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Empowering Cities: Ultimate Guide to EV Infrastructure and Custom Software Solutions

As consumers have developed a greater awareness of the harms of fossil fuels, they’ve flocked to electric vehicles. In response, other automotive suppliers have released their own electric products that need custom software to make sensible connections to improve the grids we all share.
father, mother, and daughter standing outside their car at an EV charging station while their electric vehicle is hooked up to the charging station

The escalating popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) as a sustainable transportation solution is increasing demand for appropriate EV infrastructure. What’s needed is sufficient numbers of charging stations—along with custom software—to deliver a consistent framework for fueling the energy transition. Supplying adequate EV infrastructure and software is the antidote to issues such as “range anxiety,” slow charges, and the risk of uncharged vehicles, all of which drivers and fleet operators might otherwise face.

What exactly is driving the rising tide of electric vehicle adoption? Factors include government policies and incentives, the expansion of EV fleets for businesses and colleges—not to mention individual driver preferences. And as electric transportation grows, so too does the need for a strong infrastructural foundation powered by custom software like S44’s.

The reasons for the accelerating interest in electric vehicles include environmental considerations as well as expanding vehicle options. As consumers have developed a greater awareness of the harms of fossil fuels, they’ve flocked to vendors like Tesla. In response, other automotive suppliers have released their own electric models. Larger cars and trucks are also appearing in the market to satisfy the growing demand.

Today’s EVs have longer driving ranges—and lower price tags—and this trajectory looks set to continue. Mileage has nearly quadrupled and the total cost of ownership is becoming ever more favorable.

These positive developments are encouraging further public and private EV uptake. In fact, this year Tesla’s Model Y was the best-selling car worldwide!

From a blip on the radar to millions on the road, the EV transition is on track to power into the next decade.

EV infrastructure
Photographer: Owlie Productions

The State of EV Infrastructure

EV infrastructure is presently undergoing rapid upgrading and development. Having moved beyond initial deployments of charging stations, there’s now a concerted effort to widen coverage and improve the technology. However, we haven’t yet reached a place where the presence of adequate chargers can be taken for granted.

As such, range anxiety—in other words, the fear of running out of juice before arriving at your destination—still concerns prospective EV owners. Of course, the range an electric vehicle can cover also depends heavily on battery size and management as well as EV infrastructure.

An extensive charging infrastructure instills confidence. Therefore, a denser EV network is an important factor in encouraging electric vehicle uptake. Added to that, it removes the stress of having to analyze whether certain distances are feasible to drive.

Joining this consideration are several related influences on EV adoption, such as the fast pace of technological innovation, which is also shaping infrastructure development. Furthermore, Government policies and private sector initiatives have joined forces to spur more rapid electrification.

In 2022, the percentage of electric car sales reached an all-time high of 14%. With growth forecast to go into overdrive, that percentage could reach 18% in 2023. From there, EVs will begin overtaking conventional cars in popularity.

This sea change is taking place internationally, with millions of electric cars in China, Europe, and the US, among other locales. In some Northern European countries, electric vehicles already comprise a strong majority of new car sales.

The Present: Current EV Infrastructure and Adoption

As of now, there’s an uneven patchwork of public and private charging stations with differing policies. Cities have denser concentrations of EV infrastructure than rural areas, and some cities have particularly high concentrations. Rural drivers, on the other hand, tend to cover longer distances, adding to their challenges.

Another major impediment to adoption is the relatively slow speed of charging an electric vehicle compared with filling a gas tank. Even “fast chargers”could complicate matters. Further to the inconvenience of charging per se, drivers may have to plan charging pauses ahead of time for longer journeys. And, on occasion, a charging device may be out of service.

A further worry is the lower range and performance of electric vehicles in cold weather. Then, there are concerns around safety and comfort at charging stations. And for electric micro-mobility users, it’s risky to use unprotected or unauthorized lanes. For all these reasons and more, there are now efforts afoot to install additional EV infrastructure at regular intervals along the roadways.

