Blog

The 2019 Regen V2G Forum

I was up in London yesterday to attend the Regen “Electric vehicles and electricity system forum” on “Vehicle to Grid”. Not wanting to miss all of the excitement Kasia and Jim managed to make it to the “Networking and refreshments” afterwards as well. The 10th floor offices of our hosts for the afternoon, Burges Salmon, offered a spectacular view over the City of London:

The event was introduced by Olly Frankland, Regen’s EV project manager, who opened his remarks by berating me for taking this candid snap of the panellists, plus one or two others!

Next up at the lectern was Ross Fairley from Burges Salmon, followed by Chris Cox from Cenex, one of whose slides offered this “History of V2G”:

Note that one of Chris’s significant events is the launch of the “Nissan LEAF-to-home Unit” in 2012. I covered that news over on my V2G UK blog, and opined:

Nissan’s press release concludes by saying:

Nissan and Nichicon will continue to work together to create new value in EVs as part of the way forward toward the realization of a zero-emission society.

although they don’t forecast when such a society will be realized!

One question I had was subsequently addressed in the panel session. Olly asked the assembled experts “How many vehicle-to-grid capable EV charging stations are there in the UK at the moment, and how many will there be in 5 years time?”

The consensus amongst the panel members seemed to be:

  • 2019: 150-200
  • 2024: 5,000

A subject very dear to my heart was also discussed at some length by the panel, and what is more I wasn’t the one who posed the question! What are the pros and cons of AC versus DC vehicle-to-grid technologies, alternatively known in US English as “Vehicle Grid Integration” (VGI for short)?

A slide that wasn’t in Olly or Chris’s deck is an infographic Kasia produced for my visit to Newcastle University last year for the International Energy Agency’s Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Technology Collaboration Programme V2x Experts’ Workshop, which I attended in my capacity as a member of assorted international “smart grid” standards setting committees. In the electric vehicle context notably ISO 15118 and IEC 63110:

Infographic: Kasia Turajczyk

That block diagram is obviously over simplified but hopefully makes it plain that an AC V2x charging station doesn’t include the bank of expensive “bi-directional inverters” required by a DC charger. Which does of course make AC charging stations much less expensive than the DC variety.

Hopefully that is if some help? The Regen V2G panel certainly seem to have been persuaded by that argument. Previously James Morgan who is a senior policy advisor in the Energy Team at the Office for Low Emission Vehicles had said he was attending the event with the aim of listening more than talking. He will have received the message that AC V2G is the future, and that in Europe at the very least, DC V2G via CHAdeMO is history.

In such circumstances I felt it was my loyal duty to HM Government to point out that (to the best of my knowledge) the UK’s first dual port bi-directional AC V2G capable charging post is installed in the V2G EVSE car park way down here in North Cornwall:

200 + 120 + 1  = ??k

For further information on our clever Cornish charging post please watch this video recording of a recent “We Drive Solar” AC V2G webinar until the bitter end:

Marc Mültin’s ISO 15118 “grid codes FAQ” that I refer to at 52:00 in the video can be found over on LinkedIn.

AC Vehicle-to-Grid Technology Arrives in the United Kingdom

Here is the moment that Robin Berg of “We Drive Solar” announced to Robert Llewellyn and the huge crowd attending the V2G panel session at Fully Charged Live 2109 that the first ISO 15118 compliant AC V2G charging station had already arrived in Great Britain:

A little later Robin and I exchanged a ceremonial handshake in the muddy field that passes for a car park at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire:

Having transferred the charging station from the back of Robin’s Tesla Model S into the rear of our humble Honda Jazz, it has now made its way safely to the courtyard here at V2G Towers in (currently!) sunny SilicInny Valley near Camelford in North Cornwall:

The next step is to provide it with some power!

T-Mobile Rolls Out NB-IoT Across Poland

We’re currently in Poland for the festive season. Having seen the press releases about T-Mobile’s NB-IoT Open Lab and trials in Poland we brought along some of our NB-IoT gear on the off chance of being able to test T-Mobile’s offering at some point on our trials. We got far more than we bargained for! As far as I can tell there has been no press release to this effect as yet, but Miko from T-Mobile Polska took time out from his vacation to tell us that:

You can now find our NB1 service in 400 cities in Poland.

