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Trac has announced that its comprehensive offering of test and analysis for the automotive industry is fully prepared and ready to assist makers of electric-vehicle charging systems.

As electric-vehicle use expands, attention is turning to the development of an infrastructure for the charging of automotive battery solutions, so that drivers of electric vehicles will be able to achieve recharging as safely, easily and universally as today’s drivers obtain petrol and diesel fuel.

During 2010, the European Commission issued a Mandate to the European standardisation bodies – Cenelec, CEN and ETSI – to develop a common European solution for the charging of electric vehicles.

The mandate aims to ensure the widespread availability of safe charging facilities and services, including the necessary measures to ensure that chargers and the vehicles themselves can interoperate with the electricity supply system; and, further, that emergent standards take into account ‘smart charging’ architectures that will enable drivers to recharge their vehicles at off-peak rates.

Trac has been closely involved with the evolution of standards in this area and Trac’s director for EMC and safety, Steve Hayes, is nominated as the UK expert for the commission’s mandate on vehicle charging.

Building an infrastructure for electric-vehicle charging will involve issues extending far beyond simply replenishing the batteries.

Substantial amounts of energy are involved and standards will have to ensure the safety of both users and equipment – on both the mobile and fixed side of the process.

Systems will have to meet numerous standards already established in both electrical and vehicle domains, as well as complying with whatever new regulations emerge as the standardisation programme proceeds.

Issues will range from the straightforward – defining and enforcing use of a common charging connector, for example – to much more complex and subtle matters such as ensuring that the equipment causes no electro-magnetic interference, or disturbance to the electricity supply grid and that communication between the vehicle and the infrastructure conforms to standard protocols.

Trac’s expertise is well established in all of the specialities that will be required to implement the new electric-vehicle charging regime.

Trac has in place comprehensive testing and computational analysis of vehicle components, and of complete vehicles to meet the EMC, radio, safety and environmental qualification, reliability and legislative demands of the automotive market.

Trac is an appointed VCA (Vehicle Certification Agency) Technical Service with UKAS accreditation for whole-vehicle testing, in addition to sub-assemblies.

On the infrastructure and supply side, Trac is an approved body to test and certify equipment and systems to all relevant standards, including safety, EMC (electro-magnetic compatibility) and communications system test.

Trac can manage the whole e-marking process rather than the manufacturer having to deal with the test house and VCA separately.

In addition to testing, Trac provides support throughout the product lifecycle, from concept design consultancy and detailed design analysis through to pre-compliance testing, to eliminate risk, save time and control costs throughout product development.

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