Currently, most electric vehicle owners simply use their own homes for charging. However, the installation of further public charging stations represents a key step toward continued progress. As EV infrastructure becomes more widespread, this mode of transportation is expected to reach parity with petroleum-based vehicles.

By 2022, there were 2.7 million charge sites globally, most of them located in China—and nearly a million installed that same year. To meet optimistic expectations, a network of 17 million public charging sites will be needed by the end of the decade.

The Future: Public Policies and Trends Impacting EV Infrastructure

There are several Government policies that incentivize EV adoption—from emissions regulations to tax incentives and rebates. Moreover, some states even intend prohibiting the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035.

All these public policies work together to discourage fossil fuel use and encourage electric vehicle uptake. Public funds make it profitable to operate direct current fast-charging stations—the fastest available technology.

Advances are also coming from private spending, where EV investments are propelling infrastructure growth. With more and more organizations transitioning to electric fleets, there’s a large-scale push underway to expand EV charging networks. And while we’re not there yet, each year sees massive increments in infrastructure.

There’s a social aspect to this too, as communities adapt to having more electric cars on the road. Partly, this involves conducting appropriate urban planning for EVs. There may also be road usage fees and other adjustments. These are all elements of the economy-wide switch from gas to electric transportation.

A further consideration is the electric grid, which will have to be upgraded—as will wiring to facilities where EVs are charged. These upgrades will apply to both urban and rural areas. Modernizing electrical infrastructure might not be cheap or instantaneous, but it is necessary to support faster and more widespread charging.

Electricity networks were built decades ago, before the idea of electric vehicles became a reality. As a result, it will take considerable effort and resources to support EV infrastructure. This is where charge point operators, backed by government incentives, can help bring this technology into the mainstream.

Charging Stations: Driving the EV Adoption

Charging stations play a pivotal role in the electric vehicle ecosystem, providing the energy source on which the entire collection of vehicles runs. As such, they’re at the heart of upscaling EV adoption.

Convenient and accessible charging stations are critical for user confidence. When you feel as safe driving an electric vehicle as you do driving its fossil fuel counterpart, you’re ready to make the switch. Then, it comes down to other factors, such as total cost of ownership and ecological impact.

Until such time, however, charging station limitations pose a hurdle for faster EV adoption. This is why the focus remains on expanding the network of efficient charging stations. Custom software from S44 contributes to these goals by streamlining the chargers as well as the vehicle owners’ experience.

For example, S44 created a charging back-end solution for Electrify America’s charging network. This system of Volkswagen’s has thousands of fast charging devices, along with custom software that allows the network to grow rapidly. Progressively scaling communication components support better user experiences. Furthermore, its modular design simplifies the addition of new functionality.

Public EV Charging Stations

One of the main—and most familiar—categories of EV infrastructure relates to public charging stations. We see these networks operating alongside highways, in city centers, and in other busy locations.

Public charging stations offer a relatively convenient place to fill up as drivers go about their day. They also charge a lot faster than your average home outlet. That said, there are challenges associated with installing public capacity. These difficulties include infrastructure expenses as well as coordination with a utility.

Fortunately, there are solutions available, such as investment incentives that help offset the costs of EV infrastructure. Further, partnerships between the public and private spheres can generate the necessary resources to build public charging stations.

Public EV infrastructure benefits the population at large, with specific advantages for the drivers who use it. A cleaner environment, where more people drive electric vehicles, justifies government involvement. And the businesses that participate stand to benefit by deploying chargers that anyone can pay to use.

Putting charging stations in popular areas is an important step toward making the system profitable. For instance, supermarkets are busy places where a lot of people park, so they’re ideal sites for installing EV infrastructure. Likewise, public garages deserve charging stations because of the large volume of vehicles they house.

EV infrastructure
Photographer: Matthew G Eddy

EV Charging Stations on College Campuses

Educational institutions are mandated to teach the professionals of tomorrow. In addition to academic studies, colleges are instrumental in instilling values in their students, including environmental protection and energy conservation. One such route is through EV infrastructure.

