There are two certainties when it comes with the EV industry.
The first certainty is that the global EV industry and its associated infrastructure is expected to witness extensive growth in the coming decade. Consumers are becoming more aware of climate issues and make conscious shifts towards cleaner energy sources, while growing government initiatives help foster the adoption of zero emission vehicles.
The second certainty is the bulk of EVs supply equipment will be ‘Smart’ in order to facilitate seamless data sharing between other devices and the hub. This means that all EV chargers will require robust and secure connectivity to ensure data exchanged remains protected.
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Why is Security Important for EV Chargers?
Each time an EV charger is utilized, a large amount of sensitive data is exchanged. This usage data can include charger ID, plug-in time and date and energy use. Additional driver details may also communicated during this time. For example, vehicle model, frequency and length of charge, payment method, and amount spent on the charging session.
Chargers not only communicate with the car and driver, but the charging facility operator and power utility company as well.
For consumers, having access to usage data can be used to inform them of optimal charging times. Thereby helping them lower their energy bill. At the same time, utility companies can optimize charging by spreading available energy capacity across active charge points, avoiding the need for expensive electrical upgrades and prevents potential grid outages.
EV Charger Connectivity
There are three communication options to consider when connecting EV chargers – Ethernet/LAN, Wi-Fi and Cellular.
Hardwired methods have the speed, capacity and stability to handle data exchanges. However, the costs and complexities to connect a nationwide network of charge points is impractical. After all, charge points will be located anywhere from major retail centers to rural highways. This means that the amount to run, trace and fire-proof cables, limits its feasibility.
Although it avoids extensive cabling, Wi-Fi is vulnerable to network outages, radio interference and malicious attacks. Incorrect configurations, poorly managed passwords or lack of regular updates present salient opportunities for attacks and leaks. With Wi-Fi, there is also little control over connection quality and even lack of coverage in remote areas.
The final option for EV charger connectivity is to piggyback off existing global coverage via mobile phone networks. In addition to extensive coverage, cellular networks use physical ZARIOT SIMs as roots of trust (ROT), ensuring charger data bypasses public services. Charger operators and users can be confident that their data is secure from end-to-end and protected from malicious attacks.
Additional Benefits of Cellular
Rapid deployment & Scalability
Mobile networks are already in place and provide seamless coverage across the world. Cellular is an ideal way to connect to the best networks, keeping EV chargers connected and updated throughout product lifecycle. Without siting restrictions, EV charger companies are free to deploy charging stations to meet the needs of all customers. Even underground garages are no longer a dead spot as chargers can be reached with picocells and small cells.
Since the 1980s, telecommunications technology and service providers have continued to improve service quality and reliability of cellular infrastructure. Networks that experience frequent disruptions will suffer from subscriber churn. If one cell is experiencing high traffic density, other cells can step in to take their place. This makes cellular ideal for exchanging large amounts of data between chargers and the cloud without experiencing outages or failures.
On 30 June 2022, the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations took effect in the UK, and applies to public and privately owned EV chargers. The new regulations laid out a series of provisions and security standards that all EV chargers must adhere to, or risk severe penalties. These requirements follow a raft of upcoming global regulations that will affect the largest EV vehicle and equipment markets.
EV charger operators have constant access to relevant information about data consumption and network traffic. Alerts and parameters on errors and deviations can also serve as a base for intrusion detection and immediately detected and dealt with.
For more information on upcoming regulations check out this post, or catch this webinar with IoT security expert, David Rogers, here. Alternatively, reach out to our industry experts to schedule a one-on-one meeting today.