An EV-olution for charging stations

Kayla Valentine

Sep 16, 2021

The race for net-zero carbon emissions is on, yet 88% of major US cities have less than half the electric vehicle (EV) battery charging capacity recommended by 2025. Unfortunately, rather than moving forward, progress seems to be moving backwards, as one in five Californian EV owners reportedly reverted back to gasoline-fueled cars. 

Why? It is due in part to a lack of useful charging ports.

However, one tool aims to spark change. INCEPTS is one of the first tools that uses real-world data to consider traffic-centric, environmental, and geographical effects on EV batteries. Its bedrock technology allows for scaling up as needed, as well as providing high fidelity EV simulations. It will be used to enhance the charging grid, determining the best areas to place charging stations to enhance the reliability of battery charge.

The INCEPTS software is developed and maintained by Matthew Guttenberg, a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University, alongside his advisor Venkat Viswanathan, an associate professor of mechanical engineering.

Current EV models can over-estimate battery range up to 20%, leaving drivers potentially stranded during long-distance trips before they ever reach their destinations, leading to range anxiety in consumers. While the providers of typical EV charger solutions install chargers based on public demand, INCEPTS will place them where they’re needed, combatting EV range anxiety.

By accounting for environmental factors such as temperature, wind conditions, and altitude, plus geographical and traffic conditions, INCEPTS’ intelligent charger placement is expected to cover the three M’s:

  • Maximize charger utilization
  • Minimize economic investments
  • Meet consumer charger demand 

INCEPTS is anticipated to have many other features. For fleets of vehicles, it will simulate spatially-resolved battery requirements for the fleet. Eventually, customers will be able to use a version of the technology as a phone application, allowing them to plan trips ahead of time.

After the needs of terrestrial transport have been met, Guttenberg and Viswanathan believe that the tool will rise to the occasion of integrating vertiports, paving the way for urban air mobility.

Although not yet live, the tool is “market ready,” and has an anticipated release within a year. 

The team also includes mechanical engineering students Alex Bills, Shashank Sripad, and Alex Wadell. 

Media contact:
Lisa Kulick,