Surging Ahead: Electric Cars & Vehicle Charging Stations
Fuel prices, the supply chain and climate change are all top-of-mind issues for consumers and business leaders alike. They are also contributing to the skyrocketing interest and demand in electric vehicles.
While the origins of electric cars date back to the 1800s, EVs as we know them today only recently burst on the scene in the 2000s with the emergence of hybrids like the Chevy Volt and the all-electric Tesla Roadster — and they have been disrupting and revolutionizing the automotive industry ever since.
According to the International Energy Agency, EVs experienced a record year in 2020 after a decade of rapid growth with more than 10 million electric cars on the world’s roads. In the U.S., cumulative sales of EVs since 2010 totaled more than 2.3 million as of December 2021; and in the first quarter of 2022, Americans bought nearly twice as many EVs as they did in the first quarter of 2021, leading EVs to account for more than 5% of total car sales for the first time, according to the latest data from Kelley Blue Book.
The expansion and maturity of the technology combined with the influx of consumers is allowing electric cars to be more affordable, more efficient and just better overall. Not only are there 50 models now commercially available on the U.S. market with more to come, but electric startups — and proud JVIS partners — Lucid Air and Rivian were named Car of the Year and Truck of the Year by MotorTrend.
The real secret sauce for most top EV companies is twofold: battery technology and AI for autonomous driving (data collection and real-world decision-making considering various inputs from other vehicles, pedestrians, weather, etc.). With every advancement and technological innovation, this rapidly growing industry is propelling us ever further into the future. JVIS remains at the forefront of change, partnering with multiple California-based EV car companies currently in production and pre-production, developing a host of technologies to supplement and enhance the EV revolution.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
From the very beginning, JVIS has been a strong believer and supporter in the future of EVs. We serve our employees that drive EVs by having electric vehicle charging stations at both of our Shelby facilities as well as our global headquarters.
It’s this standardization and ease of charging that is revolutionizing transportation and elevating the EV market. According to Plug In America, approximately 85% of EV charging takes place at home or at work, so many EV drivers do not need to rely on public charging. However, for those without access to charging at home or on a longer trip, they can recharge on the go by checking in on a smartphone app or visiting the Plug In America charging station locator.
There are also a growing number of charging networks popping up in various states. Blink Network, ChargePoint, EVgo, Greenlots and The Electric Circuit account for thousands of charging stations across the country. In addition, the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy are also working to create a national electric vehicle charging network, an important step toward making electric vehicle charging accessible to all Americans.
Innovations in Electric Car Batteries
But with charging improvements comes questions of battery cost and efficiency. JVIS is known for our unique and specialized lighting elements. In an electric car, such integrated lighting needs to have a separate power source. Is there enough power in current lithium-ion batteries to do the job, and can the charging time be reduced? Likely, the future will be solid-state batteries, which could expand driving distances by hundreds of miles and reduce charge times down to a minute. In a few years, “extreme fast charging” should also be available, charging a current EV up to 80% in just a half hour.
As EV sales continue to trend upward, leading automakers and vehicle brands are pushing along with suppliers and technology partners to develop innovations to increase EV battery range. JVIS is entering the fold with MicroHeat Automotive, a new PTC heating unit that is unique in the way it heats water and glycol. The advantage of this innovation delivers greater vehicle battery range by as much as 30-40% in the cold. JVIS is working on testing the heating technology with a few major automotive brands to do our part in eliminating range anxiety.
Wireless Charging and Autonomous Vehicles
The momentum behind EVs continues to grow and so do new and exciting innovations in mobility like wireless charging. This is an area near and dear to our hearts here at JVIS. In addition to creating various enclosed charging stations for several automakers, including Rivian, JVIS was the first to introduce in-car wireless charging technology with the 2012 Dodge Dart charging pad.
With all of our technologies, JVIS is looking for the smartest, safest and most efficient ways to take the next leap forward, and wireless charging for electric cars — even when the vehicles are on the move — is on the horizon. The University of Utah has outfitted a few buses with wireless charging pads, allowing them to get their battery into the green passively at each stop.
This is just one of the few new perks to the evolution of EVs that is leading to the expansion of urban fleets everywhere. Soon, that wirelessly charging bus will be driven autonomously, like the fleets currently in development by Uber, Lyft and major automakers.
At JVIS, we see a golden era for electric vehicles on the horizon. Stronger batteries, smarter AI, more efficient charging methods, and incorporating sustainable materials into vehicle components are just the baselines of what’s possible in the not-so-distant future, and we expect to be pushing forward as innovators along with our peers.
So, the next time you visit our facilities in Shelby, feel free to plug-in alongside us as we move into the electric future.