Software for Electric Vehicles: 7 Challenges to Adoption

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As customers look for new ways to counteract rising gas prices and reduce the damaging effects that travel can have on ecosystems and infrastructure, EVs have become more commonplace. 

Research has surged due to these demands for increased fuel efficiency and reduced vehicle emissions, and for EV manufacturers and dealers, there is vast growth potential.  

However, these opportunities are not without hurdles. To ensure acceptable performance and reliability, EVs rely on cutting-edge software and electronically controlled systems functioning together in varying capacities. These technologies are complex, and their successful implementation can prove a struggle. 

This article will outline seven challenges to installing software for electric vehicles automakers face as they work to innovate in an intensely competitive and unstable market. 

7 Challenges to Adopting Software for Electric Vehicles 

1. Choosing the Right System Architecture 

Due to the complexity and integration requirements developers must deal with, EV software development is rife with architectural difficulties. Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL) accreditation is frequently needed to demonstrate that the architecture is fail-safe.  

Many developers currently use a combined structure, where EV functionalities integrate into a single electronic control unit (ECU). This hybrid requires one cooling system and one control system, such as the DC/DC converter and onboard charging component. This design lowers complexity, weight, and cost. 

2. Maintaining Cybersecurity 

Internet access is an EV necessity and a risk because of added exposure to online threats. EVs are susceptible to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and malware attacks when they connect to architecture such as supply equipment or charging stations via Wi-Fi or USB.  

This vulnerability may expose personal data such as: 

  • Contact information 
  • Payment information 
  • Usernames/passwords 
  • Text communications 

The online activity could also allow hackers to damage the battery pack using ransomware and even put the entire grid network at risk. 

Developers can reduce these dangers by taking specific steps and including sophisticated security mechanisms in designing ECUs (Electronic Control Unit), such as a firewall that can safeguard the vehicle. 

3. Solving Supply Chain Breakdowns 

Natural disasters, pandemics, and other interruptions have wreaked havoc on all supply chain operations for both EV and ICE, and manufacturers struggle to locate necessary components to meet delivery requirements.  

However, there is an added complexity related to the EV manufacturer-supplier relationship.  

An electric motor has significantly fewer moving parts than an internal combustion engine. For the manufacturer and ultimate vehicle owner, this has several benefits, including: 

  • Less maintenance 
  • Economies of scale  
  • The overall lower long-term cost of ownership  

However, there is a definite drawback for suppliers. Fewer parts mean closer ties with the OEM and, as a result, suppliers are forced to use the same supply chain simulation software, making integration more critical now than ever.

4. Ensuring Driver Safety 

EV safety requirements are becoming stricter daily, and drivers are at risk without the appropriate design protections, fail-safe functions, and necessary ASIL compliance. For instance, power inverters must have high functional safety standards. The battery management system (BMS), which ensures the EV’s battery operates properly, must promptly address problems or separate faulty battery cells. 

5. Adapting to Evolving Protocols 

As EV technology advances, evolving protocols for charging station connectivity emerge. These protocols differ based on several variables, including the station’s physical location and specific manufacturer. To keep drivers moving, ECUs must use a network stack to guarantee interoperability across all EV components. 

Developers require a platform that offers the following features to overcome these difficulties: 

  • Assistance with all charging communication protocols 
  • A multicore system that allows distributing software to meet the performance and security issues associated with embedded software development 
  • A software integration, testing, and analysis environment aware of lessening hardware dependence 
  • Support model-based systems engineering (MBSE) that spans several domains and includes all essential electrical, software, and hardware elements 
  • Layered ECU security with confidentiality and integrity features and safety use support  

6. Developing the EV Charging Infrastructure 

Charging an EV can take a while, so developers cannot approach EV charging infrastructure like they do the fueling of traditional ICE vehicles. Instead, they must rethink the “refuel” concept and look to meet the following objectives: 

  • Installing EV charging stations at businesses, allowing employees to recharge at work and commute directly home 
  • Providing all homeowners with the option to install home stations and recharge vehicles overnight 
  • Establishing stations at popular public locations, such as restaurants, malls, and hotels 
  •  Adding rapid charging stations along major highways for long-distance traveling 

No one solution can build an EV charging infrastructure. With a single objective in mind—an efficient EV charging infrastructure made up of numerous separate EV charging networks—the development must move in various directions. 

7. Addressing Consumer Demands 

With these skills at their disposal, EV developers may confidently take on the various challenges of developing EV software. 

Despite consumers’ increased interest in EVs, there are still barriers to their mainstream acceptance, including: 

  • Limited driving range 
  • High up-front cost 
  • Lengthy charging times 
  • Low battery capacity 
  • Insufficient infrastructure 

To overcome these issues and change consumer perceptions, manufacturers must continue advancing software and optimizing designs. 

Another crucial factor for EV makers to consider as they seek to win over new clients and stand out from the competition is consumers’ thirst for intelligent features like: 

  • Automatic climate control 
  • Voice assistance 
  • Adaptive cruise control 

Manufacturers must manage complex product designs with cutting-edge software and technology like the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors, and artificial intelligence to give customers a connected, personalized experience. 

Successful Software Adoption Requires the Best Technology 

The challenges developers face when installing software for electric vehicles – including those discussed above – will only increase as the demand for EVs rises. These potential roadblocks might impact manufacturing and supply to your dealership, meaning you will need to make the most of what you have on-site. 

However, these hurdles are not insurmountable. Dealers can design a sales strategy to compensate for these challenges by leveraging the industry’s premier digital solutions that help you target the right leads, convert them into active customers, and maximize EV revenue. 

Contact us today and learn how Affinitiv’s innovative solutions and EV initiative can help you overcome the struggles of early software adoption and prepare to sell more EVs as their popularity rises in the coming years.  

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