Eliminating EV Charging Queue Chaos: How Real-Time Data Movement Will Ensure Demand Doesn’t Outstrip Availability

Eliminating EV Charging Queue Chaos: How Real-Time Data Movement Will Ensure Demand Doesn’t Outstrip Availability

As more electric vehicles (EV) hit the roads across the U.S. and production continues to ramp up, the spotlight has now turned to the charging infrastructure required to support mass EV adoption. The question on everyone’s minds is whether demand will outstrip availability. Stats show EV adoption is growing at a rate that is almost double that of charger installation growth rates. Before range and charging anxiety bursts the EV bubble, the IT behind charging points and EV charging apps needs a major re-think. Real-time data movement solutions will give live access to charging point status and support constant availability updates to keep EVs charged and on the road.

Almost six percent of all cars sold in the U.S. last year were electric. While this might seem a small percentage, total units equated to 800,000 vehicles. Add to this the constant annual increase in electric vehicle purchases and it is clear that usage will have a ripple effect on the infrastructure required to support this load.

Charging is a pain point that consumers are beginning to feel. Estimates show there are currently more than 148,000 EV charging points across 56,000 stations in the U.S. This compares to more than 145,000 conventional fueling stations, but when you factor that each station has between six to 12 pumps, that equates to 900,000 to 1.8 million gas pumps. EV charging points have some distance to make up.

Government is aware of the challenge; the White House wants to nearly triple the number of EV charging points by building a national network of 500,000 EV chargers, and the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $7.5 billion to fund its construction.

Lack of Charging Infrastructure Fueling Anxiety and Impacting Consumer Confidence

With demand outstripping supply, many drivers are arriving at charging stations to charge their vehicles, yet often they’ll be met with a full car park or a number of broken chargers. McKinsey had found that nearly half of U.S. consumers say that battery or charging issues are their top concerns about buying EVs. It’s no stretch to say that the nation’s limited network of charging stations is beginning to discourage many prospective buyers.

In fact, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago found high prices and too few charging stations the main deterrents to EV purchasing, concluding that only around four in 10 U.S. adults are at least somewhat likely to switch. If not addressed, this has the potential to undermine all the hard work completed so far to create a greener planet.

Outdated Charging App Information Puts the Brakes on EV Travel

Another issue deterring people from the EV option is the lack of reliable information coming from EV charging apps. These apps identify where the next charging points are and whether they are available. The problems occur because the apps don’t always provide updates quickly enough to the driver, inevitably causing the wrong or outdated messages to be communicated. For example, the app will say that the charger is available, when in fact, the driver arrives and it is either in use or broken. The result of this leads, more often than not, to a build-up of vehicles queuing for access to a charging station.

In comparison to a traditional service station, which is designed to form queues and rapidly dispense fuel, EV users are left without knowing where they are in that queue, who got there first, and how long they’ll need to wait before a charger is made available to them. This uncertainty can lead to unnecessary wait times and longer journeys. Drivers are having to park in lanes where traffic should be flowing, causing vehicles to act as obstructions, blocking the view of the charging points, and causing inescapable chaos. It is also possible that drivers will have to continue driving to the next station without any reassurance that it will actually have a working charging point available for them.

Real-Time Data: Underpinning a Real-Time EV Charging System

What is vital to the success of EVs is the ability to access this charging point status information as soon as possible, with live updating of charging point availability. Thankfully, technological capabilities do exist for this today. Real-time data movement is critical in resolving these pitfalls crippling the system. EV manufacturers need to understand that the success of broad EV usage is hinged on such an infrastructure.

“Range anxiety,” the worry of how many miles an EV can go before recharging, has now become “charge anxiety,” the worry that drivers won’t be able to complete their full journeys due to lack of chargers. For drivers to have trust in EVs as a long-term investment, they must have reliable location information, updated instantly, to plan their next charge.

With Event Driven Architecture, Charging Points Become the Main “Event”

The movement of real-time data can be enabled through an event-driven architecture (EDA). Defined as a software design pattern, EDA is an enterprise IT system that allows the natural flow of applications, microservices and connected devices in a real-time manner as events occur throughout a process. An “event” and “event streaming” are ways of thinking about real-time data movement. A virtual queuing system can be created using EDA to gather real-time location information on where the cars are, the status of the charging points and who has arrived and is leaving.

By using real-time instrumentation to gather the status of cars, charging points and back-end systems, the EV charging process can be successfully orchestrated. This technology could allow an EV to be automatically registered in a virtual queue based upon identifying when a driver arrives at the charging point and then estimating the necessary wait time. It allows drivers the opportunity to park out of the way of traffic and be notified once their charging station is available.

By implementing as-it-happens information on available charging points, governments and EV manufacturers can put the decision-making and trust back into the hands of drivers. This will not only aid in increasing demand for EVs long-term, but will ensure the driving experience for all involved is better streamlined.

This will create a more efficient service when charging on the go. The result? A more enjoyable journey, without any EV anxiety, paving the way for increased consumer confidence and optimized use of a growing charging network. It’s the boost EVs will need to accelerate consumer adoption.

Author Profile
Steve Buchko
VP of Product Management - Solace

Steve Buchko is Solace’s VP of Product Management, Core Products, leading a team that works closely with our customers, CTO and our engineers to define Solace’s product roadmap and direction. Buchko was one of our first product architects, and continues to collaborate with Solace’s product architecture team, translating the customer requirements into a robust product design.

Prior to joining Solace, Buchko had a long career at Newbridge Networks (later Alcatel Canada), where his roles included product manager, product architect and software team manager. He was responsible for the definition and development of IP routing and ATM switching features across a variety of Newbridge products. Buchko was a regular attendee at the IETF, and is co-inventor of several patents in the telecommunications and networking space.

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