Electric vehicles are easily one of the fastest-growing markets in the automotive industry. This is primarily because you can get all the luxuries of owning and driving a car without burning environmentally harmful fossil fuels.
However, as much as we would want everyone to switch to EVs, they are still a new technology. One of the most significant drawbacks currently is the batteries that run the EV degrade relatively rapidly. Let’s just say that these batteries are not cheap to replace or repair.
Almost every EV uses lithium-ion batteries which provide longer battery life, but the overall battery longevity has been a prolonged issue. Batteries in all devices have this issue, though it is not specifically an EV battery problem. The way you use your device or do not use your device, and even charge your device, can determine your battery’s longevity. You have to consider, though, that replacing a phone battery is much more affordable than replacing a massive car battery.
Luckily, the European Union is a huge proponent of pushing EV technology to make it more accessible. The EU is funding a program called Horizon, an AI predictive software that will make it possible to determine how long a battery will last. This new AI might increase EV battery lifespans!
Let’s dive into more of what we know!
What is Horizon?
Horizon is a European research and innovation program with a 95.5 billion Euro budget. Their main focuses are technological sovereignty, European competitiveness, and sustainable society.
Technological sovereignty means they want to strengthen European scientific and technological bases and the European Research Area. As far as European competitiveness goes, they want to boost Europe’s innovation capacity, competitiveness, and jobs, and ensure European technological sovereignty. Finally, they want to create a sustainable society, meaning they want to deliver on citizens’ priorities and sustain our socio-economic model and values.
In October of 2021, at the 26th Global Climate Change Conference, Horizon announced their new Domesticating Electric Vehicle Charging (DEVeC) project. Horizon’s main goal with this project was to help develop an understanding of smart technologies with residential electric vehicle charging.
How is Horizon Hoping to Change EV Charging?
Horizon started the DEVec project with a survey, gathered people’s concerns, and held interviews about electric vehicle charging. They also created a design project that showed what could happen when living with AI in your home and introduced smart vehicle chargers into the equation. As a result, they found two significant factors that are limiting EV popularity.
First, they found that there will probably not be mass adoption of EVs until consumers widely know they can save overall after a more significant initial purchase. Secondly, if every driver switched over to EVs tomorrow, the electricity demand would increase by 10% in the UK alone. Although that is within range for load fluctuation in most UK power plants, if this 10% was added to the existing daily increase around 6 PM to 8 PM, the resources to handle this would be limited.
Although theoretically, the time you charge your vehicle can be flexible, many of the previous solutions presented to this problem have left one glaring thing out: human behavior. Humans tend to fall into routines quickly, and when people are in the same region, many of those routines line up with each other. That is where DEVec differs in its approach to this problem using AI.
Now, you have probably heard artificial intelligence slung around a lot as either the savior or destroyer of society. Luckily, in this case, it is the former.
What Can DEVec Do for Me?
Although DEVec is still in the research phase, from what they have produced already, we can see some great benefits for EVs on the horizon. For example, using AI technology, Horizon is trying to integrate smart EV charging in energy systems in homes. With these smart EV chargers, consumers can access data they have not been privy to before.
Even though you could see all the fluctuations and pages of data from your car’s battery, many would not be aware of what to do with this information. That is where AI comes in. The AI Horizon hopes to develop will detect and interpret those pages of complex data and perform appropriate responses to make your car’s charging more dynamic.
This type of technology is not entirely new. You may have seen smartphone chargers before. This is a similar concept in that, instead of charging your phone as fast as possible, it will interpret data from your phone’s battery to ensure it does not overheat or damage itself while charging. As a result, you are ultimately extending the length of your battery’s longevity.
Although this all sounds perfect, the biggest roadblock is the consumers. Horizon’s biggest concern is how the UK public will respond to handing over control of their car to AI, sending them into another surveying phase.
What’s Next for Horizon?
With this latest survey phase, they aim to answer 4 main questions. Will the British public be willing to give AI control of their cars, and to what extent? How often will they take back control from the AI? How to best incentivize smart charging and its public demand? Lastly, how will these technologies impact daily, domestic living?
These questions are critical to understanding the implications of owning EVs in domestic life. Of course, everything will always work in a perfect world, but as we said before, human behavior is the most significant factor.
After Horizon solves this EV charging issue, they hope to tackle the inequality problem in the EV world. They have found that EV policies and AI are trending towards favoring people that are already privileged. So, not only are Horizon and DEVec making EV batteries more sustainable, but they also want to make EVs more equitable and popular despite their income level.
DEVec and Horizon are making incredible innovations for EVs worldwide, even though they are based out of the EU. We are hoping that after Horizon develops its AI and finalizes its research, it will become the standard worldwide. So, if you are into EVs, make sure to keep your eye on Horizon, and specifically DEVec, for more exciting developments.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Es sarawuth/Shutterstock.com.