Figures show that the EV market is taking off much quicker than anticipated, ‘Plug-In’ car sales accounted for 3.2% of all new car registrations in 2019, in 2020 it was 10.7%, and so far in 2021 it’s running at 13.1%. Electric vehicle manufacturers have sought to quell range anxiety concerns through plug-in hybrid cars and as a result we’ve seen a surge.
What’s more there are now more than 35,000 charge point connectors across the UK in over 13,000 locations - that's more public places to charge than there are petrol stations! Around 7,000 charge points were installed in 2020 alone, with the majority being fast and rapid chargers. This number does not include home connector kits which enable electric car owners the ability to always leave home with a full ‘tank’ of low-cost energy.
In fact, with more public charging points in existence, and being installed year on year… it’s clearly evident owning an Electric car is not a new concept by any stretch, and its uptake is surging!
It won’t be long before range anxiety is a concern linked to cars with a traditional, internal combustion engine - as conventional fuel stations become unviable.
Let’s Talk EVSE - Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment
The requirements of fitting EVSE is still settling down, Amendment 1* covered most of the bases with the acceptance of systems overcoming open PEN situations and mitigating against the requirement of additional earth rods.
*Amendment 1 BS 7671:2018 18th Edition
The O-PEN:EV Designed to provide a safe and compliant alternative to an Earth electrode/rod when installing a domestic electric vehicle charging point.
There’s a plethora of brands on the EVSE market; some cover the safety obligation better than others.
EVSE - So, what should I look out for?
Make sure the units you install offer the correct protection. The standard says:
“Except where provided by the EV charging equipment, protection against DC fault currents shall be provided by:
(i) an RCD Type B, or
(ii) an RCD Type A or Type F in conjunction with a residual direct current detecting device (RDC-DD) complying with BS IEC 62955 as appropriate to the nature of the residual and superimposed currents and recommendation of the manufacturer of the charging equipment.”
Stats: nextgreencar and statista
So, if the charging equipment does not have this protection in place - You have to provide it.
Some equipment claims to offer build-in protection however it’s not always up to the correct standard concerning creepage and clearances. If in doubt ask the supplier for a certificate of compliance.
The latest MFT developments, including the Kewtech KT66DL, have the functionality to test the following units: type A, B, F and the RDC -DD.
Ironically there’s no requirement, as yet, to test RCD-DD devices; although if the DC protection is within a type B RCD… It’s automatically tested.
Although, the requirement of testing RDC-DD devices may or may not be corrected in the Amendment 2 (due out in March 2022) it’s good practice to do so.
Regardless of this we feel it’s advisable to have this capability when fault finding on EV Charging Points.
Best practice for testing EV Charging Points requires a suitable adapter, for instance the Kewtech KEWEVSE. This adaptor ‘talks’ to the unit being tested and simulates vehicle connection. This in turn enables the contactors to close, to energise the socket - so that loop and RCD tests can be conducted.
The function of the adaptor is twofold:
- To enable electrical safety testing
- To test the functionality of the charging unit (including simulating a Control Pilot to earth error and a lost earth error, ensuring the unit shuts down)
Field experience shows an increased sensitivity to loop testing currents, resulting in the 6mA RDC-DD tripping out. This sensitivity is a function of the EVSE. Some MFTs, like the Kewtech KT66DL, have special EV options for loop testing EVSE.
“Be fully equipped now… and future ready with Kewtech EV Charge Point Testing Equipment!”