According to a recent survey,¹ American automotive executives expect that on average around half of new vehicle sales will be all-electric by 2030. That’s a lot of new electric vehicles (EVs) of every sort hitting the road in less than a decade – fueling a rapidly growing need for convenient, efficient ways to power up.
Signaling challenges – and opportunities – for EV charging
Most utilities industry experts agree that electricity is well-positioned to take the lead as the fuel of choice for automotive transportation. But with this surge in growth comes challenges. Consider these numbers from scenario-based modeling by McKinsey & Company: As the number of EVs increases, the annual demand for electricity to charge them would surge from 11 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2020 to 230 billion kWh in 2030. The demand estimate for 2030 represents approximately 5% of the current total electricity demand in the U.S. Modeling indicates that nearly 30 million chargers would be needed to deliver so much electricity in that year. Of these, 1.2 million would be public chargers, installed at on-the-go locations and at destinations where vehicles are parked for long periods. The cost of hardware, planning, and installation for this amount of public charging infrastructure is estimated to total more than $35 billion over the period to 2030.
That said, the Boston Consulting Group recently observed that while EV market growth has the potential to create a win for utilities when it comes to profitable growth, meeting the demand from EVs will come at a cost. The task for utilities is to develop a strategy that supports EVs but minimizes the costs to customers.² It’s definitely a balancing act – and one that opens the door to expanded use of EV charging stations built with distributed energy resources (DER) and microgrid technology.
To help make a nationwide EV charging grid a reality, Xendee Corporation is ahead of the curve with its EV fast-charging station design platform. The goal is to help local utility and DER/microgrid operators rapidly identify, validate, and design fast-charging stations. Xendee’s approach can help take the burden off local operators and communities by using DERs or microgrids onsite – while also limiting the drain on local power generation as well as the need for costly power transmission line upgrades across remote stretches of American highways.
How the EV fast-charging station design platform works
Executed by Xendee and tested and validated by Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the EV fast-charging station design platform uses Xendee’s DER and microgrid decision-support software combined with INL’s automotive hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation system. To ensure project viability and technical feasibility, the HIL system combines real hardware components with software-based simulation.
Xendee’s software helps utilities make optimal investment planning decisions confidently and ensures reliable benefits capture for their ratepayers. It creates project simulations, financial optimizations, and operational dispatches that maximize the efficiency of the DER or microgrid system and captures early returns on investment. The software also intelligently maps all cables, transformers, and distributed technology interactions to anticipate and mitigate problems during peak usage or adverse conditions.
Because energy dispatch and generation are optimized by hourly time steps throughout the day, the DERs or microgrids can take advantage of energy sales to the utility and best manage the charging of an electrical fleet. In this way, operators can reliably build bankable systems, operating them to reach maximum efficiency while factoring in the dynamic supply-and-demand needs of electric vehicle fast-charging.
The research powering the EV fast-charging design platform
With a focus on the next generation of roadside infrastructure, the joint Xendee and INL project team started out by identifying charging requirements, load profiles, and power requirements that are particular to fast-charging heavy duty trucks and EV charging at scale. Two test cases were then defined to simulate and validate the capabilities of fast charging, while assuring compliance with standards for functionality and interconnection.
The test cases represent a grid-connected fast-charging system with 5.83 MW of fast-charging capacity as well as an islanded fast-charging system with 3.75 MW capacity. Using these test case studies, the project team successfully validated Xendee’s integrated design and analysis tool for high-powered fast charging of large megawatt loads for electric vehicle fleets and trucks.
Additionally, power flow and distribution system modeling – including voltage, frequency, transformer, and cable sizing – were integrated with the economic design. INL then validated via real-time simulations. INL also performed transient simulations for various cases that model extreme EV charging-load increases and the impact on voltage and currents.
The project integrated the development and evaluation of a technical planning and economic analysis tool for the design and implementation of fast-charging stations, plus the design of the complex DER or microgrid’s underlying infrastructure. Appropriate testing algorithms were developed to interpret the results.
Finally, this is the first platform of its kind that integrates power systems engineering for electric vehicle charging with distributed energy resource modeling. Local distribution and utility interactions connect with the financial design to capture the lowest costs and the fastest return on investments.
Driving innovation to power EV charging stations nationwide
Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the new EV fast-charging design platform was built on the existing Xendee decision-support platform to optimize renewable energy and storage resources. New features were built for scalability, making DER and microgrid projects a reliable and repeatable foundation for a sustainable nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations.
Today, Xendee is the only company providing a comprehensive solution for the design and operation of complex distributed energy resources for EV charging that generates reliable solutions for grid operators to help them adapt and enhance their grids’ capabilities over time.
To learn more about the XENDEE platform, book a discovery call with a product expert or use the links below.
Additional EV Fast Charging Content from XENDEE:
- Report on the Microgrid Fast Charging Station Design Platform done in partnership with Idaho National Laboratory
- Press Release on MFCS Design Platform
- Brochure on EV Modeling capabilities
- Video with feature overview on EV Fast Charging
 22nd Annual Global Automotive Executive Survey 2021; KPMG; https://home.kpmg/xx/en/home/insights/2021/11/global-automotive-executive-survey-2021.html
 The Cost of Revving Up the Grid for Electric Vehicles; Boston Consulting Group (BCG); https://www.bcg.com/publications/2019/costs-revving-up-the-grid-for-electric-vehicles