Pantograph controller uses CAN wireless gateway

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By Nick Flaherty

Vector in Germany has developed a controller for charging electric busses via pantographs.

Developers of electric commercial vehicles such as buses can use the generic controller, the VC-EVCC-P (Electric Vehicle Communication Controller for Pantograph charging), for roof-mounted pantographs as well as loading bays according to the OppCharge standard via inverted pantographs. Communication with an existing charging infrastructure is easy to implement.

Fast charging in charging slots is becoming more frequent and shorter in duration, particularly for commercial vehicles. The goal is to keep the vehicles operating throughout the day without limiting their availability, and pantograph systems are increasingly popular to acheive this (see below). 

The VC-EVCC-P controller is a generic charging controller for 24V electrical systems, making it usable in all kinds of commercial vehicles. The controller supports charging via current collectors and is qualified for production use and can be installed in vehicles directly. The new charging controller is also well suited for prototypes and evaluation purposes.

Along with the conventional construction method, in which a pantograph is mounted on the vehicle roof and docks to the charging station from there, the Vector controller also supports inverted pantographs. In this configuration, which is being used increasingly, the pantograph is located at the charge point and uses wireless communication with the charging infrastructure. This is implemented as an accessory with a CAN WiFi Gateway that enables WiFi communication based on IEEE 802.11a/n in the 5 GHz band. The radio license permits use of the CAN WiFi Gateway within European member states.

The controller’s CAN channel with the standardized SAE J1939 protocol for the commercial vehicle market assures quick connection. It supports diagnostic messages based on DM1, DM13 and J1939 Network Management. When inverted pantographs are used, charging communication is done according to the OppCharge V1.3.0 protocol. In the release planned for the second half of 2020, the VC-EVCC-P will also support charging processes via pantographs mounted on the vehicle roof based on the DIN-70121/ISO-15118-2 protocol. The VC-EVCC-P charging controller was developed according to automotive and commercial vehicle industry standards. It covers degrees of protection IP6K6K, IP6K7 and IP6K9K. The CAN WiFi Gateway, manufactured to industrial standards, offers a degree of protection of IP65.

The Vector controllers can be used universally with a focus on data communication. Because they use standard technologies, they can be used for quickly developing functional samples and using them in production. All production ECUs are qualified for in-vehicle use. The Vector controllers are also available in higher volumes for test fleets and short production runs. Vector is able to offer a complete package with full functionality together with its AUTOSAR basic software MICROSAR.

More information is at

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