Charging ahead with electrified mobility
Ford is increasing its investment in electric vehicles to $30 billion through 2025 and expects 40 percent of its global sales volume to be EVs by 2030.
General Motors is planning to offer 30 new electric vehicles by 2025 and add more than 2,700 fast chargers over the next five years.
Volvo Cars is putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road and making 50 percent of all its sales volume fully electric by 2025.
Kia is aiming to include 11 new models in its electric vehicle lineup by 2026 and have EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids make up 40 percent of all its sales by 2030.
While automakers, suppliers and governments across the world are working toward an electrified future, there are still challenges impacting widespread EV adoption, especially in the U.S. With more electric vehicle models expected to hit the roads in coming years, which should satisfy consumers, other challenges to address include developing the charging infrastructure and cost parity to support the increased use of EVs.
Range anxiety remains real
Range anxiety is a primary concern – and barrier – for mass consumer EV adoption. BASF is a leading advanced cathode active materials supplier for lithium-ion batteries, the power source for EVs. Advanced cathode active materials are central to the efficiency, reliability, cost, durability and size of the battery. The chemistry BASF is developing is an enabling factor for longer range and shorter charging times. To further improve its high-performance materials, BASF developed the Licity® anode binder series for lithium-ion battery manufacturing. Licity® binders also enable higher capacity, increase the charge cycles and reduce charging times.
Thanks to these advancements in battery technologies, electric vehicles are capable of going further on a single charge. Now that EV range is improving, the infrastructure needs to catch up. Range anxiety no longer lies with the actual vehicle; rather anxiety is around a lack of adequate charging networks.
How far drivers must travel before reaching a station to recharge their EVs can depend on the state. For example, California has more than 22,000 charging stations, New York has more than 3,000 stations and North Dakota only has 36 stations. Most electric vehicles can go about 200-250 miles on a charge, which can be sufficient for driving shorter distances, like to the office or to the grocery store. But the lack of charging stations, especially along highways or major travel routes, hinders long distance travel. A massive increase in public charging stations is necessary to help mitigate anxiety and make EVs a more viable option for drivers.
It’s also necessary that, no matter the charging network, all station chargers are compatible with every electric vehicle. EVs should have universal access to charging stations to also help reduce range anxiety.
Improving the integrity of the charging infrastructure
Imagine driving miles out of the way to reach a compatible charging station, just to find out the charger is broken. The physical charging infrastructure components must maintain mechanical performance at high temperatures, exhibit high dimensional stability and remain durable. BASF’s Ultramid®, Ultramid® Advanced, Ultradur® and Elastollan® solutions can be leveraged for applications such as charging cables, charging gun and outlet and energy storage. With BASF eMobility materials, components will meet high standards for safety, durability and mechanical achievement.
As more drivers switch from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric, this also means an increased dependence on the electric grid. Some locations will need to upgrade power generation capacity to accommodate all the EVs without placing stress on the electric grid. The high penetration of EVs by 2050 is anticipated to increase electricity consumption by more than 35 percent. To prevent overloading the grid, it would be best to charge EVs during off-peak hours, either early in the morning or overnight, which can be problematic for some EV owners.
Achieving access equity and cost parity
Many consumers note that access to charging stations and cost are barriers to EV adoption. At-home charging stations are important, providing a convenient way for drivers to regularly charge their EVs. But what about EV drivers that live in apartment complexes or have to park in garages without chargers? Installing charging stations may be cost prohibitive for building owners. In addition, the logistics of how to allocate this additional cost to specific EV drivers from shared outlets would need to be determined. EV charging must be equitable, no matter the driver’s income level or whether they live in a rural area or a city.
From tax credits for purchasing an electric vehicle and targeted subsidies to build more charging stations, federal and state incentives can help alleviate cost concerns and drive greater momentum behind EV adoption.
“Building a charging infrastructure that offers consumers greater convenience and confidence will help ensure broader electric vehicle adoption,” says Curtis Zimmermann, Government Liaison at BASF. “BASF is working closely with OEMs to develop new materials for use in the eMobility market and routinely engages with agencies like the Department of Energy on technologies for use in the EV landscape. We’re a strategic partner for making eMobility a practical reality.”