Electric Vehicles: Implications for Infrastructure and Vehicle Communications

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ITS Heartland 2012
Annual Meeting
Kansas City, MO

Presented by Joerg "Nu" Rosenbohm, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Programs for the Intelligent Transportation Society of America

Published in: Technology, Business
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  • Background Slide – 2 inTwo reports 8-10 min5-6 min questions
  • The key technological constraint for electric vehicles is battery cost and capacity, which translates into limitations in vehicle performance as measured by driving range, horsepower, and weight payload capacity. An electric vehicle can require up to 8 hours to acquire a full charge, which provides only 100 miles of driving, and chargers will initially only be available in homes and a very limited number of parking spaces. This has given rise to the concept of “range anxiety,” or fear of being stranded due to an empty battery and no way to recharge. The key technologies that may ensure electric vehicles’ further success are battery attribute improvements – improved energy densities, recharging times, durability, and recycling …that lower the cost and improve the range, efficiency and powertrain performance of the vehicleV2G will incorporate many communications technologies, to include cellular, short range ZigBee and possibly vehicle DSRC, if installedV2G will allow drivers to be more conscious of their energy consumption patterns and range to next available charging pointWhile vehicle is parked, Zigbee or DSRC may be used to manage battery monitoring, charging, and utility billing remotely. Spending $10-15K on battery to replace a 25 mpg vehicle only makes sense at $6/gal gasoline – Parallel challenge with Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) and V2Infrastructurearket penetration of electric vehicles may hit a tipping point beyond which new strategies to manage energy and transportation infrastructure must come into playOne main transportation solution to lower dependence on foreign oil, reduce emissions, and enable flexibility in energy generation and distribution
  • The key technologies that may ensure electric vehicles’ further success are battery attribute improvements – improved energy densities, recharging times, durability, and recycling …that lower the cost and improve the range, efficiency and powertrain performance of the vehicleV2G will incorporate many communications technologies, to include cellular, short range ZigBee and possibly vehicle DSRC, if installedV2G will allow drivers to be more conscious of their energy consumption patterns and range to next available charging pointWhile vehicle is parked, Zigbee or DSRC may be used to manage battery monitoring, charging, and utility billing remotely. Spending $10-15K on battery to replace a 25 mpg vehicle only makes sense at $6/gal gasoline – Parallel challenge with Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) and V2InfrastructureMarket penetration of electric vehicles may hit a tipping point beyond which new strategies to manage energy and transportation infrastructure must come into playOne main transportation solution to lower dependence on foreign oil, reduce emissions, and enable flexibility in energy generation and distribution
  • Electric vehicle chargers or EVSEs come in three major modes for charging, depending on the speed of charging required: Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast charging. Level 1 charging, the slowest, uses a 120 volt circuit, meaning that the car can be plugged into a standard electrical outlet. Level 2 chargers use a 240 volt circuit, and require special wiring, although this is generally no more than what is needed for a heavy-duty appliance like an electric clothes dryer. Level 2 chargers are found in garages or in parking lots. Using a Level 2 charger, a Nissan LEAF would be able to fully recharge in 8 hours, and a Chevy Volt in half that time.
  • There are 160,000 gas stations in the US, but only around 3,000 public charging stations. While it is important to begin building some public charging infrastructure, there is also the worry that the number of charging stations and their distribution will not fit the number of electric vehicle drivers or their travel patterns. Chelsea Sexton, an electric vehicle advocate, says the perception that there needs to be a charger on every street corner is wrong. Similarly, attempts to deploy infrastructure along highways, such as the I-5 corridor in California, are premature, as people are not buying electric cars in order to drive cross-country. If deployment happens too fast, it will result in more chargers than cars, and these will be idle assets, perceived as a waste of taxpayer money. The ideal locations to deploy electric vehicle chargers are in public spaces such as parking lots, so that people can charge while they are conducting business or leisure activities, instead of pulling over to the side of the highway to charge their car on a road trip.xxxiii
  • In 2009, the Department of Energy awarded a $99.8 million grant to a company called ECOtality, followed by another $15 million in 2010, to run the EV Project, which is deploying 14,000 electric vehicle chargers in major metropolitan areas in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Texas, Tennessee and the District of Columbia. The Project is also providing EVSEs and paying installation costs for 8,300 qualified Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt drivers in exchange for them allowing the Project to collect and analyze data on their charging habits. The EV Project is installing ECOtality’s Blink brand Level 2 and DC Fast Chargers.
