Over the last few months, ViriCiti’s Co-Founder and CCO, Alexander Schabert, has worked together with a selected group of e-mobility experts to help define the new VDV-463 standard.
This brand-new standard defines the interoperability between chargers and depot management software, in Germany, in order to help accelerate the adoption of electric buses across the country.
In the article below we explain why there is a need for such a standard as well as the advantages of creating an open standard.
The need for VDV-463
As fleets introduce more and more electric buses to their fleet, the charging process becomes really important. And issues such as not having enough chargers for all your vehicles or in-row depot parking can add to the complexity of charging.
In order to have all your electric buses charged on time and ready to go there needs to be highly coordinated communication between charges, depot management software, and telematics software.
Traditionally these have been provided by separate companies, each with their proprietary communication protocol. This would lead to long integration times and a slow down of the public transport electrification.
This is why it is important to have a well-defined communication standard for how the charging infrastructure communicates with the depot management system.
The goal of the VDV Standard is to ensure investment security and competitiveness while enabling customers to choose their suppliers freely, without experiencing a vendor lock-in.
Closed vs Open System
There are two different approaches to EV depot management, either a closed solution or an open solution. In a closed solution, various aspects like the depot management system, charging station monitoring, and the Smart Charging system are provided by one company.
In comparison, in an open system, the depot management system is different from the charging station monitoring & Smart Charging system. However, these systems share a common API.
As ViriCiti, we recommend an open solution as it comes with many benefits such as flexibility, compatibility, and overall quality. Learn more about these benefits down below!
One huge advantage of this new standard is that it gives the operator more flexibility.
With an open solution, it is possible to control on-road opportunity chargers as well as depot chargers. By contrast, with a closed system, it’s only possible to control the depot charging system but not the on-road chargers.
This is helpful, especially for growing fleets. For example, if the buses in the fleet begin driving different routes that are longer – such as for 100 km instead of 20 km – opportunity chargers will be necessary, not just depot chargers.
In this situation, the easiest is to have one open solution with all vehicles and chargers in one, connected by an API.
As you expand your charging infrastructure, it is highly probable that you will acquire chargers from multiple manufacturers.
Without an open system, this can add another layer of complexity to your operations, as every OEM will bring its own communication protocol.
In turn, this will lead to a fragmented view of your operations and multiple parallel dashboards to keep track of.
This is why an open system that allows interoperability, will simplify your operations greatly.
“Best in class” quality
Another inherent benefit of the VDV 463 standard is the ability to choose the ‘best in class’ solutions for both depot management and charging management.
The interoperability will allow you to choose and mix service providers, something that works specifically for your needs, rather than 1-size fits all.