On Demand Webinar - Rethink Electrification 4 Critical Steps for Better EVSE Performance
Hello everyone, thank you for joining our webinar. Today, Daniel Wyatt VP of Sales for Eastern US and Canada along with Stéphane Desroches, solutions architect, will help rethink electrification with 4 critical steps for better EVSE performance. Before we begin, I would like to inform everyone that you will be automatically muted, but we will be answering questions near the end. And now,
let’s begin! Hey everyone, I’m Dan, and I started with Averna back in 2015. Today I’m responsible for the Canadian and Eastern American sales teams and I’m really excited to speak with you all today. I’m joined by Stéphane, who has designed countless EVSE test systems at this point. Stéphane, can you quickly introduce yourself? Of course, hi everybody, I’m Stéphane, and I’ve been with Averna for more than 15 years now and 15 previously in the flight simulation industry. Back in the day I started as a hardware system designer covering high power, DC to RF and software developer and moved into the role I have now as a Solutions Architect. I’m really looking forward to sharing some of the things we’ve learned in the field and answering your questions! Ya, definitely. So today we’re just going to touch on why we’re here and look at
the growth of EVSE and why. We’ll quickly review the challenges in developing better equipment and then review the 4 biggest considerations when developing a system. That’s right, the main topics we will address will be: regenerative equipment, microgrid management, reliable asset communication and effective protocol simulation. So, let’s get started here. In my role at Averna, I have the opportunity to talk to customers all across North America, and over the past 2 years or so, the effects of all the EV government mandates are really coming to light. Once the Paris agreement was signed, countries and car manufacturers all over the world committed to minimizing the presence of the internal combustion engine.
It’s obvious that electric cars were just the beginning of this initiative. Without a reliable charging infrastructure to support them, that wasn’t going to work in big numbers. Definitely not. I only recently bought my first EV a few months ago and I’m very happy with it, but I didn’t feel comfortable making the change 5 years ago. I do a lot of road trips,
I go see my kids’ competitions out of town and things like that. I wasn’t willing to either risk running out of battery or going out of my way to make the drive. You know, reach my destination. So anyhow, not only has the infrastructure here in Canada (where I am) drastically improved, but I also have been working with many manufacturers on their product development and production, so I know what’s coming. Using the apps to find charge points that are working
and available has made owning an EV much easier than it would have been in 2020. Absolutely. And so now with that exposure to the industry, Stéphane and I also really understand the challenges of dealing with such high-current, high-voltage and high-power, and we thought this would make the perfect topic for our next webinar. The products are coming out fast, and they can be very hard to test. Up to now we have been developing testers for 600kW
chargers, but we expect that number to grow over time and we are preparing accordingly. So like I was saying, one of the challenges is that if you have an electric vehicle, you might have a charger in your garage, right? You come home, you plug it in, and that will charge overnight. But if you're driving along and you have low battery and you don't want to stop overnight there is now a big push towards these DC fast chargers which devices that transfer a ton of electricity in 15 minutes, not like a trickle overnight. I mean,
the heat is so intense that the charging cable has cooling in it because it gets so hot. To put it into perspective, it's around the same amount of electricity that your home uses in a month. The average American household uses 30 KW in 24 hours. Compare that to a charger that can produce 100 kilowatts in just 15 minutes…it’s huge! Now when you think about testing that, we are not looking at 15 minutes anymore. We are talking about hours of this incredible energy running in your factory. It’s not sustainable. Yeah, it's an amount of electricity that way beyond what the average
person is thinking about. Imagine it's a massive fire hose, you can’t just say let's go test it. You can’t blast a bunch of water off to the yard. If you just had city water at your building, your water bill is going to go through the roof. So you can't test EVSE by just turning
on the electricity. It's so enormous that it's certain your building can’t accommodate that. So there's a lot of thought that goes into safely testing electricity at that level. Absolutely. Safety is a challenge. And I'm just laughing thinking about do they
test water hoses by blasting them into a yard? Safety is a challenge and heat is a challenge. You're losing that electricity through inherent inefficiencies in heat. In some of the larger stations, the heat that comes off the cable is the equivalent to an oven and its 4 burners running. And this is an example of why energy management is so important and so challenging. And to paint the full picture, once this thing is out the door, it’s out the door. This charger
