King Willem-Alexander inaugurated the Elaad Testlab in Arnhem on Wednesday morning. In the test laboratory, electric vehicles, passenger cars, but certainly also vans and delivery trucks can be tested with the current and new charging infrastructure. The influence on the power grid, especially for the (fast) charging of trucks, is also an important goal of the Elaad Testlab.
“This Elaad test lab is the interface between electricity and mobility,” said Onoph Caron, director of Elaad, during the opening. “Everything fits together in this test laboratory: the vehicles, the charging infrastructure and the network. Network administrators, who are almost all present here, can also view cooperation here. Because a rapid transition to electric driving is in everyone’s interest.” Developments in the transition to electric vehicles are advancing rapidly, noted State Secretary Vivianne van Heijnen for Infrastructure and Transport Management. “Four years ago, my predecessor Stientje van Veldhoven opened a test facility here in Arnhem, but it was already too small. This E[laad Testlab neemt een belangrijke plek in het versnellen van de transitie naar elektrisch vervoer. Op deze plek gaat als eerste op grote schaal de operationele werking en gevolgen van een elektrische vrachtwagen, laadpaal en netwerk intensief onderzocht worden.” De netwerkbeheerders gaven hun blijk van goede wil in de vorm van een Smart EV charger voor zware voertuigen.
Various workshops have been set up in the Elaad test lab to show the lab facilities. One of them was the chain test station. There, the mutual coordination and communication between the devices of the entire chain: electric vehicle – charging station – systems of the charging station operators and the charging service providers are tested. There, King Willem-Alexander would perform the opening act by connecting a DAF CF Electric garbage truck to a charging station via the charging cable. Although the connection between the truck and the charging station was often tested, it was not established when the king plugged the socket into the DAF. A second attempt also failed, after which the king verbally declared the test lab open. However, the small incident actually shows that the communication between the vehicle, the charging station and the network really needs further investigation.
The folks at Elaad Testlab know that too. “For sure, when it comes to recharging trucks on a larger scale than today, it remains a challenge,” says operational manager Thijs van Wijk of Elaad Testlab. His colleague Nazir Refa, head of the data analysis team at Elaad, adds: “There is still work to be done in busy places such as depots or specially equipped areas. Don’t forget that we learned a lot from passenger car charging. But heavy duty vehicles are another story, it’s true. That’s why we’re going to study all of this here in the test lab.
Dutch and international car manufacturers, manufacturers and operators of charging stations, companies that provide energy services, network operators and educational institutions can use the test facilities of the test laboratory. There are equipment to measure the quality of energy and there are charging stations to be able to recharge energy in a short time and with high powers. The entire communication chain of the vehicle, the charging station and the interaction with other elements such as solar panels can also be examined in the test center. In addition, the digital security of this communication is an area of attention.
Chain tests in the test lab test whether the mutual coordination and communication between devices in the entire chain: electric vehicle – charging station – systems of charging station managers and charging service providers is correct. Or possibly in combination with a smart home energy system (home energy management system) – all other local grid electricity consumers and suppliers such as heat pumps and solar panels – and the electricity grid under -lying. How does this coordination take place and where do digital confusions occur, for example because existing standards and protocols are not exactly respected? Or maybe the language still needs to be developed? To ensure that such a chain functions optimally, Elaad tests whether the communication through the chain takes place correctly (in accordance with the standards), whether the various systems actually allow communication with other systems and whether this information exchanged are used correctly. Optimal mutual communication is complex, but essential, so we test it in chain tests.
In order to guarantee the security and reliability of the electricity network, ElaadNL has drawn up connection specifications in collaboration with the network managers. This defines the requirements of network operators, which public charging stations must meet before they can be connected to the electricity network. Consider, for example, sufficient space for the meter and fuses to be mounted and for technicians to work properly. In the ElaadNL test lab, network operators inspect all new charging stations based on connection specifications.
Can any vehicle smoothly charge at any charging point? Or are there certain models that still have problems with certain types of charging stations? Elaad aims to have all public charging points represented at its charging plaza so that vehicle manufacturers with new or modified models can visit the Netherlands in Elaad.
Electric vehicle charging can affect voltage quality. If the conversion required to convert alternating current (from the mains) to direct current (for the car batteries) is not carried out correctly, disturbances occur which can affect the mains voltage. Conversely, poor voltage quality can affect the charging of electric vehicles, since a disturbed voltage leads to disturbed currents, so it is important that inverters do not generate too many disturbances, but are also insensitive to certain disturbances of voltage. Both aspects are tested at Elaad’s test lab.
Smart charging is also tested at the Elaad test lab. The core of smart charging is that the car is plugged in, but charging is controlled. Charging can therefore be deferred, or stopped and then restarted. Charging can also be done at an adjusted speed (lower or higher) because, for example, there is a lot or little supply of locally produced sustainable energy, to meet energy prices or to have a lot or little energy. space on the power grid in your neighborhood. Also, with the use of smart charging, more charging stations can be connected to the current power grid.
Charging infrastructure is usually connected. This applies to all public poles, but also to home charging stations. For example, payment needs to be arranged through a back-office system or software needs to be updated. The fact that the charging station is connected is very practical because you can also control the charge. But that also means cybersecurity is crucial, you don’t want a lot of electric vehicle charging to be hacked. Not only because it can be very annoying for the consumer, who, for example, cannot recharge and therefore cannot drive, but also because all these electric vehicles together have a large capacity and if they can be missteered , the electrical network can be seriously disturbed. With ENCS (European Network for Cybersecurity), ElaadNL has established requirements that public and private charging stations must meet in order to create a safe charging infrastructure. The application is tested at the Test Lab.
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