  • Communications technology can go a long way towards solving the chicken-and-egg problem of needing charging infrastructure to encourage electric car use and needing electric vehicles to make infrastructure investment worthwhile. For example, a vehicle with a navigation or information system connected to the internet could constantly be updated with the latest locations of electric vehicle chargers nearby, as well as real-time information about whether those chargers are operating and available. An online parking reservation system could be updated to include not only parking availability, but also which available spots have chargers. An EV navigation system could query all available chargers within the range calculated from current charge levels and real-time traffic information. A reservation could then be placed on a parking spot with a charger near a final or intermediate destination (e.g. rest stop, restaurant), reserving it for the exact time required to fast- recharge the battery, so that the car will make it to its destination. OR Communication technologies have been taking center stage in the push towards vehicle electrification. These vehicles are built to communicate, whether it be to find the location of the nearest charging station, to establish a connection with a wireless charger, or to interact with the smart grid. By definition, an electric vehicle is a connected vehicle. Charging Equipment: to establish a connection with a charger, wireless or otherwise. Smart Grid: In order for the electricity grid to function as expected, electricity demand and supply must be perfectly matched at all times. Traditionally, utilities have done this by turning certain types of power plants and generators on and off as needed, a process known as frequency regulation. Lithium-ion batteries are increasingly being used as frequency regulators, as they have the ability to absorb and discharge energy quickly. As a result, as vehicle-to-grid communications advance, electric vehicles have the potential to help utilities better balance supply and demand. The maximum benefit to the overall electricity system will come if electric vehicles are given special rates to encourage charging at off-peak hours, mainly at night. Rates for EVs need to be distinguished from the rates for other traditional household consumption. Being able to meter and charge different rates to different devices to enable this type of charging control is an impetus for developing the smart grid. Future Smart Grid: Electric vehicles will not only be able to use excess grid capacity at night, they will also be able to sell electricity back to the grid to help out with peak demand. This is also a way for electric vehicle owners to monetize their vehicles. Many vehicles will sit in a parking lot during the day, when electricity demand is highest. They could communicate to the grid how much charge they need to get home, and could then transmit the remaining electricity to the grid for a set price. The U.S. DOT’s connected vehicle program is exploring the idea of concentric communications circles, in which the appropriate communications media is chosen for the task at hand. For electric vehicles, this could take the following form. A car enters a new city, and uses a cellular connection to download a map of the city’s electric vehicle chargers. As the car’s battery begins to run out, it approaches a charger and uses DSRC to determine the charger’s availability and pricing. Finally, as it pulls into the charging station, it could use a short-range technology like ZigBee to handle payment and grid connectivity.(Conversations with Walton Fehr, ITS Joint Program Office, Research and Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation.)However, while wired technology is suitable for vehicle-to-grid communication when a car is plugged in, other data functions such as real-time updates of charging station maps require wireless. One current wireless technology contemplated for vehicle-to-grid is an inexpensive short-range peer-to-peer technology called ZigBee. Although not yet completely embraced by the electricity industry, some utilities adopted the ZigBee Smart Energy Profile in 2007 to enable communication between smart meters and devices. ZigBee is a suite of communication protocols using small, low-power digital radios for personal area networks. ZigBee has a limited transmission range of 10-75 meters, a data rate of less than 250 kbps, and supports only low complexity devices, but it is perfectly suited for industrial control and monitoring, sensor networks, and building automation because of its low cost, high security and the variety of supported network types. In particular, ZigBee is known for its fairly low power consumption, which is a huge advantage over other wireless solutions, especially for battery-operated distributed devices used for smart metering.Wireless communication technologies will encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, at the consumer, utility, and vehicle level. Wi-Fi and cellular are the dominant wireless media for consumers to connect to the internet to access utility metering information as well as range information. ZigBee is seeking to become the de facto standard in wirelessly managing home-area networks to enable smart metering. Wireless communication technologies for utilities such as ZigBee extend connectivity to utility meters, just as wireless communication – the “connected vehicles” idea – extends it to cars. And eventually, all vehicles on the road, including ever increasing numbers of electric vehicles, will be “connected.” The myriad possibilities for vehicle-to-grid communication make electric vehicles very compelling from a connected vehicle point of view. These vehicles are being designed and built from the beginning to communicate, and so are well-suited for U.S. DOT’s vision of the connected vehicle.
