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SUSTAINABILITY Electric vehicles


“Different types of charging infrastructure have different capabilities for communication with other infrastructure and with the back office systems. This is largely dependent on the type of scheme in which the charging infrastructure is included”


between networks and back office systems. The fact that there are five different types of connector (three AC and two DC types) means that EV owners need to make sure they are able to find a charging point that is not only available and operational but one that is also compatible with their EV and suitable in terms of power delivery capability. Different types of charging infrastructure have different


capabilities for communication with other infrastructure and with the back office systems. This is largely dependent on the type of scheme in which the charging infrastructure is included. However, most infrastructure is communication- enabled and often has a hard-wired internet connection to enable communication with the back office.


CLEAR CHANNEL At present, most charging infrastructure does not commu- nicate directly with the vehicle or the driver; however, some infrastructure is GPRS-enabled (wireless communication via a GSM network). As the number of charging points grows, it is possible that EV drivers will be able to communicate directly with the charging infrastructure, as well as the back office, to check availability and place reservations. Therefore, the ability of the EV driver to be able to communicate with the charging network (or point) is clearly very important. The communication channel could come either through


the vehicle directly or through a personal communication device, such as a smart phone. However, if a link exists between the vehicle and the charg-


ing network, more intelligent applications could be utilised than would be possible otherwise, such as automatic verifi- cation of charging point compatibility with the vehicle and real-time estimate of charging time, based on battery state of charge (SOC). Furthermore, results from two recent feasibility studies on


the reuse and recycling of EV batteries, led by TRL, showed that in order to maximise the residual value of used EV batteries and match them with possible reuse applications, remote monitoring and tracking of batteries is necessary, with periodic remote uploading of data on the condition of the battery. If EVs become a platform for the widespread adoption of


communication capabilities on vehicles, then drivers and infrastructure operators could benefit from other ITS appli- cations that then become viable. In particular, remote diag- nostics, real-time driver information, and potentially Road


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Five different types of connector means that EV owners need to make sure they are able to find a compatible charging point


Pricing applications, amongst others, could all be provided (or supported) through a connected vehicle. Looking further ahead, the development and take up


of EVs is likely to be somewhat constrained by the limita- tions of current on-board energy storage, which is currently mostly based on Li-ion (lithium-ion) battery technology. The best practical and affordable battery solutions in EVs at present are able to achieve in the region of 100 miles of range in electric-only mode. This is almost an order of magnitude less than some of the


most efficient ICE cars and hybrids. This fact, coupled with comparatively long refuelling times even for rapid charging (approximately 20-30 minutes for 80 per cent charge for a typical EV), means that EVs are not seen as being able to deliver the sort of practicality that people have come to expect from their cars. One possible solution is of course, to go down the route of


REEVs and PHEVs. Indeed, TRL’s modelling forecasts that these vehicles are likely to be the more widely adopted over the next 20 years. However, in order to maximise the finan- cial and environmental benefits of EVs, the use of a combus- tion engine on board has to be kept to a minimum.


thinkinghighways.com Vol 8 No 2 Europe/Rest of the World


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