Frost says telematics can reduce range anxiety

March 31, 2010  by  

Praveen Chandrasekar, Frost & Sullivan

Praveen Chandrasekar Frost & Sullivan

Range anxiety remains the major challenge to be resolved to facilitate mass adoption of EVs in the coming years, according to Frost & Sullivan. The introduction of telematics in electric vehicles (EVs) to provide point(s) of interest (POI) and alerts packages that make the user aware of the charging environment, can resolve range anxiety, the firm believes. Unlike conventional vehicles for which it is still an expensive option, most hardware elements required for enabling these services will be built into the cost of the EV. An EV driver will only pay an incremental amount for services included in the subscription they pay for battery leasing and energy plans.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.automotive.frost.com), Strategic Market and Technology Assessment of Telematics Applications for Electric Vehicles, finds that telematics will have a penetration of more than 80% of all new EVs sold by 2015. Smart navigation hardware will become a standard feature in all new EVs sold by 2015, however users will face additional service costs that are bundled along with energy subscription plans.

“Neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) and city electric vehicles (CEVs) have a modest driving range of less than 100 miles,” says Frost & Sullivan’s Global Program Manager for Telematics and Infotainment, Praveen Chandrasekar. “Therefore, they require some form of charging environment related alerts and smart navigation that informs the driver of the charge status, distance covered with charge remaining, and charging stations on the route.”

As the demand for NEVs and CEVs is likely to increase along with mega city expansion, the telematics development for these vehicle segments becomes increasingly vital.

The most important telematics service will be to provide charging environment-related POIs like the location of the next charging station and the ability to book that charging station. Other significant telematics services will include connecting to the battery and knowing the state of charge. These services will enter the market first.

Several OEMs, including Renault, Nissan and GM, are currently developing ingenious telematics concepts for their upcoming EV models like the Fluence, LEAF and Chevrolet Volt. Their real challenge, however, will be to ensure mass market adoption of EVs while providing adequate infrastructure support. Moreover, as EVs will remain niche products for a majority of the conventional OEMs, it remains to be seen whether they will incur development expenses or invest the time to create dedicated telematics concepts for their EVs. This will indirectly impact the involvement of traditional telematics companies in the EV initiative.

“Although EVs lead to a potentially new business model for telematics to be sold as a standard feature rather than a costly option, the future of this market depends on infrastructure development and smart energy planning,” explains Chandrasekar. “Telematics development will be noticeably slow, if it remains a niche segment.”

Incentives and tax rebates by local governments in Europe and the United States will boost the initial uptake of EVs. Additionally, some companies are developing wholesome EV service packages ranging from charging/swapping services to 360 degree telematics packages that will enable OEMs to take the lead in this market.

“OEMs such as GM and BMW are expected to use their existing telematics packages like ‘OnStar’ and ‘Assist’ for the EVs as well,” concludes Chandrasekar. “OEMs that currently do not offer telematics, should opt for adoption packages such as the ‘Better Place EV service package’ that serve as a one-stop shop provider of all services needed for the EV.”

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