Jan 5, 2024VISION & IDEA
Innovation in Energy and Lifestyle by Evs
DENSO's Data Utilization Platform supports New Value Creation in the EV Era
When electric vehicles (EVs) take over the conventional ones, what shifts can we anticipate? The transformation might not be apparent in the exterior of the vehicles, but it will be profound in their operation, the energy they consume, and their ecological impact.
Just as the societal embrace of EVs might not revolutionize our streetscapes, the potential for dramatic transformation of underlying systems and environmental effects will be profound.
This change, known as the EV Transformation, is becoming a focal point of interest. What, then, constitutes this transformation?
Contents of this article
Three Major Challenges for Businesses in Adopting EVs
In response to the Green Growth Strategy Through Achieving Carbon Neutrality in 2050, crafted in collaboration with relevant ministries by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in December 2020, set a directive to propel the adoption of EVs by targeting the transition of passenger and commercial vehicles to electric between 2030 and 2040.
The onward march of EV adoption is expected to impact not just consumers but businesses as well. For many enterprises, the fleet of company vehicles they operate is substantial and will necessitate a transition to EVs.
Yet, this shift for businesses implies more than just swapping their fleets for EVs. They are confronted with three major challenges that must be navigated as they forge ahead with their electrification efforts.
The initial challenge for companies is the shortage of charging and power supply infrastructure. Unlike the widespread presence of gas stations, charging facilities are relatively scarce, which requires businesses to expand beyond public options and establish their own infrastructure to guarantee consistent service availability across different times and regions.
The second challenge is the extended charging times. In contrast to the few minutes it takes to refuel gasoline cars, charging EVs can take several hours, depending on their battery sizes. Fast chargers can significantly cut down this time, but still, when compared to gasoline cars, they lead to longer commitments for drivers, increased travel times, and extended delivery schedules.
The third challenge is the intricacies of power management. Managing a sizable fleet of EVs requires a strategic approach to charging, ensuring that the energy demands do not surpass the limits set by the company's utility contracts, which calls for a calculated management of when and which vehicles are charged.
Surmounting these challenges demands advanced expertise in energy management. With the transition to EVs being imperative, businesses face daunting obstacles if they are to navigate this shift independently. It's precisely this call for a foundational overhaul that highlights the significance of the EV Transformation movement.
Leverage Data To Turn the Shift to EVs Into a Business Opportunity.
It is crucial to develop and deploy a comprehensive energy management system, from power generation and storage to charging and recycling, to successfully navigate the challenges of transitioning to EVs and to accelerate the EV transformation.
Within DENSO, various departments collaborate to spearhead the EV transformation. Among them is Makiko Tauchi from the Value Chain Foundation R&D Dept., Systems Development for Smart City Div., who is responsible for developing data integration. Tauchi notes "This shift isn't just a challenge; for many businesses, moving towards EVs can be a tremendous business opportunity."
"Think of EVs as batteries on wheels. When integrated with charging stations and storage cells, they can help manage the overall power usage of an entire building or even supply energy in emergencies. By delivering a full suite of energy-related solutions, businesses can broaden their horizons.
Indeed, Tesla positions itself as an energy company. There was a significant trend around 2016 for auto industry players to transition from manufacturing to services, and they may also evolve into energy providers in the future.
New business models are already cropping up that provide services like fleet management and vehicle monitoring alongside EV energy management, as well as those that repurpose used EV batteries" (Tauchi).
To turn the adoption of EVs into a commercial opportunity for businesses, DENSO has been considering utilizing our data linkage and analysis technologies in the mobility domain in addition to providing essential hardware such as power supply systems and chargers.
Tauchi explains as follows.
"Indeed, from the mid-2010s, when CASE* emerged as a hot topic, we've been linking the real-time data from an array of mobility platforms with the cloud, conducting digital analyses, and crafting services of significant value based on these insights.
Amidst this background, the shift towards EVs has been noticeable since 2020, and we've entered a period where the focus extends beyond mobility to encompass the design and management of energy infrastructure as a whole.
In this context, we at DENSO have been identifying areas where we can leverage our established data connectivity and analytical expertise to make a significant contribution." (Tauchi)
Effective energy management in the EV transformation process depends on multiple variables, including the power consumption of each vehicle and the state of its batteries. It's essential to gather this data from EVs and other devices, digitize it, and then perform analyses to achieve optimization across the system.
By employing DENSO's data utilization platform technologies, we can create a flexible environment capable of harnessing a wide range and large volumes of data.
