Charging Ahead: EV Charger Test Platform Project Sets Stage for Introduction of New Charging Solutions

The pressure to implement more sustainable energy solutions continues to spur the rapid momentum of the electric vehicle (EV) market across the globe – with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.02% and a market volume of US$858B worldwide by 2027.  

North America is expected to account for US$151.30B of this figure – driven by targets to reach zero emissions in Canada and the US by 2030 and 2050, respectively. And yet today, both countries lag behind China and Europe regarding EV adoption rates and the infrastructure required to support this fast-emerging sector. There is a risk of falling even further behind if significant changes and enhancements are not made to the region’s EV investment strategies. 

This looming challenge served as the catalyst for REMAP’s Electric Vehicle Charger Test Platform project – an exciting collaboration between:

  • Global electronics manufacturer Celestica – a leading provider of end-to-end product lifecycle solutions focused on continually expanding its capabilities and expertise to support a growing portfolio of Industrial and Smart Energy OEM customers;
  • EV charging OEM Wattpark – a European company seeking to introduce its innovative EV charging product ecosystem into the North American market; and, 
  • Toronto Metropolitan University’s (TMU) Centre for Urban Energy – a future-focused academic institution committed to partnering with industry to deliver new, sustainable and affordable energy solutions.  

Commencing in 2021, the EV Charger Test Platform project focuses on building EV charger specific functional test capability and the institutional knowledge required to support growing market demand – in North America and beyond.  Working together, this experienced team of industry and academic experts have spent the past two years conducting R&D activities aimed at producing new tools and insights to:

  • Provide visibility into international standards and requirements for compliance; 
  • Help EV charger OEMs quickly understand the near- and long-term performance characteristics of their products; and,
  • Enable the rapid launch of new EV charger product designs into the market. 

The EV Charger Test Platform will ultimately serve as a standard reference to support product optimization efforts, next-generation product release and field failure analysis, and eventually – in conjunction with environmental stress and accelerated life tools – enable a reliability program to support OEM product launch and certification activities.

While many companies are developing one-off solutions for their products, this project strives to create a very thorough and complete product launch solution that can be leveraged by a broader range of OEMs.  To achieve this, the project team has spent the last couple of years developing a thorough matrix outlining the major standards and requirements EV chargers must comply with in key geographies, and then designing and now building the platform. 

“By building a test platform for new products, based on a strong understanding of leading international standards such as ISO and UL, we are creating an effective new product launch tool for OEMs,” said Ed Stodola, Engineering Services Lead, Celestica.The goal is to ultimately accelerate the product launch process by reducing the time and effort required for EV charger companies to meet market demand in North America, and beyond.”

To date, the enthusiastic project team has completed the design specifications and schematics for the test platform, made important updates to the lab power infrastructure required to support the solution, and are in the process of building the platform. The next steps are for the Celestica and TMU teams to run validation testing on the platform leveraging Wattpark products; integrating aspects of reliability testing; creating a tester reference design to assist in the efficient development of production test solutions; and, of course, continually expanding these solutions to encompass new EV functionality.

Project team members from TMU and Celestica collaborate in TMU's Centre for Urban Energy Lab in Toronto

“The smart energy market is evolving, with developments in areas such as wireless charging, fast DC charging solutions and smart metering,” said Stodola. “The REMAP project has given us a strong baseline of expertise and capability we can quickly build on to help OEMs rapidly adapt to the innovations and requirements of tomorrow.” 
“As an engineer, it’s exciting to work on new and relevant growth technologies, while collaborating with other groups to advance our innovative solutions more effectively and efficiently,” he added. “It’s also very rewarding because we are producing something which helps meet the needs of the EV Charger market and Smart Energy customers like Wattpark and is also good for the planet.”

As highlighted in their recent video, Wattpark is enthusiastic about their involvement in the REMAP project as they believe it will help them to launch their products in North America successfully. 

“From Wattpark’s industry knowledge and products to Celestica’s test development and engineering heritage, to TMU’s incredible research strength and smart grid lab facilities, the successful development of the EV Charger Test Platform is the result of the project team’s combined expertise, synergies and mutual interest in driving clean and green energy solutions,”  said Loretta Renard, CEO, REMAP. “By leveraging their combined strengths and capabilities, I’m confident that this team’s efforts will help to accelerate the innovation and deployment of market-ready EV charging solutions in North America.”

Reference: https://www.statista.com/outlook/mmo/electric-vehicles/worldwide