Warsawa, Radom and Łódź are OK.

Since we’re currently based in the Bałuty area of Łódź we thought we’d conduct a little experiment, using a T-Mobile NB-IoT SIM card from the Netherlands in our SODAQ Mbili Arduino compatible board, also from the Netherlands:

As you can hopefully see we’ve plugged in a u-blox Sara N211 NB-IoT comms module, and here is what we’ve discovered:

So near and yet so far! It looks as though we’ll have to wait for some pukka Polish T-Mobile NB-IoT SIMs to arrive in the post.

Meanwhile here’s T-Mobile’s Polish language video about their NB-IoT rollout across the globe, with a particular emphasis on Poland:

Narrowband-IoT is a breakthrough technology for solutions to the Internet of Things. It has been designed for two-way transmission of small amounts of data between devices. Watch the video and learn about specific application examples. Find out how you can reduce costs with this technology.

Open Charge Alliance Enhances OCPP 1.6 Security

The Open Charge Alliance announced today that they have published a new security white paper. According to the news release:

Secure communication and operation is a critical aspect of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure. In the latest release of OCPP version 2.0 security features such as secure connection setup, security events/logging and secure firmware update, have been added to the specification. For OCPP 1.6 however, the security measures have up until now been designed by individual implementers of OCPP. To further assist the industry the Open Charge Alliance now publishes a white paper to describe a standard way to address security using OCPP 1.6-J. Security requirements are included, on security measures for both Charge Point and Central System, to help developers build a secure OCPP implementation.

This white paper contains the following security enhancements:

  • Secure connection setup
  • Security events/logging
  • Secure firmware update

The OCPP 1.6 Security Whitepaper is also added to the OCPP 1.6 zip file that can be found on the download page of the OCA website.

I’m travelling at the moment, and haven’t had a chance to look through the document in detail. However it certainly sounds as though the OCA has ported the new security features in Open Charge Point Protocol 2.0 back into version 1.6. They are perhaps long overdue, since only a few days ago Kaspersky Lab revealed that “electric vehicle chargers supplied by a major vendor carry vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber-attackers” had just been patched.

Watch this space!

UK Government Funded Home EV Chargepoints Must Be “Smart” By July 2019

The UK Government announced earlier today that:

All government funded home chargepoints for electric vehicles must use innovative ‘smart’ technology from July 2019, the government announced today, fulfilling the commitment in the Road to Zero Strategy published earlier this year.

This means chargepoints must be able to be remotely accessed, and capable of receiving, interpreting and reacting to a signal. Smart charging can also reduce high peaks of electricity demands, minimising the cost of electric vehicles to the electricity system – and keeping costs down for consumers by encouraging off-peak charging.

Alongside this the government has also announced that they have maintained grants to install chargepoints at home and in the workplace at their current level of up to £500, making charging easier for consumers and ensuring that plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles can be used to their full potential.

Any “domestic” electric vehicle charging station manufacturers who feel they may be unable to meet the UK Government deadline using their in house resources may wish to contact the team here at V2G EVSE to obtain more information about our UK Department for Transport funded “smart” international standards compliant EVSE controller, particularly if vehicle-to-grid functionality is also of potential interest.

A picture is said to be worth a thousand words, so here’s what our proof of concept smart controller looks like:

Vulnerabilities in Connected EV Chargers Could Damage Home Networks?

Yesterday cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab published a press release which claims that:

Kaspersky Lab experts have discovered that electric vehicle chargers supplied by a major vendor carry vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber-attackers, and the consequences of a successful attack could include damage to the home electricity network. While modern electric vehicles are tested constantly for vulnerabilities, this research reveals that some of their essential accessories, such as battery chargers, may remain at risk.

For more information on the electric vehicle charger vulnerabilities discovered by Kaspersky Lab, read the full report on Securelist.com.

The “major vendor” referred to is not identified in the press release, but the full report on Securelist reveals that ChargePoint, Inc. is the company in question.

