June 13, 2023
I think I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my mother owns a Tesla. She loves it and I have to admit I enjoy driving it when Debbie and I visit. A lot of other Americans must love them too as EV ownership rose 50% last year. And revenue in the Electric Vehicles market is projected to reach $70.13 Billion by the end of this year. Not surprising, unit sales in the Electric Vehicles market are expected to reach 2.46 Million vehicles in 2028.
The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which funds $7.5 Billion in EV charging infrastructure will help support that growth by building thousands of charging stations all of the US. Debbie and I don’t own an EV but are planning to wire the garage in our house build project to accommodate charging stations in each of the bays.
But what does the future of EV charging look like? The answer to that may be as simple as looking where EVs spend most if not all of their time … in the road.
The country of Sweden is taking an innovative approach to the future EV charging needs of its citizens by doing just that. Building smarter roads and they’re on the fast track. A road capable of charging electric vehicles en route to their destinations could power up as soon as 2025. Sweden is on track to electrifying a 13-mile portion of its E20 highway, located between Sweden’s two largest cities, Stockholm and Gothenburg.
The electric road system, or ERS project is overseen by the nation’s transport administration, who is still determining which of a few specific technologies could be best suited for the task. Ground-based conductive and ground-based inductive charging look to be the best options for public commuter vehicles, smaller vehicles and private EVs.
In a ground-based conductive format, power would transfer from specialized tracks installed either on top or below the pavement via a mechanical arm. Inductive charging would require conductive coils installed in both the roads and vehicles. As futuristic as these ideas may sound, Sweden has already successfully tested three ERS methods in various areas around the nation.
There are immense benefits to expanding ERS capabilities, beyond just the immediate convenience. Increased reliance on ERS installations alongside at-home EV charging could lower electrical grid demands during peak usage times as many people charge their cars after work and during the night, which puts a lot of strain on the power grid. By charging more evenly throughout the day, peak load would be significantly reduced.
Other benefits include potentially reducing vehicle battery size by as much as 70%. Those smaller batteries would mean less rare earth materials are harvested, leading to potentially cheaper, more accessible EV options for consumers.
Sweden isn’t the only country looking to electrify portions of its roadways. Similar projects are also underway in the UK, Germany, Italy and Israel. Here in the US, a Norwegian company plans to install a one-mile ERS prototype section within a stretch of four-lane highway near Orlando, Florida.
So what does all this have to do with smart home? Obviously, taking strain off of the power grid can only be a good thing. And building more cost effective EVs will put more of them into people’s garages. But that doesn’t change the need for installing an EV charger in your garage. Or does it?
Once roads are capable of efficiently charging electric vehicles, what’s the next logical smart home application? Smart garage floors and driveways.
Imagine the day when you just park your EV in your garage or driveway and it charges without having to plug it in. How much easier could life get if it charged based on your preset schedule, during off-peak load periods determined by AI or even on demand through a voiue assistant. Think about the efficiency and cost savings potential. Obviously this concept could be applied to other electric devices like robot lawn mowers or pool cleaning robots. What about a patio with charging capabilities for your smartphone, Bluetooth speaker or electric grill? Think of all the possibilities.
This may seem like my imagination running wild but look back and see how smart home technology has advanced in the last seven years since Debbie and I got started with it. I love the innovation and endless possibilities of it as smart home evolves every day. Think of a ‘crazy’ technology you’d like in your home and I bet there’s already something out there or in development.
If you’re familiar with smart home already, you probably feel like I do. If you’re just starting out with smart home, all I can say is ‘think big.’ I’d love to hear your feedback about EVs and charging. If you own an EV, how do you prefer to charge it — charging station or at home? What efficiencies have you realized, if any? What do you think about electric charging roads? Is it a crazy idea to consider electric charging in your driveway or garage floor?
Let Debbie and I know in the comments, DMs and emails what you think. Thanks again to all those following Debbie and I through our home building journey. It’s great to hear your success stories and suggestions as we move through the process. And if you like the content I’m posting each week, don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow.’
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