With many different brands and quality of cables available to installers, the team at BASEC tell us more about why approved electric vehicle cables are vital for smart charging infrastructures.
As demand for electric vehicles and charging systems becomes ever greater, safeguarding the longevity of the cable is vital to ensuring safety once installed. The imminent surge in demand for electrified systems requires high quality cable products that can perform efficiently to satisfy operating demands.
Charging cable specific impacts
EV cables themselves can be impacted by several factors, including installation, component failure, weather conditions, and even user damage. These are key challenges to ensuring that the cable products installed are safe and efficient for long term use within their infrastructure and can function as expected within demanding conditions. Testing and certification of cable products is vital to minimising the risk of failure, resulting from the above factors. Worldwide, there are two standards in existence in relation to EV charging cables, which work to reduce risk to safety.
Within Europe, EN 50620 is most prevalent and specifies design, dimension, and test requirements for halogen-free cables with voltage ratings up to 450/470 V. From a broad international perspective, the IEC 62893 series exists, which is comprised of several different parts and also specifies the construction, dimensions, and test requirements of EV charging cables. Independent, third party testing and approval bodies, such as BASEC, undertake rigorous checks to assess an EV charging cable product’s ability to meet the requirements of safety and quality in line with the standards.
Smart connection integration of charging units
Smart charging systems are a relatively new technology developed to maximise efficiency within electric vehicle charging units. Commonly referred to as ‘intelligent charging’, they include a data connection which is shared between an electric vehicle and a charging device, allowing them to communicate with each other and the wider systems. The smart system provides the charging station owner the ability to closely manage how much energy to input into the EV. This helps to optimise energy consumption, ensuring the grid isn’t overloaded at peak times.
Safe, reliable cables that have gained third party approval are vital to installed smart charging systems, confirming they’re powered by high quality products. The use of substandard cables can lead to electric current loading, based on the power output of the EV device or overall load requirements, and higher levels of conductor resistance. Generating excess heat can lead to problems, accelerating the deterioration of cables and impacting the EV system’s ability to perform efficiently.
EV charging point accessibility
The accessibility of EV charging infrastructures on a nationwide scale is one of the biggest challenges the industry currently faces. As such, there is a huge risk of cable products entering the market that haven’t been properly approved. Cables that have gained independent, third party approval are able to prove that it performs sufficiently. This in turn helps to provide confidence to specifiers and installers that the cable has met the relevant quality, safety and performance requirements and that the claims of conformity made about a cable product, by the manufacturer, are valid.
Considerations for EV charging infrastructures
Rapid developments around the globe are underway to launch new technologies in support of the widespread implementation of EVs and their charging infrastructures. Power is being generated in new and sustainable ways to reduce impact on the environment. Smart technologies are also being integrated, as they allow devices and multiple data systems to communicate with each other. Offering greater control over the transfer of power and maximising renewable energy generation efficiency, there are many benefits to smart monitoring, such as avoiding peak charging times and minimising charging costs.
To safeguard the implementation of EV charging infrastructures it’s crucial that cables are thoroughly tested for quality and safety, whilst also ensuring they’ll be reliable and efficient once in operation. Comprehensive testing as part of an EV certification programme is designed to assess pressure, heat shock, ultraviolet resistance, water immersion, and flame retardance. Each of these factors are closely monitored to determine a cable product’s performance under different circumstances, and in turn minimising the risks to those installing and using the cables in the end charging application.
Driving safe cabling practices
With rapid growth of the EV market imminent, it’s crucially important that government groups and industry professionals drive the adoption of safe cabling practices in line with the standards. Safe, reliable and interoperability of electric charging points should be a key priority, as should operational consistency, which is possible via rigorous testing programmes. Cable products are an integral component of the smart charging system. Specification of BASEC approved cables enables you to safeguard the charging network infrastructures for the future.
Watch a video demonstration of BASEC’s EV cable testing process by clicking here