Kaspersky continue:

The researchers found a way to initiate commands on the charger, to either stop the charging processor or set it to the maximum current possible. While the first option would only prevent a person from using the car, the second one could potentially cause the wires to overheat on a device that is not protected by a trip fuse. If compromised, the connected charger could therefore cause a power overload that would take down the network to which it was connected. This could result in significant financial impact and, in the worst-case scenario, damage to other devices connected to the network.

To change the amount of electricity being consumed, all that an attacker would need to do is obtain access to the Wi-Fi network that the charger is connected to. Since the devices are designed for home users, security for the wireless network is likely to be limited. This means that attackers could easily gain access, for example, by bruteforcing all possible password options – a common method of attack. According to Kaspersky Lab statistics, 94 percent of attacks on IoT in 2018 came from Telnet and SSH password bruteforcing. Once inside the wireless network, the intruders can easily find the charger’s IP address, which, in turn, will allow them to exploit any vulnerabilities and disrupt operations.

All the vulnerabilities discovered by Kaspersky Lab researchers were reported to the vendor and have now been patched.

The final paragraph is a relief, but here are Kaspersky Lab’s suggestions for avoiding similar problems in the future:

To protect your smart devices, including electric vehicle accessories:

  1. Regularly update all your smart devices to the latest software versions. Updates may contain patches for critical vulnerabilities, which, if left unpatched, could give cybercriminals access to your home and private life.
  2. Do not use the default password for Wi-Fi routers and other devices. Immediately after install, change it to a strong password, and do not use the same password for several devices.
  3. It is recommended to isolate the smart home network from the network used by your or your family’s personal devices for basic internet searching. This is to ensure that if a device is compromised with malware, your smart home system will not be affected.

V2G EVSE ISOSEC Project Attracts OLEV Funding

Tremail – 26 October 2018

For immediate release

  • V2G EVSE secures OLEV funding to assess the feasibility of combining their V2x ready smart EV charging station controller with the Urban Electric UEone pop-up charger
  • ISOSEC (Inconspicuous Smart On-Street EV Charging) is a £114,000 project with Urban Electric Ltd, Plymouth City Council, Energeo Ltd, Duku and Urban Foresight Ltd

V2G EVSE Limited’s “Inconspicuous Smart On-Street EV Charging” (ISOSEC) project is part of the “Electric vehicle charging for public spaces: feasibility” competition, funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and administered by Innovate UK.

As a first phase of an innovation funding programme worth approximately £40 million, 27 feasibility studies will analyse the application and impact of innovative technologies for EV charging.

In particular, 18 feasibility studies will focus on how a well designed, well integrated EV charging infrastructure in public spaces can help facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) among local residents without access to home charging due to a lack of off-street parking.

9 feasibility studies will instead focus on the application of Wireless EV charging to commercial users, reducing business disruptions when charging the vehicles and therefore increasing the attractiveness of the EV proposition.

These projects will assess the feasibility of defining sustainable models intended to maximise the effectiveness and impact of infrastructure deployment. The wide variety of technologies and business models analysed in these studies will help implement a charging infrastructure that is affordable, dependable, and fair for all road users, as well as making owning an EV an attractive proposition for all.

In a subsequent phase of the funding round, the best projects will be competing for funding for implementation of real-world demonstrators.

The ISOSEC project will investigate the feasibility of combining Urban Electric Limited‘s UEone pop-up (retractable) charging post with V2G EVSE’s standards-compliant V2x-ready smart charging station controller.

This system builds on the Urban Electric UEone charger being trialled with Oxford City Council, and develops it into a smart charging solution.

The project will also assess the feasibility of using big data and geographical information systems to locate EV charge posts where they can maximise their potential to deliver grid services to DNOs together with creating a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) funding model to:

  • Enable the roll-out of charging posts at no-or-low cost to local authorities
  • Generate revenue for the local authority over the lifetime of the SPV

The other collaborators on the ISOSEC project are:

Commenting on the award of the OLEV funding Olivier Freeling-Wilkinson, cofounder of Urban Electric, said that:

Urban Electric is focused on developing charging infrastructure that does not detract from the urban environment. We are excited to be collaborating with our consortium partners to explore the feasibility of developing the UEone pop-up charger as a smart charging solution.

