Most cities will be installing EV infrastructure in the next year. But according to Momentum Dynamics CEO Andrew Daga, that infrastructure might be lacking a key component needed for broad EV adoption by consumers: passive charging systems.
President Obama plans to have 1 million EVs on the road by 2015 driven mostly by consumers. Industry experts are beginning to question the consumer lead strategy.
Daga believes that wireless charging systems might be an important key in getting people to use EVs. He explains that the wireless charging systems that his company makes are easier to use. There’s no plugging in, no concern for weather or traffic accident damage and therefore, fewer maintenance costs. What’s more, the technology should be able to start your car for you and defrost your windows in the winter.
Although EV plugs are universal (the Society of Automotive Engineers has made certain of it), you still physically have to plug it in. Wireless chargers are located under the pavement; all you have to do is park over the things.
Daga says, “Wireless charging we believe is the future of the industry because it will accelerate adoption of all of these electric vehicles. That is absolutely critical if the cost of these vehicles and the cost of these batteries is to fall. We have to get the numbers up and in order to get the numbers up we have to get people to adopt these systems. The weakest part of the chain exists in the charging infrastructure.”
That’s Daga’s other point about infrastructure: most of the EV growth in recent years has been in commercial vehicles, “in the last year we have seen an amazing transformation in the acceptance of electric vehicles across a broad spectrum of the user community. Most especially on the commercial side… Where those vehicles typically get low miles per gallon and could benefit by a 90% savings in cost. So those owners could see the biggest benefit in the shortest amount of time.”
He believes that commercial infrastructure is better equipped to handle EV charging conversion and volume than residential areas. In neighborhoods, there are likely to be strains on local grids, especially during peak charging time. Coming up on summer, those are times when people will still be using air conditioners and cooking appliances. California, for example is already having problems with rolling blackouts. That’s a big problem because California is one of the primary market points for consumer electric vehicles, according to the Centre for Automotive Research.
Commercial systems are different: they have micro-grids where the property owners are responsible for and manage the electric load. Their transformers, according to Daga, should be able to handle the load in spades.
But despite congress’ positive attitude towards EVs, Daga says, “there is not a good understanding of the potential of wireless charging.”
Sure, Daga’s company makes said wireless charging solutions but you’ve got to think he might have a point about the passive behavioural change solutions: for serious, in the middle of the winter when it’s below freezing outside, are you going to change your routine just to go plugin your car (even if it is in the garage)? Besides, he’s not the only one talking about putting more energy into commercial adoption first.