Projections for the growth of electric vehicles have been bullish, and if these projections are realised, there will be an associated boom in connected services, says a study from ABI Research.
The analyst’s Connected services for electric vehicles report calculates that subscriptions of connected services for consumer and commercial electric vehicles (EVs) – such as charging-station locators, eco-routing and EV telematics – will grow by 270% from 2020 to 2024, reaching seven million subscribers by 2024. This would see the revenue opportunity of connected services for consumer and commercial EVs reach $378m by 2030.
At the heart of this growth were the decisions made by a number of major economies to ban internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. Norway has already signalled its intention to end the sales of new ICE vehicles by 2025, and Germany, Sweden, India and China, among other countries, aim to ban the sales of ICE vehicles from 2030.
“EV sales have presented slow market growth in past years,” said Maite Bezerra, smart mobility and automotive analyst at ABI Research. “However, the increasing number of countries setting up deadlines to end the sale of ICE vehicles will propel higher EV adoption. With an increasing number of cities in Europe enforcing emission rules, only EVs will be able to run in urban areas in the next years. In fact, 27 million consumer and one million commercial plug-in electric vehicles will be sold by 2030.”
However, the survey also revealed a number of challenges to the projected growth and extensive adoption of EVs. Chief among these was a lack of a charging infrastructure and range anxiety. ABI said the quantity of charging stations had seen substantial growth in recent years, with China and Japan each boasting more than 40,000 charging stations.
“There is a general perception of deficient charging infrastructure due to a lack of communication between vehicles and charging stations,” said Bezerra. “Connected services, such as HERE’s EV charging stations and TomTom’s EV routing services, can help change that perception by displaying information such as charging station location, compatibility and real-time availability to drivers or fleet managers.
“Existing Horizon applications, which have yet to gain substantial market traction, can also be used by EVs to optimise acceleration and braking events, saving energy, and increasing the range of EVs considerably. Tesla, Nissan and Peugeot lead the way by offering a comprehensive offer of connected services for EVs.”
ABI also noted that the rapid adoption of EVs would pose challenges for power utilities because of overload peaks that compromise the stability of the grid. This meant communication between charging stations and utilities was also highly relevant for sustained EV adoption.
The analyst highlighted the fact that smart energy management systems can monitor, control and restrict the use of chargers for optimal energy consumption. It also observed that vehicle-to-grid (V2G) communication, offered by companies such as Nuvve and Virta, could balance the grid by reading the frequency of power production and adjusting charging and discharging.
In this way, EVs can smooth the increase in electricity demand and sell the energy back to the national grid or use the stored energy to reduce energy consumption from houses or buildings, said ABI. Nissan and Mitsubishi were cited as being at the forefront of V2G.
The study forecast that long-term connected services offering convenience and reduced range anxiety, in particular in business, would find greater traction among consumer EVs. Looking forward, ABI calculated that connected services for consumer EVs are likely to reach 26.37 million subscribers by 2030, with a revenue opportunity of $222m. It forecast two million subscribers by 2030 and a revenue opportunity of $156m.
“Vehicles are assets for fleet managers, so they tend to value services that decrease costs, such as V2G communication and EV telematics,” said Bezerra, “for instance, Mercedes PRO e-Vito services that use Geotab telematics units. While smartphone applications offer location services for EVs, only in-vehicle solutions can provide accurate information from embedded sensors and offer a seamless experience inside the car.
“Besides, connected solutions do not only provide information to the user, but also to fleet managers and car manufacturers, which can use it to improve their vehicle’s performance or offer target solutions.”