more electricity, and transmit and distribute that electricity to locations where EVs need to charge. This new energy consumption is set against the backdrop of an ageing electricity infrastructure and instances where peak-period demand has exceeded available supply. Additionally, some countries are better equipped to implement electrification than others.
Moreover, the existing network will have to be technologically compatible with next generation batteries, but needs to be future-proofed with respect to evolving charging behaviour (source: The ZEV Transition Council – ‘Deploying charging infrastructure to support an accelerated transition to zero-emission vehicles’).
Tackling these 5 challenges
To make the shift to electric-powered transportation, it is essential to have a reliable infrastructure, supported by a solid ecosystem. EcoG supports manufacturers and suppliers throughout this whole process with EcoG OS, the software operating system and IoT platform for EV charging stations. It offers all the tools needed to develop and run a DC charger. Already 15% of 2022 DC chargers produced in Europe are based on EcoG | OS.
An android for EV charging infrastructure
Jörg Heuer, EcoG’s founder and CEO, describes EcoG’s product as ‘an android for charging infrastructure.’ The company develops software for smart charging stations that allow consumers to charge their cars when electricity is at its cheapest due to high availability of renewable energy. That’s important, because one of the biggest challenges facing the EV transition is the expected strain to Europe’s electricity capacity.
EcoG contributes to the fight against climate change in two ways: first, by cutting ‘range anxiety’ and making it more attractive to buy an electric vehicle; and second, by making the energy the new cars consume greener. ‘Over the lifetime of a smartphone, the user can innovate by installing new functionalities on the phone,’ Heuer says. ‘We have the same vision for EV chargers.’
About EcoG GmbH
Our vision is to empower the EV charging infrastructure with technology that enables fast charging infrastructure growth and contributes to emission-free mobility for everyone. Since 2017, EcoG has been at the forefront of innovation in EV charging. As a core member of CharIN, we have been a leading force in pioneering and shaping industry standards. With our solution, we enable the charging station manufacturers to develop DC charging stations quickly, and cost-effectively, avoiding any potential risk during the development phase. Within the last year, our customer base has more than doubled and it includes today the leading market players such as Siemens, i-Charging, and many more.
The charging technology and operating system solution EcoG | OS can be used modularly as a hardware-software or software-only solution to develop and run DC chargers of any kind. Over 15 different manufacturers already rely on EcoG with more than 24 different charger series. These chargers vary from 11kW DC wallboxes to ultra-fast (UFC), high-performance (HPC), and megawatt charging (MCS) solutions in various configurations. Our customers choose EcoG | OS thanks to its reliability, robustness, fast adoption capability, and superior functionality. EcoG has thus achieved a market share of 15% in 2022 in Europe and is active both in India and North America. With our open Application Programmable Interface (API) architecture, we change the business model of EV charging by bringing the app economy onto charging infrastructure and making the development of new services as easy as developing an app.
Read more about EcoG OS here.