College campuses serve as ideal locations for EV adoption for several reasons. You have large volumes of people routinely parking in a limited area. There’s also the potential to raise awareness and educate young minds.

University students tend toward open-mindedness and the ability to embrace creative initiatives. It’s unsurprising then that a campus would be a good place to learn about an exciting new transportation technology. Some of these students and faculty members already drive electric vehicles, while many others will likely go on to purchase an EV. Going forward, electric vehicles will likely be the default option in the near future when these students enter the workforce.

From another perspective, charging stations can also generate funds for schools. Over and above the direct revenues arising from charge points, colleges can become eligible for government grants. And given that campuses double as community centers, there’s even more reason to invest.

EV Charging Stations in Workplaces and Private Spaces

Another convenient location to install EV infrastructure is at a place of work. Again, we have numerous people parking in the same space, but in this case they’re employees.

Offering charging stations not only supports workers who own electric vehicles, it also encourages EV adoption. To illustrate—coworkers tend to chat about new workplace charging sites, thus driving interest. In fact, staff at organizations with EV infrastructure have a 20 times higher probability of buying an electric vehicle themselves.

Workplace charging stations can have an extremely positive impact on employee satisfaction and recruitment efforts. Not everyone has access to a convenient at-home charger. For those who don’t, workplace charging is a huge opportunity. They’ll be leaving their vehicles there for hours per day anyway, so it makes sense to charge up. At the same time, these environmentally friendly systems work toward your corporate sustainability goals.

Some governments bodies offer incentives for workplace charging initiatives. The employer earns money to pay for the EV infrastructure, while employees gain a reliable and convenient charge site. Ultimately, society benefits by having more electric vehicles replacing those running on dirty fossil fuel vehicles.

Impact of Custom Software Solutions in eMobility and Energy Management for EVs

With eMobility and energy management, while the hardware is more visible, the software is responsible for critical decision making. Without software, EV infrastructure simply couldn’t function effectively. Furthermore, there are notable differences between software solutions. Custom software from S44 offers unique capabilities fit for the industry’s exacting needs.

Software solutions are effective at enhancing the electric vehicle user experience (UX). At the same time, data-driven insights optimize charging infrastructure to perform more efficiently. Well-programmed software must ensure data protection and cybersecurity. That code is also instrumental in integrating EV infrastructure with renewable energy sources.

Custom software solutions for EVs help to create a more sustainable economy. The benefits apply to individuals and fleet users of electric vehicles, as well as charging station operators and the public. S44 delivers end-to-end software solutions that encompass UX design, cloud functionality, automation, and other necessary aspects of successful product delivery.

Enhancing EV User Experience

User-centric software simplifies how people engage with EV infrastructure. For example, it becomes easier to locate nearby charging stations, check availability, and pay. Seamless user interfaces connect with back-end logic to enable interoperability among different charging networks.

With EV roaming, drivers just use their normal charging process regardless of network, language, or currency. It’s comparable to mobile phone roaming, but for electric vehicles. Open standards—like the Open Charge Point Interface or OCPI protocol—facilitate this experience through supporting software.

S44 developed an EV charging mobile app for Volkswagen’s network. This app works on Android and iOS, and can be redeployed by any electric vehicle manufacturer. Users can instantly see pricing and location data, thereby optimizing their charging costs and convenience. The app also manages home charging and provides in-depth information on the charging system. Right now, this software is actively helping thousands of EV owners save time and money.

Improving Charging Infrastructure Efficiency

The benefits of custom software aren’t just for drivers. Code also improves EV infrastructure efficiency, while load management systems control electric vehicle charging to balance energy demand. This approach prevents grid overload during peak charging times.

In addition, software smooths out charging costs and minimizes environmental damage. At peak charging times, the electric grid has to enable “peaking power plants.” These “peakers” tend to run on dirty fossil fuels that cost more and also tend to pollute more than off-peak generation.

Custom software brings the power of analytics and automation to enhance EV infrastructure. You can tailor the software to your organization’s needs, while interfaces let the charging hardware communicate with other systems. Moreover, the software is capable of managing energy from generation to end use.