 

V2G EVSE’s CEO Jim Hunt added:

It was a great pleasure to work with Keith and Oli on the preparation of our bid over a comparatively short period of time. We have a great team of collaborators, and I very much look forward to working with them all on assessing the feasibility of both our innovative on street charging business model and the potential for integrating our smart charging station controller into the UEone EV charging post.

 

Ian Dee, CEO of energeo remarked that:

Energeo are delighted to be part of project ISOSEC, which aims to address some of the key issues around EV infrastructure roll-out in complex urban environments. We’re particularly excited to assess the role geospatial big data and analytics can play in locating charging infrastructure to maximise utilisation and support the delivery of grid services.

 

Dan Turner, Low Carbon City Officer for Plymouth City Council, pointed out that:

Plymouth City Council are committed to further developing EV infrastructure in both public spaces and on street charging. We are excited to be collaborating with such innovative partners to assess the feasibility of installing pop-up chargers and we hope that this work can lead to the development of an on street charging business model in order to help Plymouth become a more sustainable place to live.

 

Paul Blakeman, Head of Innovation at Urban Foresight, commented:

Urban Foresight is a smart cities consultancy focused on helping cities to procure innovation, manage innovation pilots and deliver smart city programmes. We are excited to be collaborating with this group of consortium partners to assess how smart charging can be implemented to support EVs in Plymouth.

** END **

About V2G EVSE

V2G EVSE Limited is a British electric vehicle charging startup based in North Cornwall. In March 2018 the company began development of a Vehicle-to-Grid controller with modular communications using seed funding provided by a Department for Transport T-TRIG grant. Jim Hunt, V2G EVSE’s CEO, sits on a number of British and international smart-grid and electric vehicle standards setting committees. The V2G EVSE controller firmware will incorporate those emerging standards as they develop.

V2G-EVSE.com. Contact: email hidden; JavaScript is required

 

About Urban Electric

Urban Electric Networks Ltd is a British electric vehicle charging startup formed in London in June 2017 by Olivier Freeling-Wilkinson and Keith Johnston in the belief that EV charging infrastructure should impact positively on urban streetscapes. Voted Top 30 European Cleantech Start-up 2018 by Climate-KIC, the EU’s climate innovation agency.

urbanelectric.london. Contact: email hidden; JavaScript is required

 

About Energeo

Energeo utilise geospatial Big Data, Open Data, and Machine Learning to create unique insights into existing energy performance and future potential for renewable and sustainable energy. The company is currently using those techniques to pilot methods to identify the optimum location for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

energeo.co.uk. Contact: email hidden; JavaScript is required

 

Plymouth City Council

plymouth.gov.uk. Contact: email hidden; JavaScript is required

 

About Duku (Albright Product Design)

Duku is a Product Design consultancy that provide help in taking an idea through to production including; prototyping, intellectual property and manufacturing support. Duku are currently working with Urban Electric on projects supported by Innovate UK to develop the UK’s EV charging infrastructure.

Duku.co.uk. Contact: email hidden; JavaScript is required

 

About Urban Foresight

Urban Foresight® was established in 2011 as the world’s first dedicated smart city consultancy. We are a mission driven business that thinks deeply about the opportunities to transform services and solve societal challenges.

Our multi-disciplinary team works across different sectors and is skilled at translating ideas into action.

We write award winning reports, provide evidence-based insights and deliver investment-ready strategies.

urbanforesight.org. Contact: email hidden; JavaScript is required

What Are The Top IoT Platform Requirements?

Our regular readers will be aware that we have been discussing our Internet of Things platform requirements with Digi International for quite some time now. At long last Digi have revealed what they see as their top 5 IoT requirements. Brad Cole, Digi’s Enterprise Software Product Manager, explains their view of such things in this newly released video:

I don’t know about you, but I quite like the sound of this bit:

It should provide a central aggregation service to which all remote gateways and devices attach, and it should do so securely with automated detection and self healing. Devices then utilise a secure integration protocol to send and retrieve data in a variety of ways.

