Ionity putting infrastructure to the test

22 November 2021

Ionity has opened a charging-technology assessment centre in Unterschleissheim, Germany. The electrically-chargeable vehicle (EV) infrastructure company site will conduct end-to-end testing on functional capabilities such as plug and charge.

Electromobility is surging forward and with it the need for more plug-in points to keep EVs moving on the road. This rapid expansion of charging networks across the world brings challenges. Different suppliers are using various standards, rates, and technologies. This disparity could prove off-putting for consumers who simply want to plug in, charge up and go.

So, setting up a testing site should give Ionity a more detailed understanding of what EV technology does work and what requires a rethink. After all, it is one thing to offer an expansive charging network, but another to offer one capable of fulfilling consumer needs.

Hardware and software

Sitting just outside of Munich, Ionity’s new site takes up over 5,00 square metres. It is capable of validation and interoperability tests, assessing how well EVs and infrastructure work together, as well as how well stations can actually be used.

The charging company also carries out regression and software evaluations. This ensures that any changes in software code will not impact existing functionality. Given the importance of the over-the-air updates for both EVs and their associated technologies, this digital process will prove essential.

‘Every company interprets interface standards slightly differently in the process. In our test centre, we can closely examine all steps in the charging process – from authentication and power transfer to the end of charging – and get feedback on any incompatibilities or issues,’ said Laurence Langenbrink, lead testing services at Ionity.

Europe-wide testing

Ionity will be able to perform these assessments on almost all high-power charging (HPC) points that are available across Europe from one location. That being said, the infrastructure company will also be able to deploy a mobile testing unit for on-site checks.

‘Thanks to our mobile testing equipment – a truck with a controllable electrical load that can charge at a maximum of 350kW and simulate corresponding vehicles – real-time charging simulations and validation tests can also be carried out on-site at our customers’ premises,’ Langenbrink added.

But no matter the location, all tests will be monitored and logged, with charging processes recorded in detail by Ionity’s equipment. Its experts are developing use cases and flowcharts for tests on various hardware models.

The overall aim is obviously to prove to both potential consumers and other companies that Ionity’s infrastructure is reliable across all of its sites, regardless of EV brand and model. All charge-point providers will need to prove this if EVs are to take the long-worn crown of the internal-combustion engine (ICE).

Lacking, slow and inadequate infrastructure will only serve to put consumers off electrification. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) recently revealed only one in nine plug-in points across the EU is capable of fast recharging speeds over 22kW. These chargers are capable of significantly boosting a battery in less than an hour. In September, the association also pointed to an uneven spread of charge points across the EU. 10 countries were found to not have even one charging point for every 100km of key roads (including motorways, state, provincial and communal roads).