Big data and electric vehicles may seem to be strange bedfellows at first glance, but the two have more in common than we give them credit for.
Without the use of big data, it would be very difficult to fully unlock the possibilities that electric mobility has to offer. Let’s take a closer look at how the symbiotic relationship between electric vehicles and big data can help us to improve mobility options, all while also being kinder to the environment.
What does big data refer to in the context of electric vehicles?
The amount of data that can be collected from a simple activity such as driving is truly staggering. Most modern vehicles are equipped with the equivalent of an aircraft black box that continuously monitors the vehicle’s various systems, and this data can be sent to manufacturers and other stakeholders via onboard internet connections to be analysed.
The data that can be collected ranges from driving habits and personal preferences to diagnostic information and it can be used to improve the electric driving experience for the driver, as well as future electric vehicle models and supporting EV infrastructure as a whole.
How does big data make life easier for electric vehicle users?
Big data powers many of the functions of modern electric vehicles and enables drivers to control certain functions remotely. Many electric cars can be linked to smartphones, so drivers can view critical information such as remaining range, battery charge levels and remaining charging time, without needing to leave their favourite chair.
When you bear in mind that the first automobile was introduced more than a century ago, it is simple to understand that there is ample research and data regarding the habits of fossil fuel-powered vehicle drivers. The same can, however, not be said of electric vehicles and this is the biggest advantage that big data holds for electric vehicle users.
Big data helps alleviate issues with electric vehicles
By collecting and analysing data on the habits of electric vehicle drivers, manufacturers and authorities can introduce refinements to the electric vehicle market that will make their products more affordable for the masses. Big data can also help in alleviating issues such as a lack of charging stations and overcrowding at existing charge points. The charging habits of users can be analysed, and appropriate changes can be introduced based on the observed trends.
Having analysed the data regarding the charging habits of electric vehicle users, it was discovered that charging stations are typically located in inconvenient areas, which adds ample stress to national power grids. By implementing changes based on the results of this analysis, charging station operators and national grid regulators could align their requirements and provide convenient charging points to users without overstressing the electricity supply in a particular area.
How do companies benefit from big data?
Big data can help companies to better understand the needs of electric vehicle users and ultimately provide products that match the lifestyle needs of consumers, but this is not the only benefit that big data holds for vehicle manufacturers.
Big data also enables manufacturers to understand their products better by providing a continuous stream of diagnostic data in real-time. This information makes it possible for EV manufacturers to identify any possible problems in advance and address them accordingly, which ultimately leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction and bigger profit margins.
EV manufacturers are not the only party that benefits from big data, however. Other role players, such as charging station manufacturers, also gain advantages from big data in a similar way. Finally, big data from electric vehicles can also benefit utility companies by allowing them to understand the demands that electric mobility places on infrastructure such as power grids.
Are there any negatives associated with electric vehicles and big data?
There is a feeling among certain drivers that big data and other advances in autonomous mobility can intrude on the privacy of drivers. This is in part true since it is possible to send information such as a vehicles location, speed and the driver’s habits to third parties. However, this is a problem that can be managed effectively with appropriate controls and legislation. The negatives related to EV mobility and big data are far outweighed by the positives.
Vehicle users, manufacturers and governmental bodies understand and agree that electric mobility is the future of the automobile but for electric vehicles to gain traction in the market and fully replace traditional vehicles, a better understanding of the dynamics of electric mobility is required.
Big data makes it possible for everyone to understand the challenges posed by electric mobility and assists in sourcing solutions to those problems, so drivers can remain mobile. As such, the concepts of electric vehicles and big data are impossible to separate from each other.
About the Author
This article was written by John Keohane of JKS Electrical. John specializes in installing charging points for electric vehicles.