It’s an exciting time to work in EVs. Consumer sales are up and commercial fleets are incorporating Electric vans and cars. To enable this, governments and companies are investing in charging infrastructure, but this energy revolution is not happening in isolation; it is in conjunction with national grids around the world shifting towards renewables. This increased demand in hand with unpredictable supply presents a number of challenges but also a number of opportunities.
It’s not just about finding the most convenient and cheapest time to charge, EVs are set to become an active part of an energy ecosystem linking energy generators, suppliers as well as consumers. But EVs can act as both consumer and supplier and can be called upon to help aid grid congestion and resolve local capacity issues, and in the future can actually provide energy back to the grid in times of the need.
We’re in a position today with existing technology and standards to enable intelligent charging, and also to relieve some of that grid constraint, referred to as the 1st Generation of Vehicle 2 Grid where charging is moved away from constraint periods. But how to we get to a V2G future, where the EV can give back to the grid when the situation demands it? What technologies and standards are in development to enable it?
ISO 15118 (Plug and Charge) & OCPP 2.0
If a Chargepoint is connected to Central Service to control it via the internet, chances are it’ll be using OCPP and many Chargepoints out there will use 1.6 version of the protocol. The standard is broken down into multiple profiles such as the Smart Charging and it’s what we use at Electric Miles to intelligently control your charging or do load management.
But there’s one piece missing to achieve full intelligence, and that’s an insight into the car’s current state of charge. This is currently possible through a patchwork of OEM APIs or data-based and UX workarounds.
The current connection between a ChargePoint and an EV is pretty dumb, like plugging in a kettle. ISO 15118, also known as Plug and Charge has a number of benefits. Currently, a Chargepoint and the Central Service can’t actually identify the EV that is currently plugged in. We can know to schedule a charge for 2am, and we know that a car is plugged in, we can’t easily know it’s actually the car we’re expecting. We can make good assumptions using existing methods, but ISO 15118 will provide an authentication layer between Chargepoint and EV to actually prove it.
Once that communication is established, it can also provide data communication services as well as electricity; for example it will provide a route for the EV to report its current state of charge back to the Chargepoint.
In isolation, this standard will help provide more intelligence to a local charging solution, but what if you want to take advantage of V1G by connecting to a flexibility enabled service like Electric Miles, or even V2G as that becomes more established in the future? Or what if you’re a fleet managing charging across a number of locations and EVs?
OCPP 2.0 will enable the reporting of all of this data from Chargepoint back to Central System, meaning we get a live state of charge, whether there’s an OEM API or not and we can make fine-grained decisions on charging based on any number of inputs such as pricing, flexibility, grid carbon generation and a driver’s schedule; such as our patented technology of using multiple connected calendars.
Smart Appliances – Demand Side Response
Now that EVs are an end-to-end integrated part of the grid, and can take part in flexibility services, how do we ensure that they can do so in an interoperable way? For this to be successful, we will need common standards no matter who my local energy provider is.
They define an “energy smart appliance” or ESA a communications-enabled device able to respond automatically to price and/or other signals by modulating or shifting its electricity consumption. And the standards broadly cover 4 areas:
- Grid stability
- Cyber security
- Data privacy
PAS 1879 is ‘a common definition of demand side response (DSR) services for actors operating within the consumer energy supply chain’. It is to be used by organisations with responsibilities for operating a DSR service.
PAS 1878 is a classification for ESAs. It ‘specifies requirements and criteria that a device needs to meet in order to perform and be classified as an ESA’.
So a DSO could provide compliant services so OEMs can build EVs certified to work with them. Also, as a consumer you know your data is protected and private. This should enable customer confidence in deploying flexibility services, which will enable not just EV ownership going mainstream, but could help build a grid that’s flexible and responsive to the renewable generation.
It’s an exciting time to be involved at the intersections of these two revolutions, and whilst at Electric Miles we work hard to solve the pain points, it’s nice to know we’re getting an increasing number of standards and technologies to help us.
At Electric Miles, not only do we provide a full featured Smart Charging service for EV Owners that ensure that you always have enough charge in your vehicle and at the lowest possible price, but we’ve also secured 8 megawatts of Demand Side Response Energy Flexibility using EVs. We’re going to start trials in 2021, offering EV owners in certain congested postcodes the opportunity to participate in a V2G test using our platform. This means our platform won’t just benefit our customers with lower electricity costs, but also help the National Grid and the environment.
If you’re an EV driver wanting to try Electric Miles, or if you’re a Chargepoint manufacturer looking to get started with V2G, then visit our website.
If you’d like to be help us build the platform, check out our careers page.