Understanding Transportation Electrification
By Space Coast Daily // October 12, 2022
It’s no secret that how we power our transportation systems is changing. There has been a shift from gas-powered cars and trucks toward electrified transit and electric vehicles, and this trend will only continue in the future.
But what does this mean for the engineering of transportation infrastructure? In this blog post, we’ll look at the basics of transportation electrification and what it could mean for the future of our railways.
What is Transportation Electrification?
Transportation electrification refers to electrifying a transportation system, typically installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This can be done on a small scale, like installing electric vehicle charging stations in parking lots, or on a large scale, like electrifying an entire city’s public transit system.
In short, transportation electrification refers to replacing traditional fossil-fuel-powered vehicles with electric ones. There are several ways this has been done, including battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
Accessibility to charge
As the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road continues to rise, so does the need for increased access to EV charging stations. According to Statistica, the United States had around 113,600 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles in January 2022. (EVs). California has the largest number of these chargers, with roughly 41,300 public and private power outlets.
These stations are essential for keeping EVs running, and there are several ways to find them. The best way to locate a public EV Charging station near you is by using the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fueling Station Locator tool. The tool lets you search for public charging stations by location and fuel type, as shown below.
Another way is to download a smartphone app like PlugShare, shown below, which allows you to locate nearby public charging stations and even see real-time information on availability.
The process for using an electric vehicle charging station depends on the type of charger you are using. It can be either Level 1 or Level 2, with Level 2 being more powerful and able to charge an EV faster. Level 1 charging adds approximately 4 miles of Range Per Hour, and level 2 charging provides around 25 miles of Range Per Hour.
For Level 1 chargers, the most common type of charger found at public stations, all you need is a standard 120-volt outlet and your car’s charging cable. Level 2 chargers require a 240-volt outlet, and you will also need your car’s charging cable.
Once you have located a compatible charger and outlet, simply connect your car’s charging cable to the charger and then plug the other end into your car’s cigarette lighter or dedicated charging port.
How can you save money?
Investing in electrified transit can help you save money on transportation costs over time.
First of all, electric vehicles are much more efficient than gas cars. This means they use less energy to travel the same distance, saving money and resources. Electric vehicles are also becoming increasingly affordable as technology improves and battery prices drop.
Besides, that EVs are much cheaper to operate and maintain. For example, by having a motor-operated disconnect switch, you can easily disconnect the motor from the power supply without going through the entire machine. This makes working on and repairing the machine much easier and cheaper.
Also, electric vehicles do not require regular tune-ups or oil changes, which can further reduce operating costs.
Electric locomotives are more reliable than their diesel counterparts and require less frequent maintenance. So an electrified railway system, for example, would result in significant cost savings due to reduced maintenance needs.
In addition, electric locomotives generate far less pollution, which keeps the machines just as clean as they keep the environment. This also means they will need to be cleaned less often, reducing the maintenance burden, which frees up resources you can devote to other aspects of the railways.
Additionally, many states and municipalities offer tax credits or rebates for electric vehicles, charging stations, and home energy storage systems. So you can take advantage of tax credits and rebates offered by the government for purchasing an electric vehicle, which saves you money.
How does it benefit society?
There are many benefits to transportation electrification, both for individuals and for society as a whole.
One of the primary benefits for society is that it can help reduce vehicle emissions and carbon footprint. Electric vehicles produce zero emissions, which can help to improve air quality, reduce the harmful health effects associated with exposure to vehicle exhaust, and fight climate change.
Electrified transit also tends to be much quieter than its gasoline-powered counterparts. This is especially beneficial for residents who live near busy highways or airports. So by switching to electric vehicles, we can significantly reduce noise pollution.
In addition, transportation electrification helps to create new jobs and businesses in the construction and engineering industries, manufacturing and assembly of electrical components like conduit sealing bushing and vehicles, and the maintenance and repair of electric vehicles.
Another benefit of electrified transit is that it can help improve our energy security. Oil imports can be a significant source of instability, as they can be disrupted by political unrest or natural disasters. By transitioning to electric vehicles, we can reduce our dependence on imported oil and increase our energy security.
The same may be said for reducing our dependence on non-renewable energy. For example, electric vehicles get their power from batteries, which can be recharged using renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.
Electrified transit is a hot topic these days. We all want to do our part in creating a cleaner, more sustainable future, including finding ways to reduce emissions from transportation.
And the transportation sector is ripe for change as the world moves away from combustion-powered vehicles. As we continue working towards combatting climate change, we’ll likely see an increase in the number of people switching to electric vehicles in the years to come.
We should seize this opportunity to move towards a more sustainable transportation future. By understanding transportation electrification, we can make informed decisions about how we get around in the future.