With countries like the UK, Norway, Netherlands, Germany and India setting targets to end sales of petroleum in the near future, I am sure other countries will also begin to do so. Norway is currently leading the way with a target for the ban on sales of petroleum gas by 2025. Consequently, the electric car trend has to pick up to replace cars driven by the internal combustion engine. While most are optimistic about electric cars, experts warn that huge investments are still needed for infrastructure to support electric car nations.
Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint, in an interview with Times Free Press suggested, “…workplaces should have one charger for every 2.5 electric cars and retail stores need one for every 20 electric cars. Highways need one every 50 to 75 miles…”. He concluded that there is a lot of gaps that still needed to be filled.
Even if workplaces, malls and other public car garages have sufficient charging points, homes should also be electric car ready to convince people that it is worth the while to embrace the electric car movement. Living in an apartment block or condominiums will probably pose the biggest problem since cars will have to share charging points.
Besides charging points, other questions are being raised about whether the electric grid is able to sustain the extra demands on it if thousands or even millions more of electric cars are hooked onto the nation’s electric supply. Interestingly, Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology is currently under study, and results suggest that the millions of small car batteries that hook onto the grid can actually act as extra power storage, thus benefiting the grid as a whole. (Click on image below to read about V2G)
But before we get ahead of ourselves, we should also consider the impact of an increase in electric cars on the environment and on mankind. Disturbing reports have emerged, telling of children being exploited to do the dangerous and hazardous job of mining for cobalt. Cobalt is unfortunately a main ingredient in the production of the batteries used in electric cars. Thus, the increase in demand for electric cars will also mean an increase in the demand for such batteries which will in turn drive up the demand for cobalt. Any mining activity in itself is harmful to the ecosystem and the children who are being exploited to do the mining work are also at the losing end.
In summary, electric car nations cannot happen unless governments and businesses work together to build infrastructure and to solve social, economic and environmental issues that accompany the increase in demand for electric cars. These gaps can be solved with innovation and Research and Development. This is why, I see so much potential for entrepreneurs to contribute in this area, to make electric car nations a reality.
Following is a summary of gaps that still need to be plugged. I am sure there are more, but these will start us off on brainstorming how we can help to realize the vision for electric cars.
A) Provision of sufficient charging points in workplaces, shopping malls, and other public areas
B) Charging points for the homes, especially apartment blocks, condominiums, etc. where charging points have to be shared between residents
C) Increased research in the impact of electric cars on the electric grid
D) Increased research and development on V2G technology
E) Possibly new battery technology that does not require cobalt
F) Environmentally responsible mining of cobalt that does not violate human rights
G) Alternative power supplies e.g. solar powered cars, supply power from wind and solar energy, roads that charge cars as they drive
I am still not sure what I am going to write in my next post, but I have found many Facebook and Google Plus groups that are dedicated to electric cars. There are still many active discussions going on and I am sure I will come back with more insights by the end of this week. Have a good week ahead!