Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


INCH Report Summary

Project ID: 699111

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INCH (INteractive CHarging)

Reporting period: 2015-10-01 to 2016-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

During its charging, electric vehicle (EV) is usually by far the largest consumer in the household or even in a small business or residential building. Uncontrolled charging without consideration of external conditions (such as capacity of internal building’s network, and operation of other consumers and local generation units connected to the same network) may have negative consequences on the safety building’s network operation. Uncontrolled charging may also result in unnecessary expenses needed for upgrade of building’s connection with the public grid, in less than optimal use of locally produced energy, and in increased costs for energy due to charging during the periods of high energy delivery tariffs. Such consequences of uncontrolled charging can strongly discourage end users from buying an electric vehicle.
Charging of EVs, especially in areas with a high EV share, may cause operational problems also in the public electrical grid. Several EVs charging at the same time in the same local load area may result in deteriorated operation conditions of the public grid. With increased number of EVs this problem will escalate and the control of EV charging according to the needs and requirements of public grid operators will become inevitable.
The overall objective of the INCH project is to alleviate the stated problems and enable charging of an in-creasing number of EVs in a smart, safe, and sustainable manner. The specific objective of the INCH project is to introduce a new price-performance optimized low-voltage AC charger for charging of electric vehicles at homes, offices, and car parks.
The new product shall bring down the cost of implementation of smart charging infrastructure where it matters the most (more than 90 % of charging takes place at home or at work). At the same time, it shall bring the operation of internal network of the building, where it is connected, to a new level by ensuring a safe and cost effective operation and by allowing use of a higher share of locally produced low-carbon electricity. In addition, the product’s capability to communicate with external systems shall allow each and every connected car to adjust its charging load profile to the needs of the energy grid and market.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first 12 months of the project the activities were focused on development of the technical solution that would enable achievement of project specific and overall goals. A detailed system architecture was defined which contains actors and components involved directly in charging (electric vehicle, electric vehicle user, charger), local actors and components (building owner, Load guard device for monitoring of building’s internal network, Building Energy Management System, local generation units), and external actors that communicate with the charging system (Charge Point Operator, Distribution Grid Operator, Energy Supplier).
A new charger’s motherboard, which supports several different configurations, was designed. Due to its modular structure, it allows to equip the chargers with main control units with different processing capability adapted to the functionalities required by each individual user. The modularity also enables adapting the charger’s communication physical interfaces (Ethernet, Wi-Fi, PLC, or GSM) to the communication system already implemented at site. The newly developed charger’s casing is characterized by low weight and durability in all operating environments. Functional improvements enable easy installation and maintenance works, bringing additional savings to the end customer.
The power management algorithms, implemented in the charger, use information from charging sessions, from electric vehicle users (user’s charging preferences related to delivery of required energy during the time available for charging) and from the Load guard device that monitors the building’s internal network. The algorithms control the charging load to achieve different goals: prevention of overload of internal network that could result in interruption of power supply to the building, charging cost optimization by shifting the charging load to the periods of low energy delivery tariffs, maximization of consumption of locally produced energy, and distribution of total charging load to several chargers installed at the same location by strict consideration of individual users’ charging preferences. In addition, the charging system is capable to communicate with grid and energy market actors (grid operators, energy suppliers) in order to adapt the charging load patterns to their needs.
The charger’s physical user interface enables the user to enter the necessary information needed for management of charging load. It enables implementation of functionalities required for public charging scenario, such as provision of information about charging price, support for different identification methods, and on-screen advertising. Instructions for use and information about charging are presented to the user in a simple and self-explanatory way.
The charging system’s web interface is used for administration of the charging system. Additionally, it al-lows the user to supervise the operation of the system and to monitor the efficiency of power management algorithms in terms of charging costs and satisfaction of users’ charging preferences.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The improvements achieved by the project are reflected in reduced total ownership costs of charging infrastructure. The charger’s design results in reduced manufacturing, installation, and maintenance costs. Power management options enable to limit the load of grid connection point to the predefined value and thus to avoid additional costs for upgrade of connection of building’s network to the public grid. Flexible communication options allow to adapt the charger’s physical interfaces to existing situation at each installation site and thus to reduce the costs for implementation of the charging system.
Safety in operation of grid user’s internal network is achieved by execution of power management safety algorithms that schedule the EV charging load so that the building’s grid connection point is not over-loaded. The charging cost optimization algorithms shift, when possible and upon user’s demand, the de-livery of energy for charging to periods with lower energy delivery tariffs and with higher production from local energy sources.
Connection of charging system with control systems of grid and energy market actors (grid operator and energy supplier) enables incorporation of charging into demand side management schemes that improve the operation conditions of public grid and contribute to energy balancing of energy market actors. Connection with actors in broader electromobility ecosystem allows implementation of possible business cases related to provision of services, which result in additional benefits for the grid user.
The INCH charging system goes far beyond achieving its primary goal: charging of electric vehicle’s battery. INCH charger is an enabler for implementation of complex charging configurations, which connect one or more chargers into a charging cluster and further with other local and remote actors. In this way, the results of the INCH project also present an enabling technology for integration of EV charging into smart grids and for the provision of new services in electromobility.
The overall impact of the INCH project will be reflected in wider acceptance of electromobility by removing some deficiencies of presently implemented charging systems and by offering the users a cost effective installation and use of charging system. Together with incorporation of electric vehicle charging into smart grid systems, the INCH project will allow to increase the number and use of electric vehicles by charging them in a smart manner, which is the only way to optimize energy use in transport and reduce related greenhouse gas emissions.

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