is out in the field, distributing huge amounts of energy into cars, something is eventually going to go wrong. As with any product, after repeated use the quality will not be the same as it was when it left the factory. That’s why it is important to implement as many safety measures as possible, ensure there is reliable monitoring of the station and have a preventive maintenance plan in place. Yeah, you nailed it Stéphane, something will eventually go wrong, and so a lot of manufacturers are going, how do we manage this electricity? How do we monitor the chargers in another state? How do we make sure that none of the power supplies burst into flames or fail catastrophically? So, they need to figure out how to test them properly while in their facility and also figure out how to monitor the stations out in the field to make sure they continue to work. Yes, so to do this you've got to come up with a whole regenerative microgrid system to test them on site. And there
are many tests to think about. Power calibration, PCB tests, mandatory quality tests of course like leakage, ground fault, temperature, user interface and operator safety which are of the utmost importance. The 4 points we have chosen to look at today don’t focus on these tests specifically, but they are major contributors to successfully deploy the test setup you need to achieve it all. So let’s get into some details here. Over the past 2 years, the demand for these test solutions
has quadrupled. We have multiple teams around the world dedicated to EVSE, and as a result, we are seeing specific patterns. When we think about major considerations in the test design for chargers, 4 things come top to mind first: microgrid management, regenerative equipment, reliable asset communication, and effective protocol simulation. That’s exactly right, and these 4 things will make or break the success of your project. Absolutely. Now, let’s look at the microgrid. The Microgrid manages the flow of electricity between different energy sources and loads in a localized network. So here we are talking about managing the power supply to the
EVSE, as well as the energy storage devices and renewable energy sources that may be connected. A microgrid represents the AC power supply, which mimics the grid to the charging station. Yes, effective microgrid management assures that EVSE testing is conducted safely and efficiently with reliable results. This is how you prevent overloading or under-voltage conditions that could damage the equipment or create safety hazards. When you think about the microgrid,
there are a few things that come to mind right away. In the case of EVSE, as we already discussed, we are talking about a massive amount of energy. Knowing this, the first thought is of course regenerative equipment. It goes without saying that this is a non-negotiable, but we will get into that topic in a few minutes. The next thing that comes to my mind is safety.
Here we are dealing with high power and high voltage. Any microgrid management system used in EVSE testing must comply with relevant safety standards. The cabinet must be designed to meet the right power requirements of not only your product today, but down the road as well. This industry is too dynamic to not think ahead, and that can include the cable size, the contactors and the safety system as well to some extent. Make sure there are a lot of E-stops and of course you must meet NFPA, UL or CE regulations, like enough distance away from the machine for the operator’s safety, as an example. Yeah, I
mean this is very very high power. So, what you’re saying is when you’re designing the microgrid, you need to make sure you fully understand the power requirements and the size of the connectors, the contactors and the cabling, so that you aren't generating unnecessary heat through resistance. So, Stéphane, would you say heat is another of your top considerations for the microgrid. Well,
actually yes and no. At the end of the day, if the system is well designed, it shouldn’t generate an excessive amount of heat. This is exactly why you need to know upfront what the requirements are to buy the proper cable sizes, connectors and so on. In fact, in some instances you are talking about
busbars that carry 600 amps! This facilitates not only the heat resistance and compactness, but the assembly as well. Yeah, I see what you mean. Before moving on to regenerative equipment, one last thing I want to touch on quickly is that you shouldn’t think about a microgrid as one per tester. The microgrid concept can be expanded to include more things than just 1 device under test. Absolutely, it’s the same concept as sharing instruments when we do test stations. The loads can be shared as well. For example, we could test 2 units with the same load because they probably
load the system for, say, 20 minutes each. But the whole test can take around 2 hours because there are a lot of other features to test like screens and payment, software update and things like that. So when Stéphane and I started talking about this webinar and what we wanted to present, he used a visual that I really liked to describe regenerative equipment. He called it an endless wave, like you would find on a cruise ship. The water is coming fast, hard and non-stop. It will knock you right off your board, it’s that strong, but you
