The use of electric vehicles (EVs) is expanding. Statista reports that sales doubled in 2021 and that approximately 386,000 publicly available chargers are now accessible worldwide. As popular as EVs are, there are both pros and cons to their adoption, with several issues related to vehicle charging.
The Advantages of Electric Vehicles
One of the most touted pros of EVs is their energy efficiency. EVs convert a more significant portion of energy from harnessing electric power than traditional vehicles, which convert a smaller fraction of fossil fuels to power a gas vehicle. The advantage with EVs is the 70% utilization of the energy produced, from generating the electricity to the wheels, while internal combustion vehicles have a minuscule 12 to 30% utilization rate, from refining the gasoline to running the engine.
EVs are also much more environmentally friendly than gasoline-powered vehicles because they generate far less greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions, significantly reducing pollution.
Pollutants from traditional gasoline-powered vehicles can be harmful to those living close to trafficked roads. When multi-family dwellings are involved, the issue is compounded. For example, in Manhattan, an average of 1,400 people live on each block, meaning over 1,000 people are exposed to gas pollutants every day in a single block. Aside from the exhaust coming from individual gas-powered vehicles, obtaining the oil, processing it, and transporting it to gas stations is another significant factor in air pollution.
Lastly, EVs require less maintenance because they lack the moving parts associated with a gasoline engine system, significantly impacting the vehicle's longevity. Gasoline-powered vehicles require frequent oil changes and constant upkeep to run smoothly. Whether it's an oil change, engine filters, or spark plugs, maintenance and new parts are needed. As these parts replace new ones, the old and damaged pieces are thrown away, contributing to overall pollution.
The Disadvantages of Electric Vehicles
As advantageous as EVs sound, they do have drawbacks. First, and possibly foremost to consumers, charging stations are not as plentiful as gas stations, making it inconvenient at times to travel long distances. Although the range is almost equivalent to a gas car, powering the vehicle can take hours depending on charging speeds. However, charging time is being addressed as EV technology matures.
Some of the first Tesla Supercharger stations have chargers running at 150 kW while newer ones are reaching 300 kW. The problem lies in that it is more common to find chargers running at slower speeds within the network than the super fast 300 kW. At times, speed can be as slow as 72 kW. Other brands that cannot take advantage of Tesla's fast-charging are stuck with whatever stations are nearby at much lower speeds, which may take hours to fully charge.
The majority of the remaining issues are directly related to EV batteries. The current technology needed in EVs can compromise the green aspect due to the larger lithium batteries required.
From 2008 to 2018, lithium production rose from 25,400 to 85,000 tons. While lithium mining specifically releases toxins into Earth's atmosphere, mining in any form can cause some type of disruption to the environment, such as erosion, water loss, air pollutants, biodiversity loss, toxic waste, or contaminated soil.
It is essential to remember that EV batteries store chemical energy converted to electrical power. Both sulfur and nitrous oxides are released into the atmosphere when this occurs. The release of these chemicals can eventually lead to acid rain and potentially cause respiratory problems.
As this technology accelerates, experts are quickly coming up with new ways to reuse their batteries. Tesla, for example, has started recycling deteriorated batteries with in-house processing, which allows raw materials to transfer directly to nickel and cobalt suppliers. They have a team focused on reusing products to ensure that lithium-ion batteries are not causing any damage to our planet.
Evolving Electrical Vehicle Technology
EV technology is advancing rapidly to address concerns with vehicle range, charging time, and the use of lithium-ion batteries. Electrical connection solutions are crucial to making both present and future EV designs a reality.
Addressing the future of EVs, Chris Hazboun, an Internal Sales Engineer from Sure-Seal Connections, notes,
"Automotive advancements are approaching at a rapid rate. By 2025, we should have a wide selection of all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles available to the public beyond the new
lineup of vehicles coming out this year alone. Many manufacturers promise to be zero-emission within the next decade as well. I'm looking forward to helping customers find the right [connector] solutions for their EV and hybrid needs."
Sure-Seal® Connector Solutions for EV Charging
With the growing demand for electric vehicles, there is also an increasing need for cutting-edge connector solutions. Connectors for electric vehicles must meet several requirements, including a heavy-duty, rugged design with a resilient environmentally sealed outer shell rated IP55 and better to withstand brutal conditions, like extreme weather. These connectors must have solid contacts to maintain alignment and reliable connectivity even in high-vibration environments beside busy roads and highways.
Sure-Seal Connections® provides EV solutions that meet these requirements and more. The Sure-Seal product line was specifically developed to comply with stringent U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation) safety regulations for automotive connectors in general. They meet or exceed DOT requirements for shock and vibration, saltwater spray, immersion, temperature, and temperature cycling.
Sure-Seal Connections® has solutions for specific EV charging needs. AC and DC charging solutions are available in models that can be used globally, including CCS1 and IEC 1 (North American version), CCS2 IEC2 (European version), and GB/T products for the Chinese market.
PEI-Genesis: Your Partner for EV Charging Solutions
At PEI-Genesis, our experts are well informed about the evolving needs of EV vehicles, including those related to effective, reliable charging. Contact our team today to learn more about how Sure-Seal Connections® can meet your EV charging needs, including the latest DC-fast charging technology.