The CharIN Testival North America 2023, hosted by Lincoln Electric in Cleveland, Ohio, offered the EV industry the opportunity to test the interoperability of their equipment and uncover integration challenges, communication errors, and incompatibilities that can occur when EVs and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) interact. 

As the leading international industry association advocating for EV charging interoperability, CharIN gathered over 300 participants at the event. Participants included engineers and executives from 17 automakers such as Ford, Lucid Motors, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, Rivian, and Volkswagen, 18 EV charging providers such as ABB E-mobility, EVgo, IoTecha Corp, Rectifier Technologies, and Zerova Technologies, and four test systems. The Cleveland event was the largest Testival in North America to date.

"With billions invested every year in EV charging equipment in North America, it's important to verify that the equipment is compatible and using open standards so that any consumer can use it safely, reliably, and affordably," said Erika Myers, executive director of CharIN North America. "Events like the Testival are incredibly important to ensure that the equipment we're putting out into the field will work as intended so every EV driver has a flawless charging experience."

As a global event series, CharIN Testivals aim to replicate real-world scenarios customers face with EVs and charging equipment. When seeking charging solutions, drivers frequently meet challenges such as smart or optimised charging; bi-directional power transfer; security, encryption, and authentication of transactions; and safety, including plug locking mechanisms. 

These Testivals provide OEMs and suppliers with staged interoperability tests to witness how their technology performs to prevent these driver frustrations. The tests analyse communication protocols, data exchange, and the performance of charging sessions. Such simulations can help OEMs uncover incompatibility that can occur when EVs and EVSEs interact before products are deployed into the market.

Testivals provide a platform for the EV and charging industry to convene with their equipment and test their technology in a round-robin-style rotation scheme that focuses on the system, product-level, and near-serial production feature testing. In ten 90-minute testing slots, equipment providers are paired together to conduct their interoperability tests. After each test is complete, and at timed intervals, EVs rotate to the next testing slot according to a pre-planned pairing schedule.

In a Testival exclusive, CharIN included testing of the proposed SAE J3400 standard. Additionally, the North American Testival featured the debut testing of EV charging error codes recently proposed by the National Charging Experience Consortium (ChargeX) and new cybersecurity protocols developed by a CharIN working group.

"The Testival is a speed dating among vehicles and chargers, designed to allow participants to test interoperability in many combinations and use cases," said Oleg Logvinov, chair of CharIN North America and president and CEO of IoTecha Corporation, a Testival sponsor. "It's also a valuable tool for the end-to-end testing. During the Testival we had an opportunity to test the implementation of Plug and Charge with multiple PKI roots."

The next global Testivals will be held in January in Arnhem, the Netherlands and in April in Ansan-si, Korea.