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EV IT System Investment to Reach $5.1B by 2015

The need to network and manage electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) via information technology (IT) and communications systems to aggregate power demand and respond to changing grid conditions will drive a $5.1 billion investment in EV IT systems from 2010 to 2015, according to a Pike Research report. The market research firm forecasts that more than 3 million electric vehicles will be on the road by 2015.

“Electric vehicle IT systems are necessary since utilities will face an immediate impact from EV charging on their localized power distribution equipment,” says Pike’s senior analyst John Gartner. “During the early part of the decade, EV charging will not interfere with utilities’ overall ability to keep up with total electricity demand, but certain neighborhood transformers and other distribution assets could be quickly overwhelmed in areas with rapid EV adoption.”

Key players in the EV IT market will include automakers, EVSE vendors, smart grid integration providers, energy services companies, systems integrators, and utilities.

But Gartner says a roadblock to the implementation of EV IT systems is a lack of standards for storing data and sharing information between utilities and external systems.

The automotive, home networking, smart grid, and utility industries are collaborating with organizations, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to develop standards to establish first-time interoperability with grid equipment, but many of these standards will not be completed until 2012 or later, Gartner says.

The report, “Electric Vehicle Information Technology Systems,” finds that investments in EV IT in the United States will grow to $371.9 million in 2015, representing 24.5 percent of the $1.5 billion global market. Initial investments will focus on collecting data and presenting it to consumers, with $125 million invested globally in 2010.

The report also indicates that by 2013, utilities will begin investing in EV IT systems and services so that the aggregated load of EVs can be managed as an asset and integrated into their demand response (DR) and other energy management systems. This move will shift the investment towards data analytics and integration applications, making up more than half of EV IT investment globally by 2015, says Pike Research.

Similarly, new forecasts from IDC Energy Insights find that PEVs will become commercially available in 2011, and by 2015 there will be more than 2.7 million PEVs plugged into the global grid, with 885,000 PEVs in North America and more than 780,000  in Europe.

The report, “The Coming Electric Vehicle Rollout Part 2: Challenges and Opportunities for Electric Utilities,” provides an overview of the challenges utilities will face, citing the need for significant upgrades in distribution equipment, from the addition of separate metering equipment to the installation of advanced transformers to handle increased loads.

The companion report, “Business Strategy: The Coming Electric Vehicle Rollout: Forecasting the Market,” forecasts the size and timing of the PEV rollout across all regions of the world. It also provides an overview of soon-to-be-launched PEV models.

Currently, several partnerships between automakers and utilities are starting to emerge in various U.S. cities to prepare for EV deployment.

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