Telematics will be key component of EVs, study says

A new report from consulting firm Pike Research indicates that a projected 80% of all new electric vehicles (EVs) by 2017 will feature a telematics system of some type as standard equipment – largely as a way to locate public re-charging stations, but with more features added over time.

Most will include at least a basic telematics system that not only enable the driver to check on charging station locations and the state of the battery charge, but in the future will also provide details on energy costs and charging station availability along with remote diagnostics/vehicle monitoring, Pike said.

However, Pike’s report – entitledElectric Vehicle Telematics – also noted that more elaborate vehicle telematics offerings will be in demand as well within five years, which will include live traffic, weather, streaming content, and cloud computing-based applications. As a result, the global market for electric vehicle telematics will reach $1.4 billion annually by 2017, the firm believes.

“Early adopters of EVs worldwide tend to be tech-savvy and more affluent than the average vehicle purchaser – a combination that will help grow interest in the more advanced connected vehicle telematics packages,” noted Dave Hurst, one of Pike’s senior analysts.

“Additionally, many automobile manufacturers are recognizing that including connected vehicle telematics in the early years of EV retailing helps consumers recognize the value of the vehicle,” he added. “Indeed, it is notable that the first mass-market EVs – the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, and Toyota Prius Plug-in – all come with connected vehicle telematics for three years as part of their base purchase price.”

Pike’s study also found that EV telematics are expected to play a significant role in the development of the “smart grid” as the ability of these vehicles to communicate with both utilities and the electrical grid directly will help forecast the location and duration of EV charging.

Advance knowledge of where a load on the grid will be located or the length of time that a vehicle may be attached to the grid will ultimately help utilities electrical demand better, Hurst said. 

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