Technology Emerging EV Trends
As the price of electric vehicles continues to fall, and governments around the world start to legislate the eventual phasing out of petrol and diesel vehicles, the long-term future of the domestic motor vehicle is looking inevitably electric.
In Norway, electric vehicles outsold petrol vehicles for the first time ever in March 2019. While the UK, China, France, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands have all pledged to ban sales of petrol and diesel vehicles between 2030 and 2040.
Australia has been comparatively slow with EV uptake. However, with the second-generation Nissan LEAF hitting Australian roads at the competitive price, the electric car is about to become a whole lot more accessible.
Here, we take a look at some current and emerging trends shaping the EV landscape.
A new development in the evolution of electric vehicles is exciting two-way-power-sharing potential: vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. This means that in addition to an EV simply receiving power (which it can do now), the EV’s electric battery could also discharge power to your home or the power grid in the future (once Australia’s compatible home/grid technology catches up with what EVs have the built-in ability to do). This power from your EV can then be used in the home, or even to send energy back into the main power grid. Although this compatible vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid technology is not available in Australia just yet, the second-generation Nissan LEAF is the first electric vehicle in Australia to feature this innovative EV technology, offering future potential benefits similar to those who have solar-powered storage batteries installed in their home. So, in time, a broad uptake of electric vehicles could potentially have a significant positive impact on the power grid.
Another technological advancement that’s here right now is single pedal driving. To accelerate, the driver simply presses down on the pedal as normal. To brake, however, they just release the pressure on the pedal.
This instigates a process called regenerative braking. Traditionally, when a car brakes, the energy it was traveling with is lost. With electric vehicles, the act of braking creates kinetic energy that then flows back into the battery, adding to its charge and further extending the vehicle’s range. Regenerative braking is a unique feature for all electric vehicles to maximise range. However, what separates the second-generation Nissan LEAF from its competitors is the e-Pedal; the ultimate single-pedal driving experience. It can bring the vehicle to a complete stop on an incline and a decline.
Traditionalists need not worry—a regular brake pedal also remains a standard feature on all electric vehicles, and the brake lights still engage so those behind you know you're slowing down!
A glimpse into the distant future has already been offered in Sweden, where the world’s first electrified road opened in 2018. The two-kilometre stretch of road outside Stockholm has an electric rail embedded in its surface, which charges electric vehicles through a metal arm that extends from underneath the car. The Swedish government is evaluating the road’s mass-scale viability as part of its commitment to fossil-fuel-free road transportation by 2030.
Charge while you shop, work or sleep
The majority of EV owners simply charge their cars at home overnight. Yet as electric vehicles become more common on Australian roads, public-charging points are being installed across the road network. Many major shopping centres now offer charging facilities, and large offices, hotels and car parks are following suit. In the years to come, EV charging points will become part of Australia’s regular driving infrastructure, and will soon be as familiar as petrol stations and car washes.