Technological Advancement in EV (Electric Vehicle) and EV Ecosystem
IoT, IIoT, and AIoT are the key technologies enabling connectivity, providing location information, battery utilization, etc., in electric vehicles.
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The Electric Vehicle (EV) Market
The Electric Vehicle (EV) current market share is under 5%, which is expected to grow to 24% by 2028, 40% by 2030, and 90% by 2040. Electric vehicle adoption is low due to high cost, limited driving range, and lack of charging infrastructure.
The cost of electric vehicles is high. Not all people segment can afford to buy. There needs to be a huge surge in the cost to boost sales. Electric vehicles are powered by batteries. The driving range is limited to battery capacity. This is another major issue. One needs to stop the vehicle to recharge the battery once the maximum distance is reached according to battery capacity. Unlike petrol stations, there are not many EV charging stations. This is another major issue. Hence, it is important to know the nearby charging station before the battery gets drained fully. Unlike ICE-powered vehicles(Gasoline/Petrol or Diesel), Electric vehicle needs an ecosystem approach to drive EV adoption on a large scale. A piecemeal solution may not help. The solution needs to address all the following aspects of the ecosystem.
- Battery charging and swapping stations
- Batteries inventory management at charging stations
- Visibility of charging stations and proximity
- Ability to monitor battery throughout its lifecycle. Monitor charge utilized and charge left
- Ability to reutilize battery charge during idle time
Electric vehicles require a network of charging stations on the road to charge or swap the battery when the need arises. Hence the charging stations need to maintain a stock of batteries. A reliable and continuous supply chain is the basic requirement to boost sales. Electric energy needs to be sourced from the power grid via power cables to charging stations to keep the batteries charged and to charge vehicles directly from charging points at stations. The visibility of charging stations and their proximity is important for the driver to plan his next charge. The driver also needs to remotely monitor the charge in the vehicle to understand the battery level. The ecosystem also needs to have infrastructure to reutilize the charge from the battery during idle time. The charge can be sent back to charging stations or to the power grid.
Role of Technologies in the EV Ecosystem
Let us look at how technologies can support building the EV ecosystem and accelerate EV adoption. There are mainly two areas of technology that can play a key role. One in the vehicle and another one in the EV ecosystem surrounding the vehicle.
- Technology's role in the vehicle
- Technology role in the EV Ecosystem
a) Technology role in the vehicle
Connectivity is a basic requirement that brings visibility on vehicle location information, the battery charge level, heat surrounding the battery, etc. Technology plays a key role in connectivity. IoT, IIoT, and AIoT are the key technologies enabling connectivity, providing location information, battery utilization, etc. There is a potential opportunity for IT players to build connectivity and vehicle and components information-related services. Most of these technologies and services are not only specific to EVs but also apply to ICE vehicles. EV requires additional EV-specific services like battery level indicators, services to locate nearby charging stations and proximity, etc. Following are some of the key technologies that evolved recently in this space.
- SDV (Software Defined Vehicle)
- SOAFEE (Scalable Open Architecture For Embedded Edge)
SDV (Software Defined Vehicle)
SDV stands for Software Defined Vehicle. In a traditional world, the software is tightly coupled with hardware modules and Electronic Control Units to do specific functions in the vehicle. This software doesn't evolve much through the lifetime of the vehicle. If there is a need for a software update, the vehicle needs to be brought to dealers for an upgrade. In the SDV world, functions inside vehicles are defined by software rather than hardware modules. These functions are like apps in smartphones that can evolve through the lifetime of the vehicle. Infotainment and navigation systems are the best examples of SDV-defined functions. New functions can also be added through software. There are a lot of SDV projects initiated under the Eclipse Foundation. Refer to the URL for more information on projects.
SOAFEE (Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge)
Now SDV is transforming from managing functions within the vehicle to centrally managing functions outside the vehicle, preferably in the cloud. So that functions can spin up for multiple users, and servers can run many applications simultaneously for different users in the cloud. But the cloud doesn't understand vehicle functions. This is where SOAFEE comes into the picture to make the deployment of functions possible in vehicles across the automotive value chain from the Cloud. SOAFEE stands for "Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge." It is an initiative from automakers, suppliers, software vendors, and cloud technology leaders. Refer to the URL for more information on SOAFEE.
b) Technology role in the EV Ecosystem
Technologies help in building solutions to resolve challenges associated with EV Ecosystem. A platform can be built to manage the charging stations and their operations. There can be a set of services to publish location information of charging stations, battery availability, charging unit availability, etc. A set of services can be developed for V2G (Vehicle-to-grid) functionality that allows idle cars to discharge energy back to the grid.
The electric vehicle industry is rapidly growing. Technologies play a key role in building applications for vehicles and for the ecosystem. While IoT is the core technology need of the hour, SDV and SOAFEE are the key developments in technologies in the automotive space. IT Service industries have a large potential to build applications, products, platforms, and frameworks in this space.
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