As electric vehicles invariably expand in the market, there will be a commensurate need for networks of high-quality electric charging stations. A McKinsey report confirms that the total charging-energy demand in China, Europe, and the United States will increase from roughly 20 billion kilowatt-hours in 2020 to about 280 billion kilowatt-hours in 2030. Beyond fulfilling a demand in the market, a robust rollout of charging stations will help signal to consumers the viability of going electric and support the deployment of new EV models.
Facilitating and maximizing the rewards of electrification is a key benefit of Over-the-Air (OTA) technology. OTA solutions can seamlessly, securely and cost-effectively manage the software components omnipresent in both vehicles and charging stations.
How does OTA work? The OTA cloud service communicates to targeted vehicles and charging infrastructure through a secure channel while utilizing a content delivery network (CDN), making sure each system is running the latest software version, together with the optimal settings. Within the remote OTA server, a wide range of repositories and services can be stored (firmware, software and application packages, device settings and configuration profiles and more) providing the car manufacturers and EV charging station operators a centralized operational center for all software updates. It is important to note that in some cases, car manufacturers operate their own charging station networks, such as Tesla, primarily to gain more control of the experience and offer advanced services to car owners.
This form of management creates a centralized infrastructure to maintain, apply fixes, and improve electric vehicles and charging stations, allowing for easier coordination and interoperability across systems. Importantly, communication under this network is bidirectional between the cloud and the EV charging infrastructure, meaning important data can be securely forwarded and analyzed in real-time. These data streams then supply manufacturers with critical insights to trigger live alerts, feed offline research processes, and/or generate new data-driven revenue streams.
Like with any other connected network of power systems, cybersecurity is paramount. Therefore, it's crucial for EV charging station operators to secure their infrastructure from potential outside threats. A major cyberattack could produce calamitous effects on a financial, social and political level, together with delaying EV adoption. Fortunately, OTA technology can shield against these risks. So, the selection of an OTA provider and/or the decision to rely on in-house development for this component needs to be made wisely.
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Senior Manager, Product Management at HARMAN International
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