  • Challenge:The challenge for both DSRC and electric vehicle deployment is coordinating infrastructure installation with the rollout of equipped vehicles on the roads. For electric vehicles, the risk is that too few charging points may hinder demand as consumers see charging options as too limited to make the switch from gasoline-powered vehicles. Early deployment of charging infrastructure, on the other hand, will leave most charging stations underutilized. Synergies:The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) can take advantage of the new requirements for roadside charging infrastructure that must accompany widespread deployment of electric vehicles. As DOT considers where it may want to introduce roadside units for the connected vehicle program, it might consider charging infrastructure as one entry point. Most importantly, with the exception of the few cars already mentioned, the majority of auto manufacturers are still in the process of designing and producing their electric vehicle lines. DOT may consider encouraging automakers to include vehicle DSRC radios as part of the cars’ communications suite to support short-range vehicle-to-grid communications. Doing so would enable a gradual deployment of DSRC in concentrated areas (major electric vehicle markets right now tend to be in larger metropolitan areas), and allow for better testing and data collection in real-world environments. Additionally, as electric vehicle production scales up, economies of scale would drive down the price of vehicle DSRC radios. There are nearly 130,000 gas stations in the United States, and around 2,000 public EV charging stations. Energy distribution nodes like gas stations or electric vehicle charging stations may be opportune locations for vehicle DSRC hotspots. Public EV charging stations, like gas stations, are unique in that vehicles must visit them on a regular basis to recharge, or in the case of gasoline-powered vehicles, to refuel. This presents a unique opportunity. One of the main requirements of a vehicle DSRC network is to guarantee that every car will communicate with roadside equipment periodically in order to ensure that the DSRC-equipped vehicle can be verified as functioning properly, and if deemed to be properly functioning be issued a security certificate. This security certificate is transmitted to other vehicles, along with safety messages to ensure that other vehicles trust that the car sending the message is trustworthy and not sending erroneous or compromised information. DOT has contemplated deployment of DSRC roadside units in the country’s gas stations as a way to ensure that all DSRC vehicles, in particular those vehicles that may not have another channel through a telematics service provider or some other communication systems, have at least one distribution channel available to them to accept new or updated credentials.  Electric vehicles easily meet this requirement, as they have to connect to a charger every few days at least. If all public EVSEs are equipped with DSRC radios, charging could serve the dual purpose of recharging the battery and reissuing updated security certificates. In addition, EV chargers with vehicle DSRC radios would enable the download of relevant vehicle data on a regular or semi-regular basis. Using EVSEs as a platform could be a good way to seed a new DSRC network and spread out infrastructure costs. On the flipside, if wireless charging becomes common, DSRC could conceivably be used in place of Wi-Fi or ZigBee to communicate between the vehicle and the EVSE, eliminating the need for multiple radios. EVSEs installed in private homes could also be used to update vehicle DSRC security credentials from electric vehicles. However, this may be inadvisable since this would violate the “anonymity by design” principle espoused by auto industry stakeholders to assure drivers that vehicle DSRC could never be used track a driver’s origin or destination, while still ensuring the system functions to provide vehicle crash prevention applications.  Ultimately the deployment of vehicle crash prevention technologies such as vehicle DSRC may have a positive long-term impact on electric and other alternative fuel vehicles, perhaps in a rather transformative way. If crash prevention systems improve to such a degree in the next two or three decades that drivers would be willing to trade heavier, more crash-worthy vehicles (i.e., vehicles with structure and weight to absorb the energy of a crash to protect the occupants) for lighter, more fuel-efficient ones, this could render electric vehicles on par with conventional ones in terms of driving range, and could tip the balance in their favor because of the lower price of electricity as fuel. Greater safety performance through connected vehicles may ultimately improve the energy efficiency and environmental sustainability of transportation.
