An expanded testing facility making use of innovative carbon management technology has been opened by BSI to boost the UK’s network of Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers and provide greater confidence to drivers hoping to switch towards a sustainable alternative. The new facility has been designed to reuse energy, meaning testing chargers minimizes carbon contribution as far as possible, further supporting BSI’s commitment to reach net zero in its operations by 2030, requiring a 90% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
The EV Testing Rig in Loughborough has been opened by BSI, the business standards and improvement company, and represents a major capacity increase for the EV sector, with the potential to benefit society by enabling people to switch to EVs and lower emissions from petrol cars. It follows ongoing concern that supply of charging points is not keeping up with demand; even with a 70% rise in public charge-points for electric vehicles over the past year, the UK is still only ranked sixth in the EV Country Attractiveness Index.
The upgraded facility is designed to validate the safety related performance, interoperability and reliability of EV supply equipment (EVSE), all of which are crucial for the successful mass implementation of these devices and ultimately the mass adoption of EVs.
It will provide clients with even more services in a most cost effective and sustainable way. In particular, it will enable BSI to test larger DC chargers, also known as “Rapid” or “Ultra Rapid” chargers, which are frequently found in public charging stations and offer speedier charging thanks to a higher charging rate and thus a lower charging time. For example, an average 50kW DC charger can charge a battery to 80% capacity in as little as 20 minutes, compared with 8 hours needed for a 7kW fastcharger. BSI’s lab was already equipped to test AC chargers (both those used in commercial stations and private homes).
The new system can also offer environmental benefits because it is based on an innovative regenerative system. Running a 50 kW charger for an hour uses as much electricity as an average UK household would use in five days, however under BSI’s innovative technology, the electrical energy used for testing is not wasted. Instead around 96% is regenerated back onto the grid, meaning the energy used for testing is proportionate only to a full load in an average 9kg tumble dryer.
The upgraded lab and enhanced capacity it offers means dozens more EV chargers (either prototypes or samples) can now be tested by BSI every year, reducing time to market. It follows BSI achieving accreditation from UKAS for its EV charger testing and certification labs in 2022, reaffirming BSI’s position as the leading specialist in this field, and providing an independent mark of trust for consumers on the safety and quality of EV chargers.
Graham McKay, Global Head of Energy Products at BSI, said: “This is an exciting step forward in the journey towards an Electric Vehicle future. The new lab is designed to support the roll out of even more EV chargers, which can ultimately boost the confidence of drivers looking to switch to a sustainable alternative.
“As the only UKAS accredited lab for EV charger testing, as well as being a CB test lab for EV chargers, BSI is proud to be playing a part in the acceleration of the EV sector, encouraging a greater uptake of electric vehicles, helping to drive the transition to a net-zero economy and ultimately accelerating progress towards a sustainable world.”
The EV simulator rig allows for the for conformance and interoperability testing of EV supply equipment (EVSE) charging interfaces according to international standard for electric vehicle conductive charging systems (IEC 61851-1) and the standard for DC chargers (IEC 61851-23).
As the UK looks to establish a more competitive and trusted EV charging network, the reassurance of the safety, reliability, performance and quality of EV chargers is of the utmost importance.
With 64,559 new plug-in cars registered in March 2023 alone, representing a record 17% rise year-on-year), scaling up the availability of convenient and effective charging networks in a safe and reliable way can bring significant benefits.
BSI has a number of offerings in the EV charger space including product safety and performance testing, IECEE CB Certificates for those looking to export, a new specification on accessible public charge points (PAS 1899:2022) and a Kitemark for Electric Vehicle Charging, which supports market assurance amidst the rapid expansion and technological advancement in electric vehicles and their associated systems. This Kitemark complements BSI’s existing Electric Vehicles Charging standards (for example, BS EN 61851 series).