Attuned to a Broad Spectrum of Challenges of customers, DENSO Delivers Optimal and Comprehensive Solutions
DENSO's data utilization platform allows us to gather information from an array of EV-related equipment and devices, from the EVs themselves to the chargers and generation systems, managing it all safely with our advanced data control technology.
The data we collect is extensive, covering aspects from energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2 to the battery levels of individual vehicles. With this data, we apply our wide-ranging, proprietary algorithms to conduct analyses—predicting energy emissions, diagnosing battery wear, and forecasting generation, and this data will be available in a variety of services.
DENSO's solutions are characterized by providing comprehensive equipment for energy storage, supply, and charging, in addition to the algorithms and systems for data analysis and application.
"DENSO puts together a broad array of energy-related technologies, encompassing everything from generation systems and storage batteries to chargers, power supply systems, and the vehicle devices required for data collection. We've refined our algorithms to anticipate both charging and discharging patterns, which play a crucial role in preventing battery degradation. With these comprehensive energy management assets for EV transformation at our disposal, we can adapt our offerings to precisely fit our customers' challenges, ensuring the delivery of the most effective solutions."(Tauchi)
What specific solutions can DENSO offer? To clarify, Tauchi discusses an approach that involves visualizing and optimizing the flow of vehicles and energy usage data, citing a logistics company's scenario as an example.
"Imagine a logistics company that aims for consistent delivery using EVs but struggles with the management of charging and the lack of necessary infrastructure.
Our initial step would be to supply a data analysis system that could enable them to manage their EV charging efficiently. It would track the vehicles' locations, predict their return times, and monitor their battery levels, thus allowing for charging to be scheduled at the optimal times.
Additionally, we connect the analytical system to the physical energy storage infrastructure, facilitating scheduled charging sessions—for instance, 'This vehicle will charge from 3 PM to 6 PM.' Using this scheduled data, the storage facilities are automated, allowing us to provide a seamless and reliable supply of energy with the solution by both software and hardware." (Tauchi).
The initiatives for EV transformation have just begun. We anticipate a variety of new developments to unfold as we move forward.
Turn EV Transformation Into an Opportunity. Supporting Companies With Demonstration Experiments and the Creation of New Value
At DENSO, we are looking beyond merely advancing EV transformation and aiming to bolster businesses on their journey of creating new value. By leveraging our data utilization platform, we can digitally reconstruct vehicles and other objects in a virtual environment and simulate everything from product and service development to marketing and sales strategies.
"We're exploring the potential to offer a 'value chain platform' that harnesses the power of digital twins. This would allow for the digital execution of various phases such as product design, supply chain setup, and the validation of sales and marketing processes. It could also enable digital demonstration experiments using vehicles and devices. This approach can significantly accelerate development and validation speeds for EV transformation-related businesses and services, facilitating faster creation of new value and aiding in their introduction to society."
With the advancement of EV transformation catalyzing the creation of diverse businesses and services, there's potential for a ripple effect on personal lifestyles. Tauchi points out that once energy management solutions are accessible at the individual level, they will transform our relationship with energy, offering a glimpse into a possible future scenario.
"Individuals might not only monitor their electricity consumption but also store energy on demand, or possibly even engage in the buying and selling of electricity on a personal level. Essentially, electricity, traditionally dispensed by utility companies, could shift into a commodity that individuals manage with greater autonomy."(Tauchi)
EV transformation is set to spark not just new businesses and services, but also to enable individuals to use energy more conveniently and lead richer lives, with EVs playing a central role. This is the future DENSO envisions. Naturally, this isn't a vision that one company can achieve on its own. We're bolstering our corporate partnerships, working on collaborative data technology projects with cloud service IT companies, and pushing forward with semiconductor manufacturers to develop Electronic Control Units (ECUs) for advanced electronic management.
"We're committed to equipping ourselves with all the essential systems and technologies for transitioning to EVs and also for developing new services and infrastructures that leverage EVs. Our goal is for DENSO to be ready to offer immediate support whenever a company comes up with an idea or concept they wish to implement using EVs. We're striving to reach a point where we can promptly respond with the ideal solution, essentially saying, 'Yes, we have exactly what you need,'" (Tauchi).
Periods of change are full of disorder and difficulties, yet it's by surmounting these that we make new value. At the heart of this innovation is always the drive of wanting to 'do something.' DENSO is dedicated to propelling EV transformation forward, not just to shape these aspirations but also to nurture a fertile ground for innovation and value creation.
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