It is no news to state that electric mobility is growing fast. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and gas price volatility are pushing clients to buy Electric Vehicles (EV). However, the shift towards a cleaner and greener mobility would not have been successful without the technological breakthroughs that we are witnessing today and the fact that batteries are gaining range and getting cheaper. Numbers show this shift: from 2015 to 2018, EV sales were multiplied by 4 (1) (2 Million EVs sold in 2018). Depending on different climate policies scenarios, projections show we could have up to 220 Million EVs on the road in 2030(2).
The road to high scale e-mobility is filled with challenges. To help the E-mobility go up this rocky road, it is time to think Blockchain! At this stage, most blockchain projects in E-mobility are still in the experimental or pilot phase. If Blockchain were to scale up, the following is a showcase of a few ways it can help car manufacturers, grid companies, etc…
More EVs means more charging stations. Studies show there could be more than 40 Million Charging stations in 2030 (3). This fast infrastructure development is a threat to a functional electric grid. However, a new technology called Vehicle to Grid (V2G) can turn this threat into an opportunity. V2G lets the grid use the EVs as a large-scale virtual power generator: The grid can both charge the battery of the EV and use the power stored in that car when necessary. This way, the grid maintains its equilibrium and the EV owner can be paid for the service he is providing. Blockchain offers the agility, security and decentralization needed by this complicated technology.
We are witnessing the beginning of electric autonomous cars. Back in November of 2018(4), Tesla declared achieving a new milestone: autopilot assisted with 1 billion miles of car rides. Mobility is starting to take a different shape. With client needs evolving, the sharing economy or the shift to service business models are taking on the mobility. Smart contracts can emerge with the support of Blockchain:
Infrastructure sharing: With the growing need of electric charging stations, a group of people can co-own a charging infrastructure (in the building parking for example). Blockchain can operate all the transactions of charging securely and transparently.
Car sharing: With autonomous vehicles, there will not be a need to own a car. Many individuals can share a fleet of cars. Blockchain can securely operate all the finances and transactions related to the car sharing without an intermediary.
Insurance contracts: Blockchain will be able to handle complex insurance contract schemes that mirror a new generation of mobility. For example, if a fleet of 100 autonomous cars is owned by 1000 individuals, blockchain can handle a smart insurance contract for the thousand individuals. Payments could be wired securely, proportional to the usage of the fleet, without any human intervention.
Whether you are an electric car manufacturer, a mobility or a utility player, supply chain management is always a tough challenge. Consider the following advantages that Blockchain has to offer when it comes to supply chain:
Transparency: For example, a product’s origin information can be made open and transparent thanks to Blockchain and thus reduce the opacity of today’s supply chain.
Security: Blockchain is best known for this aspect. No one can tamper with data inputs. It could potentially eliminate the need for audits.
Innovation: Blockchain integration can increase innovative use cases. For example, many electric car companies could use the same storage platform. Sharing the costs of the space could be handled by blockchain with a high degree of transparency.
Digital and new technologies have allowed new comers to become competitive in a very short time. The car manufacturing industry is no exception: in Q3 of last year, Tesla sold more cars than Mercedes Benz in the United states (5). Investing in new technology like blockchain and betting on open innovation are key to staying competitive.
Another crucial element to staying competitive is branding. In any industry, especially in car manufacturing, the brand image is an important asset of the company. Showing interest in new technology guarantees a better image quality and sends positive signals to the market and stakeholders. In its annual study (6), Forbes lists the top companies with the best brand value. Only one car manufacturer made it to the top ten list: Toyota. It is ranked ninth with a quarter of the number one’s brand value (Apple). Almost all car manufacturers have an electric car offer. What could make the difference is new technology, i.e. blockchain!