Although electric vehicles are riding high on the hype -- and enthusiasm -- cycle of late, there is still a long road ahead to build the smart support system that will speed and spread adoption of EVs in the United States.
Among the biggest barriers:
• Developing a comprehensive network of charging stations and facilities.
• Creating systems that alert drivers about the best place and time to juice up car batteries, and warn of weather conditions, hazards or heavy traffic that could slow journeys.
• Implementing secure connections that bridge cars, charging stations and personal accounts to pay for the electricity from roadside stations.
• And building the IT backbone that links the hardware, software and systems so that all the players in the network can talk to each other.
The scenario of widely deployed, smart electric vehicles is a major component of the concept GreenBiz Group calls VERGE. And a new report (PDF) from the American National Standards Institute acknowledges that such a vision will take a lot of work, cooperation and coordination to make it a reality.
But it shouldn't take a lot of time -- in fact, it can't. ANSI points out that President Barack Obama has a goal putting one million electric U.S. streets and highways by 2015.
The organization that oversees voluntary standardization systems in the U.S. says "better coordination and harmonization of standardization efforts" in the country is the to key the process. Going a step further, the group said, a top priority should be "development of a North American standards roadmap to facilitate global harmonization" so that concepts and systems can have universal application.
Those are some of the major takeaways from ANSI's report on a workshop about priorities for developing standards and codes for electric cars. The meeting of 120 stakeholders followed the launch in March of the Electric Vehicles Standards Panel. The group is trying to draw up a roadmap by the end of the year of the standards and assessment programs that must be in place to support "a major shift in our national automotive landscape."
The report summarizes all the presentations, panel discussions and breakout groups conducted at the workshop. The report and archived workshop webinars are available for free download from ANSI at www.ansi.org/edv.
Electric vehicles and the infrastructure to support it are increasingly in the news. A sampling of headlines from the past week include the introduction of the Cadillac ELR, Caddy's EV concept car, and Ford's partnership with SunPower to market electric vehicles as well as home solar power systems that help users manage energy and their charging of plug-in cars.
Also, a report from Pike Research forecasts that the market for cyber security for EVs -- solutions that enable drivers to pay for charging up their vehicles on the go in financial transactions that are secure -- will grow from a current $26 million in 2011 to $144 million by 2015. Although the report is available for a fee, an executive summary can be downloaded free at pikeresearch.com.
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