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Drivers and Barriers to Implementation of Electric Vehicles

By: Sam Mahdavian & Alireza Shojaei

Summarized Description:

The cost of battery technology, battery life, the number of charging stations, and the charging wait time are among the main concerns regarding fleet electrification. In addition, there would be no fuel tax income created by EVs to invest in mega-scale projects. A survey of 500 fleet managers by Deloitte found that 86% of users aimed to deploy EVs over the next five years, and that 27% were already utilizing EVs. Just over half (55%) of the respondents cited the high purchase cost of the vehicle as the main barrier to adopting EVs. In the U.S., 48% of the participants said they had concerns over battery life. Rising energy costs were identified as the most significant barrier overall, with 72% citing it as their biggest concern.

Additionally, the infrastructure supporting these new electric vehicles is still lacking for the mass market but can provide support for specific commercial use cases based on fleets. Mohamad and Songthaveephol reported that EV sales accounted for less than 1% of the global vehicle sales from 2011 to 2016 and that investment in charging station infrastructure was needed to increase this figure. To increase EV ownership to a level that is comparable to or even preferable to fossil fuel-use car ownership, infrastructure development must be robust. Long lines of EV cars waiting to be recharged is a sign of many EVs on the road, which requires comparable growth in the number of charging stations. In many countries, the investment needed to upgrade a stations’ facilities remains a serious obstacle. However, merely adding more stations does not solve the most significant barrier to charging, which is how long it takes to charge an EV completely. A fuel pump can, on average, fill the fuel tank of a car in about five minutes, whereas it takes about 30 minutes to recharge using a Tesla Supercharger. The wait time problem is greater than the lack of available charging stations, which also causes long queues. Tesla does make a Supercharger that can give a 75-mile charge in just five minutes, but those stations are not yet widespread.

Furthermore, even with Tesla Supercharger’s relatively rapid speed, it is not compatible with other brands of EVs. Fully charging a non-Tesla EV can take up to 10 hours, which presents a considerable inconvenience to anyone who does not want to add an extra night to a long-distance road trip. Suggestions to enhance EV adoption include educating citizens about the benefits and implementation of BEVs, expanding EV charging stations, allocating incentives for private investment, and finally, battery swapping. The public awareness of EV benefits should be correspondingly increased through workshops and podcasts for various age groups. Moreover, electric technology demonstrations should be launched. Another possibility is that governments could start the adoption of a ‘‘zero emissions policy’’ for different types of fleets. Regarding the expansion of charging stations, substantial investments in public charging infrastructure points would be key to the success of EV implementation.

The automobile sector needs to be creative in finding revenue and making the business case comparable to other scenarios for the private sector. Different business models should be developed and deployed for each of the above-mentioned potential solutions as the revenues will differ depending on consumers’ interaction with the infrastructure. Governments could also invest in various mobility types and assemble charging stations in low-income districts. Additionally, the presence of supercharging stations on the street network must be improved significantly. Free parking options for EVs would be another incentive to explore. While the growing number of EV owners wait for a substantial improvement in charging infrastructure, battery swapping could enable people to obtain a full charge without waiting in a queue. EVs could drive into a swap-station and have a robot rapidly substitute the drained battery with a fully charged one. Swapping solves several problems presented by current charging practices, with speed being most obvious. Another notable issue is that converting all passenger cars in the U.S to electric vehicles would consume 28% more power than the country currently produces. Converting California’s cars to electric would consume 50% more power than the state produces. So, it is not just about infrastructure for charging; it is about getting more power from somewhere. It is also crucial to note that a large portion of the population cannot afford ridesharing, AVs, or EVs. Furthermore, most EV buses have been deployed in high visibility areas of a city, and not where most of the ridership congregate [49]. City planners should consider this issue and solve it accordingly. Additionally, with the emerging trends discussed in the introduction, such as population and urbanization growth, shared electric vehicles (EVs) are playing an increasing critical role in the future mobility-on-demand traffic system. There are multiple proposals to enhance the efficiency of the current models. Liang et al. suggest joint charging scheduling, order dispatching, and vehicle rebalancing for large-scale shared EV fleet operators. T. Chen, 2016, introduced a framework for optimal routing and charging of an EV fleet for high-efficiency dynamic transit systems while considering energy efficiency and charging price. Korkas et al., 2018, instead of state-of-the-art charging scheduling based on open-loop strategies that rely on initial operating conditions, suggests an approximate dynamic programming feedback-based optimization approach, where the feedback action guarantees uniformity regarding initial operating conditions. Jerbi et al., 2009 , have also proposed an ‘‘enhanced greedy traffic-aware routing protocol’’ (GyTAR). This intersection-based geographical routing protocol is competent in detecting robust and optimal routes within urban environments.

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