There are three primary areas where testing EV charging stations is critical - development, installation and maintenance.

EV Charging Station Test System

Neal Roche | Gridtest Systems

Briefly, tell me about Gridtest Systems.

Gridtest Systems, www.gridtest.com, designs, manufactures and markets EV infrastructure test equipment that measures and records interoperability, and demonstrates reliable and safe operation of EV charging stations, in accordance with global industry standards.  Our EVE-100 provides reassurance for EV charging station manufacturers, installation technicians, EV manufacturers, and independent test labs, by providing a mechanism to test interoperability, to demonstrate reliability, and to provide a record of the safe, and functional operation.

Our company was founded to address the interoperability and safety challenges faced by Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturers, EV infrastructure providers and users, based on using electricity to power clean transportation.  Among the most pressing of these challenges are safe reliable operation and interoperability between the abundance of new EVs and charging stations coming to the market around the world.  These issues have the potential to disrupt charging, damage equipment, or leave drivers stranded.  Gridtest is the only EV charger test equipment manufacturer to address these challenges by comprehensively testing and verifying performance and interoperability, in accordance with international standards, in the lab, during installation and once deployed in the field.

What are you announcing at eCarTec?

We are debuting our new European Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging test system following several customer evaluation sales, and demonstrating our European EV Emulation Software Suites to the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) market for the first time.  Our European EV charging test systems help identify critical interoperability and safety issues in European EVSE in the lab or deployed in the field.  These previously undetected issues have caused some EVs to fail to charge at certain EVSEs, and have led to systematic safety testing failures of some widely deployed charging stations.

Tell me a little bit more about your EV Charging test system.

Our European EV test systems performs rigorous diagnostics including interoperability testing, and advanced GFI/RCD testing, to comprehensively ensure that products meet international standards.  By emulating specific EVs on behalf of vehicle OEMs, Gridtest’s products can eliminate the need to ship current and prototype EVs to the field for testing.  Detailed customizable reporting can be exported into standard formats and archived for future analysis and comparison.  We provides the industry’s only truly independent EV charger test platform designed to verify, track and ensure safe installation and operation of EV charging stations in the field, ensuring that an EV charging station will work properly the first time, eliminating the need for multiple truck rolls and onsite troubleshooting.

Why do we need to test EV charging stations and what are you testing for?

There are three primary areas where testing EV charging stations is critical – development, installation and maintenance.  In the development stage, both vehicle manufacturers and EV charging station manufacturers test to ensure interoperability and reliability.  It’s essential that EVs work seamlessly and safely with any charging station.  Thorough testing can prevent damage to vehicles and ensure drivers won’t be left stranded without a safe charging option.

During installation, Gridtest’s systems are used to verify safety and functionality.  By testing once in the field during deployment, EV charging station manufacturers can save time and costs by eliminating the need for additional truck rolls for corrective maintenance.

Finally, as charging stations are successfully deployed, routing maintenance is required.  Gridtest simplifies and speeds this process through a suite of turnkey tests that essentially provide go/no go results while collecting critical performance data.

Who benefits from your product – what market need does it fill?

Gridtest’s test systems provide reassurance for EV charging station manufacturers, EV manufacturers, independent test labs, and installation technicians by providing a mechanism to test interoperability, demonstrate reliability, and provide a record of safe, functional operation.

Do your tools work globally and with all manufacturers?

Our EV test system, fully CE certified by TÜV SÜD America, comprehensively tests charging stations for compliance with the IEC 61851 charging standard.  Additionally, we are working with leading standards organizations including the SAE to ensure that our products meet or exceed the latest definitions and technical requirements.  Currently, our systems test to SAE J1772™ and IEC 62196/61851-1 standards and verify SAE J1772 Level 1/ Level 2 Chargers.

How are the lab and field systems different?

The EVE-100L is designed to evaluate EV charging stations in a lab environment, and is ideal for R&D lab testing applications for EV charger OEMs and utilities.  The EVE-100J is a ruggedized, comprehensive field test and measurement tool designed to verify, track and ensure the safe installation and operation of Level 1 and 2 (Mode 2 and Mode 3) EV charging stations in the field. 

What makes your test system better than alternatives?

Gridtest is the only EV charger test equipment specifically designed to address safe reliable operation and interoperability between new EVs and charging stations by comprehensively testing and verifying performance and interoperability, in accordance with international standards, in the lab, during installation and once deployed in the field.

What drove you to enter the EV charging station test market?

The explosive growth of the global Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturers and EV infrastructure providers and users created critical challenges around safe reliable operation and interoperability between the abundance of new EVs and charging stations coming to the market around the world.  These issues have the potential to disrupt charging, damage equipment, or leave drivers stranded. 

When do you think we will start to see charging stations roll out in a big way and where will that be?

Most EV charging will continue to be done at home, where is it least expensive for the consumer.  According to a new report from Pike Research, the EVSE market will expand steadily, with sales of EVSE rising from approximately 200,000 in 2012 to almost 2.4 million in 2020.  By 2020, the study concludes, 11.4 million EV charging stations will be in operation worldwide.

 

 

Neal Roche, CEO and Founder, Gridtest Systems, Inc.

CEO and founder Neal Roche, a 20-year veteran of the test and measurement industry, leveraged his experience and industry knowledge to establish Gridtest Systems in 2011.  In creating Gridtest Systems, he is addressing an entirely new set of challenges faced by Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturers and charging infrastructure providers that come with using electricity to power clean transportation.  Gridtest is the only EV charger test equipment manufacturer to address these challenges by effectively testing and verifying and interoperability and performance, in accordance with U.S. and international standards.  Mr. Roche’s testing background provides him with a unique perspective to address R&D lab and field deployment testing. 

Throughout his career, Mr. Roche honed his business expertise working sales, marketing and product line management in the United States, Europe and Asia at both publicly traded companies and start-up enterprises.  Prior to founding Gridtest Systems, Mr. Roche was the Director Marketing & Strategic Planning at AeroVironment, a Nissan OEM partner for LEAF chargers. 

Additionally, he served as Executive Vice President Marketing - Strategy Development at IXIA Communications after being promoted from Vice President Product Management.  In these roles, Mr. Roche directed a team of product managers, introduced new products and a product life cycle process, and drove major marketing and social media campaigns, all leading to achievement of the Frost & Sullivan award, “Number One in Market Share Worldwide, Gigabit Ethernet.”  As EMEA Sales Director for Spirent Communications, Mr. Roche built a new test equipment business in Europe to a $20 million organization in less than three years, and as Senior Director, Product Marketing, he managed the P&L and operations of the network infrastructure testing business, which realized more than $100 million in revenue.  

Mr. Roche earned his diploma in Telecommunications Engineering from Atlantic College in the Dublin, Ireland.


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