EVs are great for the environment but are not as convenient as gas-powered cars. Developing an IoT-powered EV charging application would help reduce the inconvenience EV owners face while charging their vehicles. Here, we go over some of the factors to consider when developing such an app and the ways in which it can benefit consumers and charging providers alike.
EVs or Electric Vehicles have already taken the world by storm thanks to their zero upfront carbon emissions and environmentally friendly infrastructure. Thanks to the massive success of car manufacturers such as Tesla Motors, electric vehicles have once again come into the limelight of the world.
However, a major challenge that persists in the world of EVs is the lack of major charging infrastructure akin to what already exists for fossil fuel automobiles. As a result, there are several consumers who show interest in purchasing an EV but don’t go through with the decision.
Despite these shortcomings, the benefits of EVs in terms of climate change cannot be ignored. Per existing reports, switching to EVs would help cut out transportation-based carbon emissions by up to 90% by 2050. Let’s explore how IoT-based applications can help make this a feasible future for our world.
How Are EVs Charged?
Charging an EV is a simple process that EV owners need to constantly think about when going out. While in the case of gas cars, you could just drive anywhere and expect to find a fuel station in your vicinity, this isn’t always the case with EVs. The primary reason for this is the fact that EVs are rather new and charging stations are not that common in public.
Most EV chargers work by pulling an electric current from an outlet similar to your cellphone charger. Like cellphones, not all chargers are compatible with all EVs; however, it is possible to buy certain adaptors for the same. For instance, a Tesla charging station will not likely be able to charge a non-Tesla vehicle.
When parked in front of a public EV station, you may either get charged for free or credit card payment. As such, it is essential for drivers to look out for charging stations in their vicinity and plan out trips accordingly. This can become a major inconvenience when planning longer journeys such as road trips to places you haven’t been before.
What is IoT and How Can it Work in EV Charging?
IoT or the Internet of Things is a major emerging technology in the modern world that has helped various real-world devices connect and communicate with each other to make our lives simpler. For instance, your air conditioner can sync with your car and turn on the cooling at home when you’re reaching back from work.
EV charging stations can also benefit from IoT-powered systems as they already utilize various network protocols and cloud infrastructure for the purpose of scheduling maintenance, processing payments, analytics, and more. With IoT, these charging stations can be remotely managed.
Some existing challenges of traditional EV charging can also be eliminated using IoT, such as:
IoT in EV Charging Apps Use Cases
To better understand the ways in which an IoT-based application can help optimize EV charging and overcome the challenges mentioned above, let’s take a look at some of its current use cases.
Currently, EV owners need to carry an RFID keycard for free EV charging, without which charging can be a hassle. To eliminate this problem, charging stations can communicate with cars and verify whether the driver is entitled to free charging at the particular station or not. For payments, the user can set up automated payments with their charging app and smooth out the process.
An IoT-based charging app will help users identify the availability of chargers in a particular charging station. This will help prevent long lines for charging and make planning trips easier for longer distances. At the same time, it would also help traveler’s by showing charging rates and peak hours for affordable charging.
Since EV charging takes a while, the driver can usually walk away from the car and get other work done in the meantime. The IoT application can therefore be used to remotely check the charging progress, and ETA, and even alert the driver in case of any emergencies.
The energy rates also vary throughout the year, and as such, the app can help drivers find stations with lower energy and charging rates throughout the year. It would be a lot more helpful for them than simply relying on platforms such as Google Maps for finding charging stations.
With an IoT-powered app, charge station operators can remotely manage the charge point while processing real-world metrics and information. Moreover, the app can also help establish regular maintenance cycles for the charging station to help reduce situations of overall downtime.
An IoT app can help collect a large amount of telemetry data relating to the charging of EVs such as battery capacity, state of charge, tariffs, etc. This would help station managers control and make better decisions for a large EV charging infrastructure in a city or town.
Key Factors Affecting IoT-based EV Charging Apps
The key factors involved in developing an EV charging app will help determine the true value the app brings to the market and consumers. Here are some aspects that absolutely must be considered when developing an IoT-powered EV charging app:
Designing an EV charging app is a little different from most IoT-based apps since it requires more technical prowess. The developers must understand the various EV charging station components and how everything plays a role in completing the charging process.
The EV charging app must provide users with the real-time status of their charging process. It must also provide the station owners with the real-time status of all the charging components and alert them if maintenance is needed.
Due to the enormously large amount of telemetry data, establishing a cloud backend for the EV app is not only a choice but a necessity. Doing so will allow for the processing of this telemetry data for the betterment of the charging process.
The IoT app must also have payment gateways in place to allow users to make payments in a simple process. Automated payments can be approved by the users in advance to help save time and effort.
Creating an EV charging app with an IoT-powered backend can help make the prospect of owning an EV a lot more attractive for more consumers across the world. Doing so will help bring EVs into the limelight and help reduce the carbon emissions from vehicles by a significant amount.