Why do EV charging stations need to be ready for IEC 61851-1 Edition 3?

The new edition of the international standard for Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment (EVCE), IEC 61851-1, has finally arrived in Europe. Starting from February 3rd, 2022, all the EV chargers sold in Europe (28 EU countries, plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey) must be compliant with this standard.

So, the answer to the question on the title of this blog is simple: it is mandatory for everyone in Europe to sell EVCE.

But, why is this important and what does it mean in terms of benefits for the customer?

Read this blog to answer those questions and discover what we did to go beyond the IEC 61851-1, achieving better performance than requested by the new standard, resulting in even safer, smarter, and more reliable EVlink chargers.

Let’s start explaining why EV charging stations must comply with standards.

There are numerous actors on the eMobility ecosystem (EV and charging stations manufacturers, EV charging operators, grid network operators, eMobility service providers, EV drivers…). To foster open, secured, and scalable systems, it is key to ensure interoperability among all of them, using standardized protocols to communicate. With that, electric vehicles can charge at the most economic or most energy-efficient periods.

Moreover, it is important to highlight that charging EVs requires connection to a powerful electricity supply, even though the vehicle is situated in an outdoor environment, during a rainy period, and used by persons not aware of the risks of electricity. Electrical safety is of paramount importance to avoid short-circuits, overheating, or electric shocks.

For safe charging of electric vehicles, the International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) defined a set of standards, covering devices for protection and electrical installation standards. The 61851-1 standard defines the fundamental aspects of EV charging and contains all the safety requirements covering the EVSE, as equipment. Therefore, the EVSE must comply with IEC 61851 series.

In addition to that, standard compliance means a lot of improvement in the EV charging stations, which can be grouped into three key areas:

  1. Robustness: EV chargers will offer now better reliability in the harsh environment thanks to:
    • Additional verification tests as per IEC 61439-7, like degree of protection, temperature rise, clearances, and creepage distances, protection against electric shock, and integrity of protective circuits.
    • The IP tests to secure protection against intrusion, dust, accidental contact, and water are done on products that have undergone shocks during the IK test for mechanical strength. This ensures more robust products. Edition 3 states an IK10 (high resistance) is mandatory for non-restricted access.
    • The contactor is tested to meet the inrush current generated by the electrical vehicle, as required by the EV electrical safety standard (ISO17409).EVlink Pro AC
  1. People safety: EV chargers will improve safety measures offering:
      • Protection against direct and indirect contact and against fire whilst ensuring greater continuity of service with 30 mA RCD (Residual Current Device).
        For reaching that level of protection, charging stations need to use either a type B RCD or a type A RCD with RDC-DD 6mA DC. At Schneider, as safety is our top priority, we are offering the two solutions for our AC charging stations up to 22kW.
      • Protection against access to hazardous-live-parts, either using contactors with at least 3 mm separation of contacts, or a contactor associated with a MNx (undervoltage release), or a T2 socket with shutter. EVlink chargers are offering the three options.
  2. Advanced connectivity: EV charging stations will enhance interoperability with EVs, using a more accurate one-direction communication protocol, allowing load managing options such as dynamic limitation of the power of the EV charging. Interoperability will provide EV users with transparent and efficient processes and a better charging experience

We are proud to say that all our EVlink offer is now adapted to the new regulation, and as mentioned, even beyond the expectations, with EV charging stations more robust, minimizing downtime and maintenance needs; with safety at the core and ready for future capabilities thanks to digitization.

We will continue our journey to a net-zero future with efficient and sustainable eMobility solutions for homes, buildings, and fleets. Discover more on se.com.

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