With more than 10 million electric cars sold worldwide in 2022, this number is expected to jump by another 35% in 2023 – reaching a staggering 14 million sold. It’s safe to say that the interest in electric vehicles (EVs) is booming.
From electric cars to public transportation electricity-driven vehicles are rapidly growing in popularity. EVs are quickly becoming the preferred means of transportation and will eventually be the norm.
While these stats are startling, this should come as no surprise; EVs are the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective option. However, as the number of EVs on the road continues to increase, it puts a strain on the grid and increases the chance of power outages or service disruptions. This is where off-grid EV charging comes in.
As we look into what the future holds in the world of EV charging, we’ll also explore the benefits of off-grid charging for both EV owners and the grid. We’ll discuss how this solution aligns with the global push for Net Zero and the importance of making sustainable choices in every industry, including transportation.
So, what is EV Charging?
Charging an electric vehicle is just like charging any other device. The difference is simply a matter of scale. Even then, an EV charger uses less energy to charge a car than it takes to run home electric heating.
An EV charging station is usually set up like any other refueling station. But, instead of connecting to tanks storing liquid fuel, they draw electricity from a combination of the public grid and other energy-generating assets.
Breaking down the different types of EV Chargers
In addition, chargers come in different sizes. For instance, in North America, Level 1 and Level 2 chargers service drivers who can afford to leave their car in one place overnight or while they work. These charging systems rely on existing grid integration and provide an energy load between 1kw and 20kW. This output fully charges an EV battery in one to six hours.
Public chargers at refueling stations and shopping centers face a much higher demand in both the number of vehicles serviced and the speed demanded by customers, and their power capacity reflects that.
So-called “fast chargers” run up to 350 kW and can fill a drained battery in as little as twenty minutes.
While the top end of charging performance meets transportation needs, grid integration is a serious undertaking. Between construction requirements and local ordinance restrictions, the process of setting up a charging station can take years. Furthermore, filling in the gaps in the charging network requires stations in remote sites that simply don’t have appropriate grid access.
Again, this is where the strong need for off-grid chargers comes in.
How does EV charging off the grid work?
Despite the clear advantages of electric vehicles, there are some significant obstacles to complete adoption. Between the frequency and intensity of usage, EV charging can draw a significant amount of power.
Depending on the location, it can be easier and faster to set up independent energy assets and storage. One popular solution is the Solar Charging System, a completely standalone station that is especially suited to sites without any available grid connection.
On top of that, these independent charging systems can be added to existing networks of renewable energy. It is even possible to connect these chargers to the grid once all of the paperwork has been sorted out.
Why off-grid charging?
There are many reasons to use off-grid charging instead of relying on grid integration, including:
- Cost efficiency and improved energy use
- Redundancy and resiliency
- Easy scalability without grid dependency
- Customizability of energy assets and site setup
- Reduction of energy-related carbon emissions
Looking toward the future of EV charging, there is a lot to be excited about and even more left to accomplish.
What is the future of EV charging and the grid?
In order to truly capitalize on the growing EV market, there are a number of moves that must be implemented to ensure this growth doesn’t stall.
1. EV Charging is becoming mainstream
Regardless of the challenges, it’s only a matter of time before EVs are at least the majority of vehicles on the road. The threat of uncontrolled climate change is simply too great for anything less to be the target.
With that in mind, the ongoing spread of EV chargers is no mystery. Companies and governments around the world are investing in securing this new wave of critical infrastructure. BP alone is investing $1 billion in EV charging across the US.
2. Public grids need help, especially in underdeveloped areas
In many rural or undeveloped areas, the power grid is either limited in range or in strength. Since transportation is a major driver of economic activity, it is critical that the electrification of transportation reaches every corner.
Outside of major markets, EV sales are still low, but this is mostly a consequence of inaccessibility. The grid will require modernization, leveraging digital tools that will help optimize newer renewable energy assets and account for the variability in their output.
This is one of the main reasons why off-grid solutions are so critical to the continued successful expansion of EVs globally.
3. Off-grid charging is one of the best ways to enhance insufficient grid availability
Grid-independent solutions are a critical part of making electric vehicles a viable option for all and preserving the interdependence of society. As renewable resources like solar energy become more and more affordable, EV stations will be deployable anywhere renewables are viable.
This will significantly increase the ability to distribute these stations to more remote locations. This provides EV charging capabilities in locales that were inaccessible previously and extends their range beyond more populated areas.
It also provides relative energy security, especially if the renewable energy assets are paired with energy storage like lead acid or LiOn batteries. This means any additional energy will be used for charging, and on days with less energy productivity, these sites will still be available.
4. Keeping track of your EV chargers
As the EV market grows and off-grid charging becomes more popular, it becomes critical to ensure that charging stations are fully equipped to maximize efficiency and reliability. This can be a challenge, especially for more remote sites.
The answer to getting the most out of off-grid charging is remote monitoring and management.
Without clear oversight it’s impossible to predict equipment malfunctions or establish performance trends.
In addition, sites that need off-grid chargers are usually also operating several other energy generation and storage assets. A failure in any part of the local energy network can have major consequences that require substantial time and money to rectify.
Moreover, an advanced monitoring and management solution like Galooli can offer features that maximize the activation of solar panels, batteries, generators and more based on real-world conditions.
EV Charging is growing at an exponential rate. There are over 500,000 stations expected to be active by 2030, and in 2023 alone, the market is expected to cross $30 billion globally. As grid availability is not readily available, no matter how developed a country is, EV charging stations need an effective solution to their energy needs.
Going off-grid is the most direct solution to this issue, and with the expected growth of the industry, unconventional solutions, like renewable energy, and finding alternative energy storage options.
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