  • Electric Vehicles: Implications for Infrastructure and Vehicle Communications

    1. 1. Electric Vehicles:Implications for Infrastructureand Vehicle Communications Joerg “Nu” Rosenbohm Chief Technology Officer Intelligent Transportation Society of America
    2. 2. Electric Vehicle (EV) Outlook• After a decade in production, finally becoming a presence in the market• Popular models include Nissan LEAF (battery electric), Chevy Volt (extended-range electric)• Current sales are limited by: – High cost – Limited driving range – Lack of charging infrastructure
    3. 3. Electric Vehicle (EV) Outlook• Fuel efficiency standards are tightening (54 MPG by 2025) but are not enough to ensure success of EVs as conventional fuel vehicles improve.• Key EV success factors: – Reduced Cost: Cheaper batteries or rising fuel prices could tip the balance in favor of EV. – Improved Performance: New battery technology and build-out of charging infrastructure – Compromise: Plug-in Hybrids and EV-Extenders that further push technology and expand production economies of scale
    4. 4. EV Charging Infrastructure• Level 1 and Level 2 – Level 1, 120V, can be plugged into standard outlet – Level 2, 240V, needs special installation, most common – Level 1 and 2 chargers are still slow, with a Level 2 charger able to charge a Nissan LEAF in 8 hours.• DC Fast Charging – 400V of direct current can charge vehicles in under 30 mins, but is very expensive.• Wireless or Inductive Charging – In development, could lead to “charging routes” on roads
    5. 5. EV Charging Infrastructure Outlook• Public charging infrastructure is needed to alleviate “range anxiety”• Hard to determine right amount of public charging infrastructure – Depends on trends in battery and charging technology, linked with parking service models – Lack of widespread deployment of charging infrastructure may frustrate consumers – But too many idle charging stations are wasted investments• Improvements in battery technology will reduce need for public charging stations
    6. 6. EV Charging Infrastructure Outlook• Department of Energy’s EV Project collecting data on charging habits• Many unanswered questions, including: – How do potentially thousands of EVs in an urban area find empty spaces with chargers? – How will parking operators know how many chargers are needed to meet peak demand?
    7. 7. EVs and Communication Technologies• Electric vehicles will need to communicate – With driver – With the charging equipment – With the “smart grid”• Multiple “circles” of technology – Large area: Cellular – Medium distance: WiFi, DSRC – Short distance: ZigBee, wireline 8
    8. 8. Parallel Challenges• DSRC and EV rollout have similar challenges – Need to coordinate building infrastructure and rolling out equipped vehicles in any given area• Synergies – Early stage of EV development, manufacturers might add DSRC radios to cars – Public EV charging infrastructure can include DSRC radios – EVs might download certificates when they connect to chargers – Safety advances resulting from DSRC can lead to lighter vehicles, which will travel further on existing battery capacity 9
    9. 9. Thank You! For more information:www.itsa.org/knowledgecenter/technologyscan 10

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