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Bureau Veritas assists Phihong Technology in acquiring EV Ready certification, entering the charging station market in France
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The electric vehicle market has been booming in recent years. Other than the vehicles themselves, many manufacturers have started to notice the business opportunities that electric vehicle charging stations could bring. But there are hundreds of different varieties of charging stations, and different related regulations for different places. If a manufacturer would like to enter the charging station market in France, acquiring the EV Ready certification is a must.

In fact, Bureau Veritas (BV) is currently the only entity in the Asia-Pacific region that can provide EV Ready certification services. BV has already assisted Phihong Technology in Taiwan in acquiring the EV Ready certification, so that this Taiwanese charging station manufacturer can successfully enter the market in France.

Phihong Technology had insight into this opportunity, and acted fast to become the first to acquire the EV Ready certification.

So far, among all the charging station manufactures in Taiwan, only Phihong Technology has acquired the EV Ready certification through collaboration with BV. Many may wonder why is it that Phihong Technology is willing to commit time and resources to acquire the EV Ready certification?

To answer this question, Phihong Technology pointed out that, in its early stages when the company first entered the China market, they encountered a lot of barriers and hardships. Although the China market has the fastest growth, it is also the quickest to change. Except for Tesla, which had established regulations, all others manufactures in the EV industry were all still finding their feet.

With no established regulations and standards, there were a lot of inconsistent products in the beginning. Phihong Technology offered not just power supplies ranging from low wattage to high wattage models of several kilowatts, but also 80 to 100 different communication protocols between software and hardware. In the low wattage power industry, Phihong Technology only needed to deliver the product according to the clients' requirements, and then it was up to the distributors and brands to promote the product.

However, the electric vehicle charging stations industry does not yet have common standards, so Phihong Technology's product specifications and designs must be continuously adjusted to meet the newest regulations of international organizations related to electric vehicles, which also change according to market trends. For the company's products, this isn't just a challenge in terms of difficulties in hardware design, but also in terms of software design, user interface, and user experience, as well as a continuous challenge for after-sales services, and maintenance capabilities, among others.

As for why Phihong Technology chose to collaborate with BV, according to Phihong Technology, they selected their laboratory following the criteria of professionalism, quality, service, efficiency, and cost, in sequential order. BV has internationally accredited testing labs, experience with testing under different foreign regulations, and has achieved successful certification of EV products for local markets.

In addition, Phihong Technology also believes that stepping into the vehicle charging supply chain from a cellphone charger supplier is not easy. Vehicle charging stations do not have global standards like cellphone power supplies, but are instead dependent on the energy infrastructure of different countries, and thus may operate under different safety regulations. In addition, as Phihong Technology had no actual operating results in early stages, they had great difficulties in the beginning. Phihong Technology positioned itself as the most professional hardware supplier, actively seeking collaboration with Europe's charging station management start-up firms or other major energy suppliers, and creating "super charging stations" that are tailored to meet the safety regulations of each country.

Phihong Technology's original products were already designed for 180KW to 240KW, so upgrading the design for a 360KW output wasn't much of a challenge in terms of designing control. The most challenging part was actually the corresponding testing and verification for the 360KW output, as there were no vehicles at the time that could handle such a high current. In the early stages of development, they could only simulate the testing and reliability verification with testing equipment, and it was only until the later stages of development when Audi vehicles arrived in Taiwan that they could complete all the tests and verifications.

In the future, the demand for high-mileage electric vehicles will get higher and higher, meaning that charging equipment will need to output higher and higher power. Phihong Technology has been continuously developing, upgrading, and improving the design of their high-power products and, to be honest, the pandemic from 2020 to 2021 was a helping hand for Phihong Technology's great achievements in Taiwan, as all the resources were focused on the development of Taiwan's electric vehicle industry, and establishing themselves in the electric vehicle industry.

Aside from actively building a charge-friendly platform throughout Taiwan, Phihong Technology also joined the MIH Alliance, allowing the company to acquire first-hand information in the electric vehicle industry ecosystem, and collaborate with operators to widen their business. Phihong Technology's future plans include further establishing itself in Taiwan, collaborating with major vehicle and electric bus manufactures for further development, and to actively connect with European and American electric vehicle markets, and continuously seek business cooperation with European, American, and Chinese vehicle manufactures.

Why is EV Ready important?

Of course, there are other charging station certifications on the market, but EV Ready is the only one that offers a way into the French market. According to BV, compared to standard charging station certifications, EV Ready tests are stricter.

How strict? According to BV, it generally takes just three months from testing to obtaining the certificate for standard charging station certifications. The EV Ready certification process, however, takes at least one year, which is comparatively much longer. Furthermore, the clients' products must already be of high quality, otherwise this process may take even longer.

According to BV, during the year of product testing, it is possible that the clients' product may be unable to withstand the test, and the product may fail. When this happens, the client must modify their product to meet the regulations.

For example, under normal circumstances, some tests may only last 100 hours. But in EV Ready, the testing time may take up to 1,000 to 2,000 hours. Additionally, criteria such as the temperature during testing and frequency of testing, among others, are stricter in EV Ready compared to standard charging station tests.

Take charging cables for example. It may be necessary to try to damage the cables during testing, to simulate actual usage, such as if the cable was run over by vehicles, tossed on the ground directly, exposed to the sun and rain, or damaged by birds or insects, etc. The purpose of this test is to see if the clients' charging cable is able to withstand damage. If the charging cable is unable to withstand the damage, then it would fail the test.

The role that BV plays during the EV Ready certification process is to help the client in testing their products, and offer support in ensuring that the products comply with the applicable regulations and restrictions. The overall aim of EV Ready is to test whether the charging station complies with safety regulations, and to test the EMC and the charging plugs.

Furthermore, BV would ask clients to fill out any missing information they may have in their data. BV also reviews and certifies the data once it is complete.

In order to assist clients in successfully acquiring the EV Ready certification, BV also assists in screening during the initial material and model selection phase of product design. This can reduce the wait times between tests deliveries, overall increasing the smoothness of the certification process.

Also worth noting is that having the EV Ready certification for a product is still not enough, because the installation technician is also required to have the EV Ready certification when installing the product. In other words, a certified charging station still needs certified technicians to ensure no danger would occur on site. For this, BV also has qualified personnel to provide the related educational training.