This article originally appeared in the Spring 2015 Issue of Innovation & Tech Today.
One of the key barriers to the wide scale use of electric vehicles is the fact that they need to be recharged. Specifically, the problem lies with an insufficient charging infrastructure since recharging requires electric vehicles to be plugged in. Most people who have an electric car plug in at home because of the lack of charging stations in the U.S.
Electric cars are growing in popularity. In the last year, approximately 17,000 electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. That number is expected to increase to more than one million in the next 8 to 10 years. However, there are just 9,000 charging stations in the U.S — small change compared to a country such as Japan, which has more than 40,000 charging stations (compared to 34,000 gas stations). In the United States, the number of gas stations stands at more than 120,000.
The question is: how to augment and improve the electric vehicle charging (EVC) sector? Smartenit Inc. is helping to create the network that will make it easier for electric vehicle owners to find a charging place wherever needed. Most people would think that the simplest solution is to simply build more charging stations. Sounds simple, but the true answer is more nuanced.
More charge points may stress the electric grid, particularly at times when overall demand is high (such as rush hour drives). According to Smartenit CEO Al Choperena, increased connectivity can alleviate this potential stress. Smartenit has used an Internet of Things (IoT) philosophy to build harmonious communication between devices that enables them to be managed and run efficiently and effectively. Smartenit’s ideas have allowed multiple devices that speak different wireless languages to work together in a home automation network. The result is a home that operates better, uses less energy, is safer and costs less to manage.
By applying this same IoT framework to the EVC sector, Smartenit will allow the facilitation of efficient energy distribution. By creating charge controllers that sense both energy consumption and charging demand plus allow pinpoint control of charge state, Smartenit will help those behind the charging infrastructure manage a growing network. This will make it easier to get the electricity that people need. It can help create the network of charging points necessary for the use of electric vehicles.
The number of EVCs is going to grow. For instance, an electric utility in California is working on a plan to build 25,000 chargers in the next five years, and Smartenit is well positioned to connect these charging points wirelessly.