Electric Vehicle innovations to look out for
Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more and more appealing transportation options given their environmental benefits and ever-improving range coupled with the current record-high fuel prices, making running an EV cheaper than a traditional petrol or diesel vehicle.
In 2021, 6.75 million EVs were sold worldwide (9.5 million units are expected to be delivered in 2022), representing an astounding 108% increase from 2020. It is predicted there will be 145 million EVs on the world’s roads in 2030.
The wholesale switch to EVs requires a significant expansion of the EV charging infrastructure, as well as technological innovations:
Vehicle to grid charging
Vehicle to grid technology allows EV batteries to store energy and discharge it back to the electricity network when it’s most needed – for instance at peak times of the day when usage across the UK is at its highest.
Wireless charging for vehicles works in a similar way to wireless phone chargers, using inductive charging technology. Electricity is transferred from one magnetic coil in the charger, which is hidden beneath the road surface, to a second magnetic coil or pad fitted to the underside of the car.
One of the main benefits of wireless charging is that it allows multiple vehicles to recharge at once. It could also speed up charging and has potential as an on-street charging solution for people without driveways.
While it takes just a few minutes to fill up a petrol or diesel car with fuel, EV drivers usually have to wait much longer to recharge their batteries to full. However, ultra-fast charging options are starting to appear. The Kia Ev6 and Hyundai IONIQ 5 electric cars, for example, can add 60 miles of range with just five minutes of charging, using a 250kW charger.
Pop-up and lamp post chargers
One of the downsides of expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure is that the chargers can clutter streets and pavements. However, two similar innovations could reduce this clutter: pop-up pavement chargers and lamp post chargers.
Pop-up and lamp post chargers will be particularly useful for those with houses with no off-street parking.
Electrified roads use overhead power lines to power larger electric vehicles, such as lorries, however, these are not currently suitable for passenger cars. In July, the Department for Transport awarded funding to explore how long-range trucks can be electrified using overhead power cables on motorways across the UK.
Elsewhere, the world’s first electrified road that recharges the batteries of cars and trucks while they drive along it has been operating in Sweden since 2018.