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eMobility in the US
I recently attended the ‘1st Annual German American eMobility Forum’, sponsored by the German American Chamber of commerce. At one session, a panel of experts was asked to predict the influence of the Plug-in-electric vehicle (PEV) by 2050. In general, they foresee a %25-%30 US utilization of PEV’s, within 40 years. While this might seem small, it reflects an objective assessment of the realities of establishing eMobility in America. Leaders from business, government, and other sectors consider eMobility a critically indispensable part of both a sustainable energy strategy and a powerful mechanism for stimulating job growth in the next economy. Moreover, the adoption of electric vehicles will make a significant contribution to non fossil fuel-based economics. For instance, a report by HSBC bank predicts that by 2020, the electric car will be a larger global market than renewable energy, such as wind and solar power.
Globally, eMobility is in its infancy. At Bosch, we define eMobility as the ecosystems of utilities, services, mobile devices, and software that support the PEV. Bosch Software Innovations has developed a framework of web and cloud-based software that supports integration of the vehicle’s location and charging state, residential and public charging points and other critical services including mapping, reservations. Parts of these process requirements reduce a driver’s ‘range anxiety’, parts support public transportation and still others support electric utilities.
An important aspect of eMobility is support for other modes of transportation including bus and rail. This is categorized as intermodal transportation. In the US we often use the term multi-modal. It its active form, Innovations’ eMobility capability would recommend the driver on the range remaining in their vehicle, the location of available charging stations, and the schedule of bus or rail transport that would support their final destination. All of these dynamic scenarios would be informed by traffic and weather. Configurable, event-driven software will be critical for a flexible, rapid model of eMobility software. For example, the intermodal requirements described above mentions a number of event ‘sets’: charging point reservations, PEV range notifications, traffic, weather and others. The state of eMobility is Dynamic.
At Innovations, we have already identified several uses cases. Each of the events and data sources will arise from a diverse set of origins. The scope of the data will be international, national and local. Standards, such as those developed by the NIST for the smart grid, will need to be accommodated. Without the correct approach and model, organizations might waste resources developing inflexible, hardcoded systems that would not satisfy these dynamics. Because it is early in the development of eMobility, Bosch has used a state-of-the art, business rules driven systems: The Visual Rules Dynamic Application Framework. In this approach, use-cases will identify the business rules that link the activities and events with the goals and objectives. The detail of the business rules are visually modeled in a manner that is understood and maintained by the business analyst and technologist alike.
Predictably, Germany has led the way in the global adoption of the electric vehicle through eMobility. These early projects, supported by the German Federal government, have established some of the framework for coordinating all the mobility needs of the PEV. European visions of eMobility embrace the logistical needs of the driver while providing functions for stabilizing the electrical grid and minimizing CO2 emissions.
Readers of this blog will know that Bosch has a significant project in Singapore that will demonstrate high levels of integration.
In the US, eMobility most efforts are less complex than the ambitions of the Bosch eMobility Singapore project. For instance, part of the Economic Stimulus funds was used to install a number of charging stations. In New York, parking lot operators are installing charging stations. There are many similar, small scale efforts throughout the US. For instance there is Richmond VA, the District of Columbia and many others. Most of these efforts are fairly simple. Going forward, we anticipate an increasing number of similarities with European Models. In the US, these projects will arise from a broad alliance of business and government sectors. Cooperative partnerships will emerge from these stakeholders seeking to bring PEV technologies to metropolitan regions of the US. One example of this is a project in Indianapolis called project plug-in. In the US, many of these coalition pilots will align with eco-commuting needs.
Of all the eMobility stakeholders, the electric utilities have some of the most protracted challenges. PEV owners, there is an excellent summary here. In short, a typical transformer in a US suburban home might services about 20-30 households. The level 2 chargers take single or dual phase, 240V wiring. It would not take very many of these, simultaneously charging cars, to exceed the capacity of that Transformer. In all areas, placement of both suburban and city charging stations will need regulation if not engineering studies. As the article in the previous link notes, Utilities will need the micro-grid implemented otherwise, the EV will not get far in the US.
Globally and in the US, the eMobility models are emerging. The opportunity is within the challenge. While developing transportation systems that support the PEV seems daunting, global business, government and political leaders have embraced the PEV and eMobility. They believe that the growth of eMobility will promote a renaissance of engineering and investments in public infrastructure. Clearly for the PEV to become viable, the coalition must provide these models with flexibility. To support an extremely robust and configurable approach, the rapid visual modeling of Visual Rules will be essential. In our experience, customers use Visual Rules to create applications that are organically adaptable. With the correct modeling approach, one that combines process, events, and decisions, a suitable framework will emerge. This is the intent of Innovations eMobility solution.