The world of automobiles is fast moving towards electric power. The shift is inevitable as it is the best solution when the fossil fuel runs out and it will definitely be better for our environment when more charging stations, even at home, are solar or powered renewable sources.
The EV market is booming. Even though as of 2020 EVs only account for around 1% of the total 1.4 Billion cars on road in the world, the year alone saw sales of nearly 3 Million EVs. This is a 43% increase in sales of EV in a year when the automobile industry, in general, was struggling due to the pandemic.
Every manufacturer wants to capture as much of the emerging EV customer base as fast as they can. Even the governments of most countries want more people to buy EVs as this will be a massive relief on the exchequer in terms of importing crude oil.
One major concern for potential EV buyers is the charging infrastructure.
Buying an EV is useless if it can't be charged. While many automakers incentivise home chargers, often offering it for free to new car buyers, charging on long-distance trips remains an issue, especially in newer markets. It is estimated that the world will need around 12 Million public charging stations over the next 20 years and this does not include the home chargers.
However, this is something that will be fixed sooner than most of us expect. It may be hard to believe but there was not a single petrol station in the world prior to 1905. But even if car companies put up millions of charging stations, another issue persists.
The lack of uniformity in charging.
When mobile phones started becoming popular, each manufacturer came up with a different charging port for their product. However, soon android phones started using Micro-USB ports and now the world of electronics has unanimously shifted to USB C ports except for why-phones by pineapple. This has made charging our devices so much more convenient. We need just one cable to charge our phones, earphones, laptops and we can even borrow a cable from our friend if needed.
Now, I understand that companies have vested interests in having their unique charging ports, especially those ahead of the game in terms of charging stations. But there are one too many types of charging ports in the EV industry right now.
Imagine if each car came with a differently shaped fuel-filler neck. Half of our road trips will be worrying if or not there will be a compatible petrol station on the way or we will be carrying around different types of funnels.
The combined charging system (CCS) is a move in the right direction. However, there is still no global consensus for a uniform charger.
The best time for all EV makers in the world to reach an agreement on adopting a uniform charging port was probably around 15 years ago. The next best time is right now. It is still not too late, there are a billion more EVs to be produced over the next decades and millions of chargers to be installed.
All auto manufacturers in the world should come together and form an association for cooperation in terms of charging. If necessary, governments and even the UN can take initiative for it. A decade from now we don't want people stranded right next to a charging station because of compatibility issues. Better late than never.