never run out of water. The wave is constantly barreling, but the water never needs to refill. Yes, exactly, and that’s what regenerative equipment is. In the case of the wave, you have a ton of water flowing and so you have a big reservoir and a huge pump. Water keeps pumping
out from that reservoir, making that wave and then it starts all over, using the same water. With that said, sometimes they have to refill the water a little bit from natural loss that will happen. Sometimes the water will overflow and not make it back to reservoir, or whatever reason. To accommodate this loss, they only need a very tiny pipe to refill that small amount, but the heavy lifting comes from the reuse of that same water. So, the pump and the water flow, that's our microgrid leveraging regenerative equipment. If you look at this diagram, it’s the same thing. Here is the microgrid, and these thick black lines represent all of that
energy flowing through the system. But on the left, you see a thin black line, and that is the small amount of energy that’s needed from the city to keep this whole system running smoothly. Yes, regenerative equipment enables a massive amount of energy to be recovered and reused during the testing process. This improves the overall efficiency of the process and reduces the amount of energy that needs to be taken from the grid. Regenerative equipment is like converts kinetic energy into electrical energy, which can either be stored or reused to power other devices. Otherwise, this energy would not only be lost, but also dangerous. Without a regenerative load, you
are turning 500 kWs right into heat. It is a waste of energy and basically impossible to achieve. Most facilities are not equipped with the capabilities to do this or have an HVAC system to accommodate this much energy. With these limitations, there would be no way to fully test the station, making it unsafe to use. So if any of you watching this are on the engineering team, you probably know this already. Regenerative equipment is not a massive secret here, but it is expensive and needs to be chosen wisely to make the most of it. That’s true,
but I do want to say, while it’s expensive, it’s nothing compared to what the electric bill would cost if you didn’t have regenerative equipment. Absolutely true Stéphane. So, in your experience designing these systems, what advice can you give to help select the right equipment? Yeah, that’s a good question and a tough one. I will say that when we design our systems, we do not have any limitations to what equipment we can use, so for different reasons we have used a few different ones. For one project we selected NHR because it’s modular. In another case,
it was more appropriate to use Keysight because the customer already had Keysight equipment. Basically, we now have drivers for them all and we can use whichever is most appropriate. Often it simply comes down to how manufacturing is already set up and it’s simply easier to integrate one tool over another. Moving on to our third topic, asset communication, we are talking about the transfer of data between different components of an EVSE system, including the cloud.
Our customers have made it very clear to us that their priority is uptime. With charge points all over the world, reliable asset communication is critical to monitor stations out in the field. This ensures that charging sessions are conducted efficiently, safely, and properly and notifies the manufacturer if a system is down or requires maintenance.
It is important to discover this before a customer does. Yes. At the factory, stations typically go through a provisioning process which includes the serial number, will be assigned with the modem. These are linked together and registered into their cloud service. The manufacturer should make sure that it passes all of the information up to their network and that they can see it on the remote system before they send it out to the field. And to double down on that, it needs to be provisioned on the RIGHT network, since there are multiple operators out there. That’s right and it
needs to be the right flavor since operators have different GUIs and other nuances. Communication is really important because everyone needs access to this information. Users are checking availability and usability on their phone and the manufacturer should see immediately when a charge point is down so they can fix it ASAP. Right. So, what we have been seeing for the most part is that communication is being treated as more of an afterthought than as part of the test process. But what we are saying is that it is an efficient production test practice to integrate the provisioning at the end of a complete test and then doing a final test. Don’t test it, ship it and then provision it and just hope it all works out. You can include the remote monitoring,
provisioning, and verification as part of the production test process. Lastly, I just want to quickly mention cybersecurity. EVSE systems can be vulnerable to cyberattacks, which can compromise the system. It is important to implement robust firewalls and other measures to keep them safe and reliable. Good point. Thanks Stéphane. Now finally, let’s talk about protocol simulation. It may seem like a car is just being plugged in to a fast-charger and it is charged 15 minutes later, but a lot is happening in those 15 minutes, specifically, the communication between the car and the EVSE.