What should you be looking for in an IoT platform? What are the top 5 “must have” requirements? First and foremost, security is key!

With all that in mind we’ve had one of Digi’s new XBee3 Cellular LTE-M/NB-IoT Global modules in our possession since before they announced it. However here in the UK LTE-M is conspicuous only by it’s absence, so we’ve been anxiously awaiting Digi’s promised “certification of Digi XBee3 Cellular NB-IoT in October 2018”. It’s still September and Digi haven’t issued another press release yet, but nevertheless we have already managed to upgrade our XBee3 module to firmware revision C. According to the accompanying release notes:

### Release Version

1140C – XBee3 Cellular LTE-M/NB-IoT Global

### Release Date

  • September 2018

### New Features:

  • NB-IoT Support
  • Support for European and U.S. Carriers.
  • Important: Conditionally approved for use on T-Mobile NB-IoT network for evaluation and development purposes. Full certification will be completed with an upcoming cellular component firmware update (SARA-R410M-03B).
  • Added new option 1 to CP command for network configuration.
  • Added new commands BM, BN to select band mask.
  • Added new command N# to select network preference.

For some strange reason Digi neglected to mention the “upcoming cellular component firmware update” back in August. However it does sound as though their new module is now fully certified for use on Vodafone’s NB-IoT network. Digi have also just updated their XBee3 Cellular LTE-M/NB-IoT Global module specification sheet, which now reads as follows:

  • OPERATING MODES (LTE-M) Transparent and API over serial, PPP over USB or serial
  • OPERATING MODES (NB-IoT) Transparent, API, UDP

Digi’s technical support team assure me that:

Currently the updated U-Blox code is not scheduled to be certified till around Q2 of 2019.

Better late than never I guess? They have also clarified the issues involved in updating the u-blox SARA R410M module firmware once rev 3B is eventually issued:

You will not be able to perform the firmware update via the old XBIB-U-DEV board you have. It will require the use of a new board that is still in development which will provide USB direct access to that U-Blox chip.

When the new board is released, you will have access to the USB direct pins. One will place the module in USB direct mode which also puts it in bypass mode. If you are using Linux, your Linux modem manager or other options will be able to talk directly to the U-Blox chip.

Personally I cannot wait for that glorious day, because that will allow me to tick one more of the boxes on V2G EVSE’s checklist of top IoT platform requirements. To summarise, here are the top 6 entries on our current IoT platform leaderboard:

  1. LTE-M and NB-IoT global certifications
  2. Security
  3. Reliability
  4. Scalability
  5. Flexibility
  6. Simplicity

Cornwall New Energy Electric Vehicles Seminar

We’ll be attending the Cornwall New Energy electric vehicles seminar which takes place on the morning of September 18th at the Royal Cornwall Showground just outside Wadebridge, right here in North Cornwall!

Not only that, but also we’ll have a stand as part of the associated “supplier fair”. The proof of concept of our new V2x enabled standards compliant electric vehicle charging station controller will be on display:

V2G-EVSE-Controller

If you’re a small business owner then please come along and have a chat, whether about electric vehicles in general or vehicle-to-grid technology in particular. With a bit of luck we’ll also have one or two rather larger pieces of equipment to show you as well.

Apart from V2G EVSE Limited some other more famous names will be in attendance. According to the CNE announcement:

You will be given the opportunity to discover more about CNE and this emerging technology, meet with local experts and suppliers and test drive an electric vehicle. Speakers and suppliers include representatives from Cornwall New Energy, Nissan, Renault, Ecodrive, the Energy Savings Trust and Mitsubishi.

You can take a look at some of the other EVs in question over on our parent company’s web site, but here’s the subject of our most recent long distance test drive, the 2018 Nissan LEAF:

2018-06-28_10-12-43_878

I’m also led to believe that there will be some e-Bikes on display as well. Book your free tickets now, and if you would like to test drive some EVs on the 18th of next month please don’t forget to bring your driving licence with you!