A Car-Charging Grid Might Be Modeled On Sharing And The Blockchain

A Car-Charging Grid Might Be Modeled On Sharing And The Blockchain
Automotive

A new plan wants to give electric vehicles much-needed support with an expansive charging infrastructure that taps into the sharing economy

Cristina DiGiacomo
  • 5 september 2017

The demand for electric cars may be broadening, but something is still putting the breaks on mass adoption. Concerns about being on that lonely highway with a battery running low are certainly on the minds of consumers and remain a barrier in deciding to go full EV or not. Luckily, energy is gathering around creating a public car-charging infrastructure—one that can be developed quickly by leveraging already existing car and driving “nodes.”

The first and most obvious locations are gas stations, but they’re not enough. A charging network with solid economic payoffs is needed. Ideas exist to reach this goal, including modding lamp posts for street-level and residential charging. Looking toward the “sharing economy,” there are companies jumping into person-to-person charging, like a partnership between eMotorWerks and MotionWerk. Homeowners who have a charging pole outside can make it available to other EV owners with an app that shows where EV charging stations are located.

The economics and data tracking for electric vehicles also employ the latest in decentralized accounting: blockchains. MotionWerk is tracking electrons and energy flows from its charging poles and EVs, making possible a whole new way of observing energy consumption and movement on a macro level.

“We see people are reluctant to buy EVs because they are afraid that the range isn’t long enough,” Franziska Heintel, head of U.S. operations for InnovationHub, told Fast Company. “With our platform, we aim to make life with an electric vehicle easier. On the blockchain, a lot of devices can be connected together and transactions can happen automatically.”

Here’s how it breaks down in numbers. Half of U.S. EV owners have home charging stations, amounting to approximately 300,000 potential nodes for charging. There are charging station home kits that cost about $600. To outfit a shopping mall with charging stations it costs $10,000 or more. A single homeowner in a highly trafficked area could generate $500 a year by renting out their EV station, which practically negates the cost of setting up after one year.

Our dependence on fossil fuels needs to shift and not just with personal vehicles. Imagine larger nodes (such as charging stations at the local electric plant) that service electric trucks and tractor trailers. The introduction of a public charging infrastructure certainly brings up more possibilities.

Public Car-Charging Infrastructure

The demand for electric cars may be broadening, but something is still putting the breaks on mass adoption. Concerns about being on that lonely highway with a battery running low are certainly on the minds of consumers and remain a barrier in deciding to go full EV or not. Luckily, energy is gathering around creating a public car-charging infrastructure—one that can be developed quickly by leveraging already existing car and driving “nodes.”

+Automotive
+electric vehicles
+Fast Company
+financial services
+fitness / sport
+home
+IoT
+retail
+sharing economy
+sport & fitness
+Sustainability
+Sustainability
+technology

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