The charging landscape is, ironically, a minefield. The attempt to cater to the majority of drivers is currently being directed by a traditional approach to car ownership—stopping to charge when needed, as opposed to powering their vehicles preemptively.
Residential charging solutions were some of the first to be adopted by drivers and still hold a valuable position in electrification, but many consumers are still not content enough to justify buying or leasing an EV.
So, why is residential charging not enough for drivers? Perhaps it has something to do with a change in perspective from the traditional ICE owners to EV users.
“Residential charging is, for most EV drivers, the starting point. If you have a typical drive cycle that is sufficient for the majority of your needs, it always depends on what your living situation is,” says Rombout Heesterman, Lead Product Manager at EVBox. “If you own a driveway or the capability and still install in your vicinity, that's ideal. Then, transitioning to an electric car is rather straightforward.
“On the other hand, if you own a car, you want to have freedom. You want to be able to go anywhere you would like. You need forms of charging along the route or at your destination.”
So how can businesses attract more consumers to the notion of electrification and encourage them to charge their cars at home? Though the majority of car trips are within the seven to ten mile range, realistically, it should be a no-brainer, but many consumers are too concentrated on what happens when they flex their freedom by taking their car on holiday or driving for a business-related purpose.
As a result, the key changes we expect to witness will revolve around technology. Charging will become ever-more integrated in both residential homes and the digital ecosystem, allowing users to benefit from the cost-saving aspects and convenience of digital connectivity.
“As this market matures and as the demand for charging—and energy—grows, we are looking for more intelligent solutions to actually ensure that it not only charges the car, but also fits into the whole energy transition, where we move from supply-based control through to our electricity-to-demand base.”
Bi-directional charging is a catalyst for cost-saving and further home charging
For consumers, bi-directional charging effectively means an electrical current can be passed between their home and car via integration into their home grid. As demonstrated by Hyundai through its hotel concept, EVs are capable of reversing energy transfer from their batteries to power other components and systems, such as scooters, other cars, homes, and more.
“From the concept phase, this has already been on the radar since the inception of electric cars, and the promise is there. Right now, it’s interesting to see that more car manufacturers are bringing solutions to market that offer a form of bi-directional. That could be within their own ecosystem, for example, as an actual domestic plug that connects to the outlet of your EV so you can charge some camping gear or larger appliances.”
Bi-directional shows its benefits when used in a digital setting and, supported by AI, it can allow homeowners to better manage their entire energy consumption by creating a micro-grid.
Thinking back on perspective, the reality of EVs is somewhat skewed by the traditions of ICE vehicles. Most consumers are yet to reap the financial, sustainable, and social benefits of electrification. Really, most customers must try the whole experience for themselves, from driving to home charging, to really gauge the shift that needs to be made to support a more sustainable approach to transportation.
Read the full story in the March issue of EV Magazine.
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