Testing innovative solutions
ElaadNL tests the charging of all kinds of electric vehicles, from passenger cars to electric buses and trucks and the associated charging infrastructure. Testing in the ElaadNL Testlab is done in Arnhem, a meeting place for new models and innovations in the field of charging electric vehicles and research on the interaction with the underlying power grid.
Producers of electric cars, buses, trucks, and other forms of electric mobility, as well as of all matching charging infrastructure and ICT communication services, are welcome in our open test lab. Together we can improve products and services to enable a smooth transition to smart and sustainable charging of electric vehicles.
When testing in the Elaad Test Lab, we do six types of testing:
Would you like to have your own vehicle, charging station or battery tested in the Elaad Test Lab or would you like to add a charging station to our test setup? You can! Contact us using the form below and we will be happy to discuss the possibilities.
Can every vehicle charge without problems at every charging point? Or are there certain models that still have problems at certain types of charge points? Elaad aims to have all public charging points represented on its charging plaza so that vehicle manufacturers with new or adapted models can take a tour of the Netherlands with us.
We then test whether any modifications are needed or whether all combinations run smoothly. And where necessary, we look for solutions together with manufacturers. A software update, for example, is often sufficient. With all the new types of vehicles going electric, from buses to tractors to aircraft, and with the fact that developments in communication standards are underway, a very important fact.
Find out more about the importance of interoperability.
Charging electric vehicles can affect power quality. If the transformation required to convert alternating current (from the mains) to direct current (for the batteries in the vehicle) is not carried out exactly as it should be, disturbances occur which can affect the mains voltage.
Conversely, poor voltage quality can affect the charging of electric vehicles, because a disturbed voltage results in disturbed currents It is therefore important that the inverters do not generate too many disturbances, but are also immune to certain voltage disturbances. We test both of these aspects at Elaad’s Test Lab. In cooperation with various knowledge institutions, we also conduct the necessary research here into the specific impact of EVs charging on voltage quality and thus work on new standards and better voltage quality.
View more background on Power Quality testing.
This handout includes tests that the Elaad Test Lab can perform for you.
At the Elaad Test Lab, of course, we also test smart charging or smart charging. The essence of smart charging is that the car is plugged in but charging is controlled. So charging can be delayed, or stopped and then restarted. Charging can also be done at an adjusted (lower or higher) speed because there is much or little supply of locally generated sustainable electricity, to respond to energy prices or much or little space on the power grid in your neighborhood. Moreover, with the deployment of smart charging, more charging stations can be connected to the current power grid.
We are testing how charging stations, vehicles and smart home energy systems deal with these kinds of control signals. Can they follow them properly and quickly? Can the charging station or car easily start charging again after a period of not charging? And how low can the rate of charging (the power) go down before the car stops charging? In many cases, a software modification after the test can significantly improve performance in this area, should the test suggest it. In addition, more and more manufacturers are working on enabling bi-directional charging. This creates the possibility of having a vehicle not only charge, but also supply electricity to the household or power grid. Thus, for example, you can use your vehicle to store solar energy from your panels during the day, and have it delivered back to appliances in your home at night, such as a heat pump.
The 2019 climate agreement agreed to make smart charging the standard. Besides technology, this also looks at legislation and organization. Through various projects in the Netherlands, an initial foundation has been laid for smart charging and this will be scaled up nationally in the next few years. In addition, ElaadNL is coordinator of a European project for further international upscaling of smart charging.
More information on Smart Charging can be found on the related page.
Charging infrastructure is usually connected. This applies to all public poles, but also to home charging stations. For example, payment must be arranged through a back office system, or updating the software. The fact that the charging station is connected is very convenient because it also allows you to control charging.
But it also means that cybersecurity is crucial; you don’t want the charging of large numbers of electric vehicles to be hacked. Not only because that can be very annoying for consumers, who can’t charge and therefore can’t drive, but also because all those electric vehicles add up to a lot of power and if that can be misdirected, the power grid can be seriously disrupted. At ElaadNL we have worked with ENCS (European Network for Cybersecurity) to establish requirements that public and private charging stations must meet to create a secure charging infrastructure. We are testing the application of these at the Test Lab.
Find out more about the importance of cybersecurity.
In the chain tests (end to end tests) we test the interconnection and communication between devices throughout the chain: electric vehicle – charging point – systems of charging station operators and charging service providers. Or possibly in combination with a smart home energy system (home energy management system) – any other power consumers and providers within the local grid such as heat pumps and solar panels – and the underlying power grid. How does this coordination take place, and where do digital confusions arise, for example because existing standards and protocols are not exactly met? Or perhaps the language still needs to be developed?
New standards offer more possibilities, for example, new standards make it possible to communicate more relevant information around smart charging between vehicles and systems, direct authorization by simply plugging in (without passes / apps) and bi-directional charging. To do all this securely, security standards must be well established, but also ensure access for all market participants. Our thinking is that if all devices in the smart charging ecosystem can communicate with each other, optimal coordination can be achieved.
To ensure that such a chain functions optimally, we test whether the communication through chain runs properly (according to standards), whether the various systems actually allow communication with other systems and whether this exchanged information is used correctly. Optimal intercommunication is complex, but essential, so we test it in chain tests.
In public charging stations, just like residential houses, there is a meter box and a connection to the grid operator’s electricity grid. Only a charging station differs from a residential house; the space inside a charging station is naturally much more limited.
To ensure the safety and reliability of electricity grid, ElaadNL has developed connection specifications together with the grid operators. These lay down the grid operators’ requirements that public charging stations must meet before they can be connected to the electricity grid. For example, sufficient space so that the meter and fuses can be mounted and so that the mechanics can work properly.
In ElaadNL’s Testlab, the grid operators test all new charging stations against the connection specifications. This includes not only conventional charging stations but also new applications such as a charging lamp. ElaadNL coordinates these inspections by the joint network operators so that they apply directly to the entire Netherlands and the charging station can be installed and connected in every municipality.