The Charging Interface Initiative (CharIN), a non-profit standards association with over 300 global members, conducts an annual “Testival” at which vehicle OEMs and EVSE providers test the compatibility between specific EVs and charging stations. CharIN describes the event as “speed dating” for vehicles and chargers.
The 2023 Testival North America, a three-day event hosted by Lincoln Electric in Cleveland, Ohio, brought together over 300 engineers and execs from 17 automakers, including Tesla, Ford, Lucid, Mercedes, Rivian and Volkswagen, and 18 EVSE providers, including ABB, EVgo, IoTecha, Rectifier Technologies and Zerova.
CharIN Testivals aim to replicate real-world scenarios customers face when charging. Challenges include “smart” or optimized charging; bidirectional power transfer; security, encryption, and authentication of transactions; and safety, including plug locking mechanisms. At the Testival, staged interoperability tests allow OEMs and suppliers to witness how their technology performs in order to prevent driver frustration. The tests analyze communication protocols, data exchange and the performance of charging sessions.
Technologies tested at the latest Testival included the Plug & Charge protocol; the proposed SAE J3400 standard for Tesla’s NACS charging plug; standard EV charging error codes recently proposed by the ChargeX consortium; and new cybersecurity protocols developed by a CharIN working group.
“It’s important to verify that EV charging equipment is compatible and using open standards so that any consumer can use it safely, reliably and affordably,” said Erika Myers, Executive Director of CharIN North America. “Events like the Testival are incredibly important to ensure that the equipment we’re putting out into the field will work as intended, so every EV driver has a flawless charging experience.”
The next Testivals will be held in January in Arnhem, the Netherlands, and in April in Ansan-si, Korea.