In a populous country like India, environmental pollution becomes a paramount issue. With most vehicles running on non-renewable fuel, it chokes up the air and degrades the air quality, which is a pertinent environmental issue today. Hence, electric vehicles (EV) are a brilliant alternative to reduce the local pollution concentration in major cities.
While EVs are the way to go, multiple challenges crop up – especially EV range anxiety and charging infrastructure. This introduces the fear of users running out of battery charge on the road and not finding a charging station close by. This has also been considered to be detrimental factor hindering faster EV adoption. The question that buyers first ask is, how long will the battery last? Will I find a charging station as fast as a petrol or diesel pump?
Many also believe that EVs are not ideal for long-distance travel because each charge will eat up at least 30 minutes of their journey, making travel longer.
While range anxiety is natural, there is also good news on that front. Countries are investing heavily in infrastructure today to put up a vast network of charging station for users interested in making the switch to green energy.
To deal with range anxiety, the driver’s peace of mind is essential. Overcoming the psychological hurdle will ensure that more EVs are adopted. Technology can enable 360 degree range map graphically indicating available range, guiding drivers to their favourite destinations without any charging requirement. For longer trips beyond the available range, long-distance EV routing helps drivers with detailed information on charging points and when they should be recharging while on the road. The up-to-date information helps them plan their stops ahead of their journey without any range anxiety. This kind of technology also helps drivers to decide on the best place and time to charge based on charging speed and availability.
Car manufacturers use technology to integrate advanced software that allows EVs to “plan ahead” and manage energy according to the journey. For instance, if the car anticipates a charging station nearby through the navigation system, it can always start pre-conditioning the battery to reach the requisite temperature for charging when the charging point is nearby, improving the charging speed. With a clear view of the route ahead, the vehicle also optimises its energy according to the terrain – spending more of it on uphill journeys and saving energy when the vehicle goes downhill. Advanced Driver Assistance system (ADAS) further helps in planning the trip and charging cycles based on the terrain it takes, thereby alleviating range anxiety.
Real time maps in vehicles show traffic, fuel stations and other important stops on the road, which helps an EV driver address range anxiety and plan the charging cycles ahead of the journey.
The static navigation system is not often enough. Having a connected services technology always makes for a better driving experience with EVs. It tells owners if they can reach their favourite destinations without having to charge, and if they do, it also shows them the real time availability of recharge points available on the route. This helps drivers to make informed decisions about where to charge their vehicles, without spending needless time driving around searching for a charging spot.
Elevation, traffic, terrain, and driving speed and style play an essential role in the EV’s efficiency at a single charge. This, and proper route planning play an important role in getting rid of EV range anxiety.
Technology that provides accurate range calculations will be the best thing for EVs. For example, if a driver can skip a charging point, they save at least half an hour on their trip. Moreover, efficient range calculations make the driving experience better, not only for pros but beginners at the EV trend, who are sceptical about the initial switch from gas vehicles to the more reliable and greener option.
Electric vehicle batteries are also developing and drivers are advancing more in their best practices in driving. It is an advanced technology that helps quicken the change and make the EV experience better for all users. If EV range anxiety becomes a thing of the past, a revolutionary vehicular change will be upon us sooner than we think.
The author is the Strategic Business Development Manager - Automotive Business at TomTom.