The importance of EV charging infrastructure
Electric vehicles have the potential to reshape the transportation sector globally, drastically cutting carbon emissions and clearing the way for significant climate progress. Many EV owners charge their cars at home using a wall-mounted charger. This arrangement works for most people, because the average EV use is well within the range of today’s electric vehicles. However, two major difficulties arise.
First, for drivers who live in apartments, parking garages are rarely equipped with charging infrastructure, and installing such infrastructure may be cost prohibitive for building managers. Second, expanded charging infrastructure is needed for EVs to make long-distance trips that require multiple stops for charging. Hence, building a robust public “fuelling” network of charging stations is the key to a successful EV market. At home – followed by the workplace – remains the most favourable location for EV charging. This means that the market for public charging stations is in DC fast charging targeted at on-the-go, cross-country (long-range) driving.
IDTechEx believe the electric vehicle industry will not be derailed and will continue with its staggering momentum. Over the coming decade, demand for charging infrastructure will be driven by over 345 million BEV + PHEV vehicles in-use globally including passenger cars, buses, trucks, and vans. The benefits of the electric vehicle transition are at least an order of magnitude greater than charging infrastructure costs, making charging infrastructure a modest down payment to decarbonize the transport sector.
Multiple types of EV charging solutions exist today to serve different market needs. Source: IDTechEx
This report provides an in-depth coverage of multiple types of EV charging solutions including private AC charging, public DC charging, megawatt charging, battery swapping, and wireless charging. As electrification penetrates multiple vehicle markets, the type of charging infrastructure needed is also evolving. Vehicle platform voltages are shifting from 400 to 800 V architectures, unlocking even higher charging powers, while bringing new thermal challenges. IDTechEx research aims to provide clarity on the different technologies available today and those emerging with potential for disruption in the future. Technologies like destination or wallbox DC chargers, megawatt charging, robotic charging, battery-buffered charging, off-grid solar charging, and mobile charging are some examples of the emerging EV charging solutions. This report covers the key players within these fields, benchmarks their products, and provides a market outlook for their adoption.
Megawatt (MW) charging
Megawatt charging (charging power over 1000 kW) is an enabling technology to commercial vehicle electrification. It will also pave the way to electrifying other heavy duty transport areas such as ferries and aeroplanes along with mining and agricultural equipment. At least 12 projects targeting commercial electric vehicle charging are now underway or set to begin construction by the end of 2023. These projects were announced in 2021/22 and disclosed investments exceed US$1.2 billion. For many projects the ultimate goal is to operate megawatt-scale chargers, once the relevant MCS standard is finalized. Some developers plan to use CCS high power connectors initially. Megawatt chargers are expected to begin commercial rollout in 2024. This report covers the MCS standard (including connector design), challenges in implementing megawatt chargers, key stakeholders, MW projects and investment, and market forecast.
In 2022 many companies began electrifying their fleets. Walmart purchased 4,500 Canoo Electric Delivery Vehicles (EDVs) and reserved 5,000 GM BrightDrop electric vans for last-mile deliveries. Amazon also recently rolled out a fleet of Rivian electric trucks to 100 cities across the US and plans to eventually deploy 100,000 electric trucks for deliveries. The United States Post Office is also going electric, promising to spend nearly US$10 billion on a fleet of more than 60k EVs by 2028.
In Europe, Amazon is also planning to spend €1 billion to electrify its delivery fleet. In early 2023, Germany opened its first electric truck corridor designed specifically for heavy freight vehicles. One common requirement is needed to support all the above examples: reliable, cost-optimised, plentiful charging infrastructure.
When choosing between AC and DC charging for fleets, the choice comes down to the type of vehicle, battery size, and time available for charging with regards to duty cycles. Level 2 chargers provide sufficient power to recharge light and medium duty vehicles overnight, but larger battery capacity long-haul trucks will require DC fast charging. Technologies like wireless charging and battery swapping have also been implemented successfully for fleets, with various case studies included in the report.