Another way that custom software improves EV infrastructure is through predictive algorithms. Such calculations determine mathematically when it would be most efficient to charge cars. The result is optimized energy distribution, which cuts costs for vehicle owners as well as utilities.

Smart EV charging minimizes grid congestion and total cost. Consider S44’s ChargeForward, which evaluates vehicle charging times to tell owners when it’s most efficient to plug in. Connecting with BMW’s vehicle data and local utilities, the software not only saves money but also adds to the renewable mix.

Ensuring Data Protection and Cybersecurity

While software brings tremendous benefits to multiple industries, there are nonetheless security issues to consider. We’ve all seen those headlines where improperly written software is subject to hacking attempts and data breaches.

Secure data management is thus a crucial element of EV infrastructure systems. Employ only trusted development companies with an understanding of the risks involved. Further, knowledge of industry-specific dangers and development best practices will help defend against the evolving threat landscape.

Data analytics for eMobility rests on a properly secured system to looks at how best to maximize performance. For instance, car share companies can process information on their vehicles and customers to increase availability and profit. Alternatively, fleet managers can determine the least costly times to clean and charge their EVs.

Modern vehicles produce large volumes of data—and it takes smart software to separate the wheat from the chaff. The data circulates between EV infrastructure, electric vehicles, cloud hosts, and the grid. At each stage, it needs protection in the form of security and privacy. Protecting customers is both a regulatory requirement and a moral imperative.

Integrating With Renewable Energy Sources

There’s a fascinating synergy between EV infrastructure and renewable energy generation. Together, these twin pillars of the green economy are ushering in a clean yet productive future. Charging stations deliver power to move people and goods, backed by renewable energy as the natural resources driving the system.

One of the main challenges around renewable energy is its inconsistent availability. Solar power can only be generated during daylight hours, and wind energy is unpredictable. At the same time, EV drivers need a reliable energy source at any time of day or night.

Custom software has the solution to this problem. It detects when and where the grid has renewable energy available, allowing vehicles to charge at opportune moments. When there’s abundant clean energy, it goes into car batteries. At other times, the EVs can conserve energy, only using the minimal amount of fossil fuels.

This ability of electric vehicles to store energy unlocks another interesting benefit. In bidirectional charging, EVs not only “download” electricity from the grid but also “upload” electricity back to the grid at times of peak demand—at a profit. Therefore, the vehicles can take renewable energy when it’s widely available, then feed it back into the grid when needed.

Bidirectional charging effectively turns electric vehicles into a massive backup power system for society. This aspect of renewables makes them far more useful, as you can capture everything that’s generated, even when it’s not immediately needed. Then, when power is needed, it’s drawn directly from the vehicles. As a result, more green energy is used instead of limited hydrocarbon fuel.

EV infrastructure

Empower EV Infrastructure with S44’s Custom Software

Electric vehicles are redefining how society moves. These machines make transportation eco-friendly and quiet. That said, they rely on EV infrastructure, which isn’t yet fully developed. The current limitations of charging stations hinder the full-fledged transition to eMobility.

Government incentives and private investments are driving a faster switch-over. A large part of this process involves the installation of electric vehicle charging stations across a growing number of locations. Some popular locations for building such infrastructure include public areas—like highways and malls—as well as college campuses and private workplaces.

Custom software is a necessity if you want to make the most of EV infrastructure. S44 uses technology designed specifically for the requirements of electric transportation. This code enhances the EV user experience while improving charging station efficiency.

S44’s products integrate EV infrastructure with renewable energy sources, while responsible code ensures data protection and cybersecurity. It’s a winning combination. The grid becomes more stable and profitable, vehicle owners save money, and everyone enjoys a cleaner and healthier environment.

EV infrastructure and charging experiences powered by custom software increase EV adoption. Knowing there’s a green charge nearby makes all the difference when you’re debating the pros and cons of purchasing an electric vehicle.

Get in touch with S44 to find out how we can help you deliver an optimized digital experience through custom software.

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Olga Haygood
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