We can all agree that building out extensive networks of electric vehicle charging stations is critical to widespread adoption. It took some 50 years from the time the first gas stations cropped up to the emergence of a nationwide network of gasoline and diesel filling stations. Given current conditions and progress to date, a nationwide EV-charging infrastructure is likely to emerge in far less time, perhaps as little as two decades.
Joining innovative younger companies, a growing number of the world’s largest automakers and utilities are getting serious about investing in the EV/PHEV industry value chain. And that’s a sign of growing industrial and investor confidence in EV technology and future market prospects.
According to the Electric Drive Trade Association’s July 2014 market snapshot:
- Roughly 100% growth in the number of PEVs on US roads between June 2013 and June 2014 – from 111,962 to 222,590
- 8,389 public EV charging locations with 20,420 stations installed
- 19 available models from 10 automakers: BMW, Chevy, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Tesla and Toyota
- 20 additional models expected through 2016 including vehicles from new manufacturers such as Audi, Kia, Porsche and VW
An intelligent distributed energy storage system is the ideal complement to EV charging station infrastructure. Intelligent energy storage gives vehicle fleet owners, businesses, schools and government offices the means to reduce and better manage electricity consumption and monthly utility bills. In particular, energy storage offers protection against rising utility peak-power demand charges, which EV charging stations can incur. From a broader perspective, this pairing results in a stronger, more resilient and reliable system of electricity generation and distribution. It lessens the strain on the power grid during peak time, therefore reducing the need for natural gas peaker plants, in turn lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
The market potential for combining EVs, EV charging stations, intelligent energy storage solutions and distributed renewable energy generation systems in distributed micro-grids is vast, and the ramifications profound.