The EVSE is talking to the car to understand how much power it needs, and the type. It should check if it’s a cold charge. It also needs to know how much money to charge the customer and accept payment. Basically, the EVSE needs to know how to respond to the requirements of the vehicle.
Exactly. So, for this to go smoothly, you need testing and validation procedures that meet the system requirements. Assets leverage standardized communication protocols like Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), ISO 15118, CHAdeMO and Combined Charging System (CCS). By keeping to these standards, different components of the system will communicate effectively with one another. The tests must generate these protocols, simulate the right environments, and leverage real-world data. There are dozens of EV manufacturers using hundreds of battery types and you need to know that your charger is going to work for all of them in variable conditions like weather, temperature or high traffic to cover all bases. The problem is that you can’t have all these cars
with all these different batteries with varying current, voltage, and power on your manufacturing floor…or at least you shouldn’t. Even if you could, you still need to consider factors like charge rate, power delivery, as well as any environmental factors that may impact performance. If it’s snowing and -20 degrees in the lab, you’ve got bigger problems than protocol simulation.
You sure do. So, protocol simulation creates an environment that mimics EV behavior out in the real world while charging. By simulating the behavior of different devices in a controlled environment, you can identify any issues or compatibility problems that could arise in the field. It’s a game-changing tool that is easy to integrate into any EVSE test system.
We have a short video here to show you how simple it is to use, regardless of parameters. So here is the Averna EV simulator that can be used for testing EVSE systems in production or R&D labs, and basically it simulates the vehicle to grid protocol, or the V2G protocols which use power line communication, PLC, for communicating between the EV and EVSE and use PWM modulation to send and receive the V2G messages. So what we have here is that we have a dashboard that we can repeatedly plug and unplug the charger. We can start or stop the charging process, which is different than plugging/unplugging this system. We can control the EV battery parameters, which we can translate to control the charging profile and also we can monitor the V2G status from control public connect to the end of the session. So we can see that for instance, the EV starts the control pilot, it does the slack matching up indication, send and receive the parameters for the charging profile and then starts the session and also we can look real time and monitor the session prompters. We do have graph here
and configuration that we can take a look at it later. So let me start for instance. So as you see right now it's disconnected and we have a gauge. There's no voltage, no current as of right now, the start of the charge for the battery is 20%. And when we plug, we'll see here that the system starts the pilot right away. It detects the signal from the EVSE, set up its duty cycle and then do the slack matching and the rest. And as you can see here we can monitor the control pilot status and if we go to the the graphs you see that the charging process started here and as you remember I actually I didn't reset the battery for this test at the start. Fast charging was at 60%, so at 60%
start fast charging with higher voltage, higher current, and then at 80% drop to slow charging and we so we have the state of the charge of the battery, the current and the voltage, and also we do have a cursor so user can use the cursor to monitor the voltage and car that's specific in time. So if you're back here, and if I don't unplug and change this one, for instance, to, it was 30 that I didn't reset. So if I reset it, drop back to 20%, it was 100% before, and if I plugged this one we what we expect, we expect that we start from 20% after 30% jump to 300 Volt 100 amp instead of 250/75. Again, the same thing started slag authentication stages B changed to C means that the charging started and you see that we have 20/30% jump to a 300 Volt, 100 amp and then up to 80% is gonna continue because the end of fast charging is 80%. And so
you can monitor the whole page current and see that it behaves as expected. You can control the charging profile by controlling the battery parameters and monitor the the V2G status and the session projectors. The last a tab that we have is a configuration tab, so it's more for like debugging or for if you want to manipulate the system the way that it usually works. For instance, we can you have an option to skip the slack process. You have the option to skip the CP manual mode, so it means that it jumps to the authentication right away. Currently we use the PLC power line communication.
