With a growing number of electric vehicles on the UK roads and with Government incentives for more people to adopt the technology, there is a growing need for pubic and private charging stations. Being one of the largest producers of high quality measuring instruments, SONEL has a goal to keep pace with emerging technologies and legislation such as electro-mobility.

To help contractors test EV and comply with the regulations, Sonel has produced the EVSE-01 which can be used alongside the multifunction tester Sonel MPI-540 to make the necessary measurements on vehicle charging stations.

When installing new charging stations, it is extremely important to properly perform acceptance tests. Testing and guidance on EV charging can been found in the new amendment to the 18th edition wiring regulations.

Along with the 18th edition amendment, more information for the wired charging of electric vehicles can be found in standard EN 61851. This standard describes the charging modes and methods of communication between the vehicle and the charging station with the protocols needed to facilitate periodic and acceptance tests. The EN 62196 standard complements this by defining plugs, sockets, connectors and car plugs that can be used in vehicles and charging stations.

Regarding power supply of the EVSE station, the detailed requirements of the electrical installation have been specified in HD 60364-7-722.

The scope of periodic and acceptance tests a customer requires for their vehicle charging stations may vary. However, it is recommended to perform minimum tests for user safety and a to ensure good engineering practice. Usually, the following measurements are a minimum requirement:

  • Continuity of protective conductors.
  • Insulation resistance of electrical wires.
  • Earth resistance, if grounding is used.
  • Operation of residual current protective devices.
  • Effectiveness of electric shock protection.

Some of the measurements can be made in a similar way to a standard low voltage installation. However, some of them require the station to be in a proper condition, which can be difficult without appropriate equipment and measuring devices. The EVSE-01 adapter is a dedicated AC charging station test adapter.

The SONEL EVSE-01 adapter works with the MPI family of multifunction meters to allow comprehensive measurements in accordance with applicable regulations. In addition, it allows basic diagnostics of the control system. Simulating the charging cable (proximity pilot line – PP) and vehicle connection status (control pilot line – CP), it will introduce the station into various operating states, while checking the control signals defined by the EN 61851 standard. In order to facilitate diagnostics, one of the EVSE-01 sockets is provided with pulse width modulation signal (PWM).

The measurements of the charging station can be carried out in conjunction with any meter from the MPI multifunction device family (taking into account the capabilities and technical parameters of a given model). The SONEL flagship, MPI-540 stands out in that line as it enables sequences of automatic measurements, dedicated to charging stations. Thanks to this functionality the measurements can be performed quickly and efficiently. The MPI-540 also has full support for three-phase stations meaning it avoids unnecessary cable switching during measurements of subsequent circuit phases.