Electronics and mechanics
Marianne Holmstrøm, R&D Manager and project owner at Data Respons R&D Services, confirms. She praises the DEFA team for its high level of ambition and for its will to both work closely together with the Data Respons team and to give its development partner the responsibility to develop the most optimal solutions.
– Such a project requires close collaboration between electronics and mechanics. In the first phase of the project, we’ve contributed to the electronics, while DEFA has worked with the mechanics. Afterwards we’ve worked together writing the high-level application code that lets the charger communicate with the backend systems it interacts with.
Security and performance
Security and high performance have been important parameters while developing DEFA Power. The charging station complies with all current standards for electronics safety and is secured against hacking, preventing unauthorized charging. Furthermore, it is designed to deliver its maximum charging capacity of 22 kW.
It is a well-known problem with many of the existing chargers on the market, that they derate in warm weather or in direct sunlight. When the outside temperature adds to the heat generated while charging, the charger automatically reduces the current to avoid overheating, thus charging at a lower speed.
DEFA wanted to eliminate that problem, so that the customer always would be able to charge at max capacity of 22 kW. DEFA’s engineers developed a thermic design ensuring that the charger could dispose of excess heat, even in direct sunlight on a hot day, for instance in Spain. Instead of encapsulating its electronics in plastic DEFA’s engineers chose to let the charger remain open in the back, to deflect heat away from the device.
This feature makes DEFA Power unique on the market and is an important element in DEFA’s plan to introduce the charger to markets outside Norway.
According to Ann Katrine Strømquist, DEFA starts with Finland, Sweden, and Norway, expanding from there to other European countries. The company has also set its sights on Australia and North America. These are huge markets with currently minimal EV penetration compared to Norway, which gives a state-of-the-art EV charging station a big market potential.
The collaboration between Data Respons R&D Services and DEFA has been defined by the very high ambitions DEFA has had for future proofing its new charging station. Consequently, the developers from Data Respons have made sure it complies with ISO 15118, an international standard defining the communication interface between vehicle and grid. It enables future use cases, like vehicle-to-grid, in which the EV’s battery is used for storing energy from solar power systems or wind turbines. In these use cases, the battery feeds energy back into the grid and as such becomes a part of the decentralized Smart Grid of the future, in which a large number of small energy sources and storage media interact, controlled by complex software.
The charger also runs the OCPP2.0.1 communication protocol enabling advanced monitoring and diagnostics, price optimization and automated access control between vehicle and charging station.
Focusing on software
Within software development the two partners have worked closely together – and are still doing so.
– Software controls the interaction between a group of chargers, when they are part of a larger installation at a shopping center or a residential area, Marianne Holmstrøm explains.
– Here Load Balancing becomes important, which means that the current available locally is distributed evenly between chargers. In this way you optimize the use of the local network. Load Balancing is an example of the technical logic a charger is part of. Other types of logic are access to billing systems and communication with the app that is connected to the charger.
– The Data Respons team has been tightly involved and we feel that we really have contributed to this project, both in electronics design and software. It has been a great collaboration, not least because DEFA has such a strong skillset within mechanics and software, and because they are very serious about designing robust and complex high-quality products.
Collaboration is a great advantage
Ann Katrine Strømquist elaborates:
– Data Respons R&D Services developed the basic functionality of the charger and gave us a platform we could build upon. To work together with them in this way has been a great advantage for us because it means we own the product entirely. That gives us complete control over all components, and thus a shorter route to the customer. That is essential for us.
DEFA Power was launched in April. Currently, Data Respons is contributing to additional software development related to the charger, and with helping DEFA Power comply with regulations in new markets, such as the UK and US, which have different types of electrical grid than the Nordics.