image of EV charging station
The charging corridor between the U.S. and Canada is a significant step taken towards achieving environmental sustainability through international partnerships. It is up to both countries’ governments to collaborate on developing a set of appropriate policies and regulations encouraging the deployment of secure connectivity technologies among charge point operators. Photo: Autocrypt

Vehicle-to-grid technologies will help achieve interoperability and operational efficiency for the cross border Canada-U.S. charging corridor, says cybersecurity company, AUTOCRYPT

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This article is partner content presented by Autocrypt.

In May, the Canadian and United States governments announced their partnership to build a binational electric vehicle charging corridor. This news isn’t surprising given the long-standing economic and strategic alliance between the two nations.

According to the announcement, a 1,400 km cross-border charging corridor will connect Michigan and Quebec, passing through major cities like Detroit, Toronto and Montreal.

The charging stations will span two different countries. Therefore, extra attention must be paid to achieving interoperability. Implementation of vehicle-to-grid technology will benefit the binational charging corridor enabling connectivity and interoperability throughout the charging infrastructure.

What are the next steps in building the charging corridor?

The plan is to install a total of 215 electric vehicle charging stations at 80 km intervals, including at least one DC fast charger at each location. However, there are no available details regarding how the corridor will be built and operated.

This move signals an important step toward achieving environmental sustainability for both countries, emphasizing the importance of collaboration to achieve clean energy goals.

To ensure operational efficiency, the chargers will need to be compatible with vehicles and payment methods from both countries, providing a convenient charging experience for all drivers. To accomplish this, Canada and the U.S. will need to establish joint infrastructure development protocols that ensure the efficient operation of the charging corridor.

Operational efficiency through connectivity

Maintaining sustainable energy consumption throughout the charging infrastructure is the first step to creating a fully functional and efficient charging system. Implementing bidirectional and smart charging within the corridor can help maintain the balance of energy flow between chargers and vehicles. This can be done by deploying vehicle-to-grid (V2G) communication.

V2G technology allows electric vehicles to communicate with the electricity grid for bidirectional charging. With bidirectional charging, power can flow from the grid to the vehicle or from the vehicle to the grid. This allows electric vehicles to send power back to the grid when needed, such as in times of high demand. Enabling V2G can balance the variations in energy supply and demand, allowing for better management of available energy resources.

The Canada-U.S. charging corridor will power one of the most popular routes between the countries, covering the entire length of Ontario 401, the busiest highway in North America. It is safe to assume that this area will be full of EV drivers needing to charge their vehicles. Travel peak times, like weekends and holidays, will see an even greater influx of cars on the road, so establishing smart and bidirectional charging capabilities will make sure the charging infrastructure can balance its energy reserves and keep up with the varying demand for power.

Vehicle-to-grid communications are making their way into electric vehicle charging regulations worldwide. For instance, The European Union’s Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) made V2G-enabled smart charging capabilities mandatory for all newly built or renovated chargers in the EU Member States. The regulations surrounding smart charging and V2G communications in the EU can serve as a benchmark for chargers along the Canada-U.S. charging corridor.

Improving charging experience with Plug & Charge

Charge point operators that establish V2G communication can also make use of Plug & Charge capabilities. Plug & Charge is an automated billing technology defined within the V2G protocol. It securely exchanges vehicle and payment information with the charger through encrypted messages, consequently streamlining the charging experience for users.

Normally, electric vehicle owners download apps or carry RFID fobs that let them authenticate their vehicles for charging. Different charge point operators often require different authentication methods. Meaning that sometimes drivers have to carry multiple apps or fobs to be able to charge wherever they want to. This makes charging your EV unnecessarily complicated and cumbersome.

Plug & Charge can tackle this problem by enabling cloud-based authentication and payment. With this technology, all users need to do is plug in their vehicle to the charger and the charging process will start immediately without the user having to complete any extra steps. This is possible due to the V2G communication between the vehicle and the charger. When a driver plugs in their EV to the charger, the charger identifies the car and its owner, validating the charging process, all in the back-end server.

During this secure exchange of information, the charger can also retrieve the driver’s billing information and process the payment for charging.

Plug & Charge is beneficial for EV drivers, as it eliminates the need for manual authentication through apps and RFID fobs. It also makes payment easier, streamlining the entire process and delivering a more convenient charging experience for users.

With Plug & Charge, CPOs will also have easy access to user data that can further improve charger operations. For instance, analyzing user data can help discover the busiest charging times to implement incentives for off-peak charging or install additional chargers at the busiest locations.

Establishing secure V2G communications

Ensuring connectivity for bidirectional charging and Plug & Charge has to come with appropriate cybersecurity technologies in place. V2G connects the entire charging infrastructure, exchanging valuable information about vehicles, their owners, chargers, and the grid. If there is a breach of any information, the consequences may be dire.

Toronto-based mobility security company AUTOCRYPT stresses the importance of cybersecurity in V2G communications. “Encryption and authentication technologies will have to be enforced to ensure a high level of cybersecurity and user data protection during the charging process,” says president of AUTOCRYPT North America, Sean Cho.

“Safeguarding electric vehicles, chargers, and the electricity grid from cyber threats is essential to developing an efficient V2G infrastructure.”

Governments hold the key

The Canada-U.S. charging corridor is a significant step towards achieving environmental sustainability through international partnerships.

The benefits of connectivity are far-reaching and have the potential to maximize efficiency throughout the charging corridor operations.

While this article proposes vehicle-to-grid technology as the basis for connectivity in the charging corridor, it is up to both countries’ governments to collaborate on developing a set of appropriate policies and regulations encouraging the deployment of secure connectivity technologies among charge point operators.