EV charging technology is rapidly expanding and evolving in the United States and beyond. The global EV charging stations market is expected to grow by almost 50% over the next seven years. As 2019 comes to an end, we have decided to take a look at the industry and to summarize the most important trends that will shape the EV charging space next year.
1. DC fast charging
Although DC fast chargers make up only 15% of EV charging stations in the United States so far, market research reports predict them to become more and more common. Many EV charging networks already focus their efforts on DC (or level 3) chargers. Those chargers add about 60 to 80 miles of range in 20 minutes, making them 10 to 20 times faster than the more common AC (or level 2) chargers. As EV owners travel more and take longer trips, they will appreciate a larger offer of public fast charging solutions with more affordable pricing.
2. Accurate prediction of charge time
The technological progress of both, EV charging hardware and software will change the way EV owners use and benefit from EV charging apps. Thanks to technologies like the Smartcar API, charging networks are now able to determine a vehicle’s exact charge time even before the driver plugs their car into a station. The accurate prediction of a vehicle’s charge time is crucial whenever EV owners want to plan trips, building charging schedules, or make use of green EV charging features and V2G technology (see below).
3. Green EV charging
Green energy will play a big role in both, the residential and the public EV charging space. Vehicle owners are increasingly concerned about carbon emissions, while EV charging networks rapidly advance their charging technologies. Green EV charging programs allow EV owners to set a schedule for when and how far they need to drive their car each day. Using smart charging technology, the EV charging network then automatically charges the vehicle at times when electricity is 100% generated from renewable sources (e.g. solar or wind energy).
4. Vehicle-to-grid technology
Another EV charging trend that helps reduce carbon emissions is vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. While green EV charging focuses on picking the right energy sources, V2G technology aims to smoothen times of peak electricity demand. The average car is parked 95% of the time. V2G technology makes use of this fact. Whenever they aren’t currently driving or charging their vehicle, EV owners can leave their car plugged in at home or at work. At times of peak demand, EV owners can let the charging network draw power from the car and feed it electricity back into the grid. This way, V2G provides a huge relief for local and state electricity providers and allows EV owners to earn money for the electricity they sell.
5. Rewards programs
With a tighter net of public EV charging stations and a larger variety of affordable home chargers, charging networks need to spend more effort retaining customers and making them loyal to their brand. Rewards programs allow EV charging networks to do just that. Apart from rewarding customers for charging at stations within a certain network, rewards programs even go hand in hand with green EV charging and V2G technology. For example, EV owners receive points or credits for charging at times when electricity demand is low and the share of renewable energy sources is highest. Finally, EV charging networks can reward customers for ecologically friendly driving behavior. Based on how many miles they drive and how much they charge their EV battery, EV owners receive rewards for keeping their per-mile electricity consumption low.