There is an option that you connect the EV to EVSE using at the internet and it means that you bypass everything just the higher level protocols communicate to each other. Talk to each other and we can change the the standards DIN, ISO or DIN and ISO. There's an option you can reset the software and the reset the hardware. If there's any problem with the hardware. And so that's it.
That's a quick overview and demo of the Averna EV simulator. That was Farshad, who is responsible for this product development. So you should know there are variations on the market, but the software you just saw is the solution we built in-house and was designed for engineering, validation and production. So that’s about it for our prepared portions, and we’re looking forward to answering your questions, but if there’s one thing you should take away from this presentation, it’s that when you are dealing with such high power and voltage, it is crucial to educate yourself on the test equipment you will select, or work with a test partner that understands this industry. That’s right, this technology can be very dangerous, and it’s expanding quickly. Don’t rush the test
design because it will be a lot more costly after the fact, but by doing the research and investigating test options, getting your product into manufacturing can go faster than you think. Thank you. Thank you Dan, Stéphane! We do have a few questions here from the people listening. If anyone else has any questions, please go ahead and ask and we will try to answer everything.
So right off the bat, “What kind of cable or and cable size can carry this kind of current?” Stéphane, that's probably a good question for you. On the DC yeah that we it can be about 500 mms like there are big cables or about almost an inch and a half or like three centimeter size inside or obviously dedicated busbars thick busbars that will plug in with with breakers but yeah they're a good size if they're not cooled they can be a bit smaller thhan when they're cooled but inside stations you usually don't use the cold ones. Perfect. “Regarding provisioning, are Averna stations compatible with a specific MES?”
Maybe I can answer this one, and Stéphane you can add to it of course. At Averna we don't necessarily have a catalog of existing testers. We're generally using some building blocks to build a very specific system for a particular customer's manufacturing environment, so we're leveraging our expertise in the industry. But generally depending on the product and the manufacturing environment a very specific system would need to be built. So,
we tend to work with customers and understand, like I said, their manufacturing environment and come up with something right for that scenario. So, these stations that we do deliver certainly do more often than not integrate into customers’ MES systems and pass data back and forth. And interesting side note, some of Averna's roots are actually in MES or data aggregation and so we actually have quite a bit of capability in integrating with MES systems that we might not have had in the past and understanding how to get data in and out of things…so long answer in short, most of our delivered stations generally are passing data to and from customer base. Yeah, exactly. Then they can either be standalone or communicate out to the outside world getting results and pushing down the results as well. Yeah. Great, thank you. “What types of loads do you use?” I'll take that one. We mentioned in the presentation we
use NHR and Keysight, but there's other ones on the market. There's Heinzinger and yes the different ones that are dependent on the use. And look, maybe even location of the station, like Europe or North America, might have used different loads but these are the ones that we've used and they're the most popular ones in North America anyway. Perfect, and we have one last question here.
“How much efficiency are we getting from the microgrid, as a percentage?” I can take that one. The region load themselves they're depending on their power, but at their best they're about 90-95% efficient; they're quite efficient. It's amazing how much energy they can push back to the grid. Obviously, there's other loss overall in this system and the EVSE itself, because there's loss and power supplies, and as we mentioned the cable alone is heating as well, but overall the whole system may have like 20-25% loss. But the part of the cables and region is about 90-95% which is quite good compared to a 100% loss if it was just pure electric.
Whether it's wasted inside or pushed outside through the HVAC, it's a lot more efficient and over time there's a lot of savings. Yeah, good answer. Dan, Stéphane, thank you again and thank you to everyone in attendance. We hope you enjoy the rest of your day.