Modules, Connectivity

When IoT Connectivity Hits the Road: Are Electric Highways the Cure for EV Range Anxiety?

September 19, 2022

In the spring and summer of 2022, U.S. gas prices reached an all-time high. For example, on May 26, 2022, the American Automobile Association (AAA) reported that the average stood at $4.60. Some states like California hovered above $6.00. In Los Angeles, where prices were the nation’s highest, drivers saw upwards of $7.25 at certain pumps.

Many wonder how high prices can go before people cut back on miles or ditch the combustion engine for an electric vehicle (EV).

Since the introduction of the Model T by the Ford Motor Company in 1908, America has been obsessed with cars. Vehicles represent freedom and independence. They have enabled people to explore the open roads and move from cities to suburban and rural areas.

Barriers to EV Adoption

Today, research firm Hedges & Company reports approximately 290 million registered passenger vehicles. These statistics are drawn from every car-owning household in the nation — around 132 million. This figure means each household has two or more vehicles. Despite incentives and the push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, EVs still account for less than 2% of all vehicles on the road.

Given the current climate debate, inflation and cost of petroleum, more Americans are considering purchasing an EV but not committing yet. Cost and lack of infrastructure hold many back. These have created mental and physical barriers resulting in the ongoing conversation around range anxiety. Dozens of reports like this one from J.D. Power list battery range as a top factor that drivers consider before purchasing an EV.

Hybrid vehicles try to address this by combining a smaller EV range running on a battery with a gasoline combustion engine. This combination provides extended range when the battery runs out.

Hybrid EVs can fill the gap for some buyers for the next few years. However, this does not eliminate the gasoline part. Therefore, it is an interim solution until a permanent EV solution becomes viable.

The Rise of E-Roads for EV Charging

E-roads make it possible to charge EVs while driving.

EV charging depends on well-established electrical infrastructure (especially in rural areas) and internet access for the charging stations that will plug into the vehicle. Whether charging at home or in public, it still takes considerable time to fully power the battery compared to pumping gas.

It also depends on fixed locations, so wireless charging is taking center stage with carmakers. Volvo began a three-year pilot project with a small fleet of Volvo electric taxis in Sweden. Since 2011, the country has been working on building electric roads (e-roads) so that vehicles can charge while driving. Last year, Sweden opened a two-kilometer (km) testing track that stretches from Stockholm’s Arlanda airport to a logistics center. “eRoad Arlanda” is part of the Swedish government’s plan to expand e-roads nationwide to reach its sustainability goals.

How IoT Connectivity Enables E-Roads and EV Charging

With sensors central to the new technology, reliable and ubiquitous connectivity is essential. Sweden has one of the highest internet speeds at 19.1 megabits per second (Mbps) (only South Korea is faster at 26.7 Mbps). The country consistently ranks among the top 10 for mobile networks.

Their internet speed gives Sweden a significant advantage when developing wireless technologies for EV charging. It can serve as a success model for others, including the U.S., where the average internet speed is 14.2 Mbps, and mobile upload speed is 8.40 Mbps.

As the world transitions to digital and Internet of Things (IoT) technology, cellular IoT connectivity will drive innovations, from EVs to e-roads and everything in between. In the U.S., particularly with the continued rollout of 5G, connectivity will be critical for wired and wireless charging. It may eventually be wireless that eliminates range anxiety and convinces drivers to make the switch.

Telit: Your IoT Partner for EV Charging

Telit provides secure and reliable IoT modules, SIMs and connectivity plans for IoT-enabled smart city solutions like EV charging. We enable complete device and connectivity management for every charging station in your IoT deployment.

Our connectivity solutions give you the ability to scale and empower you with visibility and control for every charging station SIM. IoT modules and SIMs allow EV charging stations to exchange data securely and conduct payments with the charge point operator’s backend system.

Speak with a Telit IoT expert today to start developing your EV charging solution.