Digitalization and the Future of EV Adoption

According to the Energy Information Agency1, by 2025, zero-emission vehicles will account for 6 percent of national light-duty vehicle sales. Looking out further, Bloomberg New Energy Finance2 forecasts that, by 2040, 33 percent of all new cars worldwide will have a plug. The technology for electric vehicles (EV) is continuing to improve with numerous cars that can now travel over 200 miles per charge and a dizzying array of over 50 new models hitting the market in the next year. The electric car has arrived. But the industry still faces a challenge – how to build the electrical infrastructure to make fueling EVs convenient and cost-effective.
 
digitalization.jpgOur view at Siemens is that major investments are needed in infrastructure – from the charging stations themselves and the software capabilities to manage new business models to the electrical network that makes the charging possible. As more EVs are added to the road, cities, transit authorities, housing complexes, and businesses, we must update crucial electrical infrastructure and install scalable, effective charging equipment that can grow as more and more consumers convert to EVs. Energy providers then need to have the hardware and software capabilities to ensure that the combination of having more EVs and more charging infrastructure does not overwhelm the electric grid. The key to solving both challenges lies in the combination of electrification and digitalization.
 
To keep up with the growing EV market, communities will have to deploy infrastructure and use business models that can support the widespread electrification of transportation. Installing EV chargers won’t just require the deployment of charging stations, but also integrated equipment that consumers rarely see, like transformers to adjust voltage to appropriate levels, switchboards to direct and re-direct electricity, and meters to measure energy use. Updating and integrating this equipment in a scalable and cost-effective way becomes critical for EV charging and the success of the EV market overall.
 
With 170 years of expertise in the power distribution business – and now as one of the top ten software companies in the world – Siemens brings the electrical and the digital world together. The EV industry is a unique blend of solutions from the old and new, combining the latest charging stations and software with a complete electrical equipment bundle to ultimately deliver reliable cost-effective charging of the EV. These solutions can scale from single family homes to office buildings, hospitals, and airports – all of which require different amounts of power to meet end-user demand. By building digital solutions on top of these hardware assets, Siemens can control and monitor power flow, capitalize on time periods when energy is abundant, and ultimately deliver this energy through the Siemens VersiChargeTM charging system. Through open standards-based communication, utilities and end customers can gain access to their data, setup critical control parameters, and ultimately charge during the most cost-effective time of day.
 
Once behind-the-charger solutions are deployed, a new set of challenges arise for EV owners and energy providers alike, such as balancing load during peak charging times and developing new pricing models – all while ensuring charging stations are readily available and affordable. According to a recent Rocky Mountain Institute report3, the next five years of expected EV deployment growth in the U.S. could add over 11,000 GWh of load to the power grid