On April 18th, Dutch Secretary of State Van Veldhoven, opened the new test site of ElaadNL in Arnhem. At the test location, all different types of charging stations that are used in the Netherlands are available for tests with electric cars. For example, the effects of charging new types of cars on the electricity grid can be tested. Tests with Smart Charging are also possible. This means cars are instructed to charge faster or slower based on the availability of (sustainable) electricity on the grid. These tests are essential now the numbers of electric cars are growing. All are plugged into the existing network to charge.
The test site is located in business park Arnhems Buiten (former KEMA site) and contains all types of charging stations that are used in the public area in the Netherlands. This includes a fast charger, a charging island, a battery and two charging lanterns. Moreover, the site is equipped with meters so that unique tests and research can be carried out. For example, a new model of electric car can be tested on the interaction with all charging stations throughout the Netherlands before it enters our roads in large numbers. Grid operators can test what a car (actually a battery on wheels) does with the quality of the current. In addition, tests are being done with Smart Charging: instructing the car to charge faster or slower at certain times. For example when extra power from the sun or wind is available or in case an overload of the local electricity grid can occur. This way extra CO2 can be saved.
“An asset for the Netherlands”
State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, Van Veldhoven: “Charging your electric vehicle should be as easy as charging your phone. This testing facility is therefore a great asset for the Netherlands: here we can experiment and see what works, how we can charge and find ways to make electric driving as easy as possible. That knowledge is essential for making transportation cleaner, fighting climate change and fulfil the Paris agreements. Let’s reduce our carbon emissions by the megatons!
Onoph Caron, managing director of ElaadNL: “For electric cars it’s not just a matter of how well they drive, it’s just as important how well they charge. These are big electrical machines that can demand a lot of our electricity grid and our charging infrastructure. Together with our partners, we can now test and measure the way we charge vehicles with all charging stations available in the Netherlands. For the future of electric driving in the Netherlands, important things are going to happen here on this test site!”
More about the Elaad Test Lab
The Elaad Test Lab is a unique laboratory with a test site for research on and testing of Smart Charging, Power Quality and Interoperability. It includes, among other things, the various types of charging stations in the public space in the Netherlands, a fast charger, two charging lanterns, a battery (138 kWh), a charging island, solar panels and urban windmills that can all be centrally controlled via a computer system. They form a completely smart energy system. The Test Lab is equipped so that unique tests and in-depth investigations can be carried out. In this way, the charging behaviour of cars can be analysed in great detail and things such as switch-on peaks, inefficient energy consumption and high frequency disturbances on the current and voltage can be measured.
The tests mainly take place on three themes:
1. Smart Charging
Tests with Smart Charging: instructing the electric car and infrastructure to charge faster or slower at certain times. For example, when extra power from the sun or wind is available or if an overload of the local electricity grid occurs. We can also test whether an electric car is Smart Charging ready: can the car handle different charging speeds and delayed charging? Does it respond in time and is the car still charging efficiently at lower speeds?
2. Power Quality
Testing Power Quality. What effect does a charging electric car have on the quality of the electric current, the voltage and the stability of the electricity grid? If vehicles cause distortion of the grid voltage, this can lead to problems on other connected electrical devices, but also on electric cars and charging stations themselves. The effects can be recorded in detail and studied at the ElaadNL Test Lab.
Car manufacturers and battery manufacturers can test their products at the ElaadNL Test Lab on interoperability and compatibility. For example, a new model of electric car can be tested on the interaction with all the different types of charging stations in the Netherlands before it enters our roads in large numbers. This ensures car manufacturers that their car can communicate correctly with the different types of charging stations in the Netherlands, so that charging problems can be prevented.