Published on February 17th, 2023 | by Subhash Nair0
I-Charge Solution Offers Brand-Neutral EV Charging Point Load Management
EV charging management by ICS International helps ensure the grid can handle the power draw.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are being incentivized in Malaysia and all across the world. In Malaysia, once they hit critical mass, the charging infrastructure will have to keep up. And once the charging infrastructure catches up, the electrical grid will probably not stand a chance. That is, unless you have the right management of the EV charging points. That’s where I-Charge Solutions International comes in (ICS).
ICS has been around since 2016. The company manages thousands of EV charging points in Hong Kong and Macau and has also expanded to Australia, Canada and now Malaysia. They’re Open Charge Point Protocol 1.6 (OCPP 1.6) Certified and Security Certified by the Open Charge Alliance for their Charging Station Management System (CSMS).
In layman speak, what this means is that they have software that can manage EV charging points so that they don’t all simultaneously draw a huge amount of power in one go and starve the neighbourhood of electricity.
Believe it or not, electricity is not an unlimited resource. There may be enough for half a dozen electric vehicles to charge simultaneously in a mall, but what happens when the same number are being charged on 22kW AC current along a residential street while every house has air conditioners, water heaters and gaming PCs running? Well, a brown out is what you get.
ICS’s CSMS essentially ensures EV charging points are managed properly to avoid overloading the power grid. There are many other value added features to their system besides load management systems. It also comes with advanced booking, remote preventative diagnostics, tier-based priority charging and offline mode.
The company is now in Malaysia and has already met Transport Minister YB Anthony Loke, though it is unclear which EV Charging Providers have signed up to work with ICS, but it looks as if this sort of management software is essential to growing the electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
In Hong Kong, ICS has Bolt, an EV charging online booking system that lets users find, book and pay for an EV charger within 90 seconds.
Here’s a more in-depth look at what ICS does, adapted from their press release:
I-Charge Solutions (ICS) International Co. Ltd is a Hong Kong-based company that was founded in 2016 by Dr. Benjamin Ho and Ms. Rosemary Tan. Its primary focus is on electric vehicle (EV) charging and smart IoT solutions. Over the years, the company has managed thousands of EV chargers with millions of real-time transactions in Hong Kong and Macau. It has since expanded its operations to Malaysia, Australia, and Canada. In 2022, ICS became one of only 32 companies in the world and the only one in Hong Kong to be Open Charge Point Protocol 1.6 (OCPP 1.6) Fully Certified and Security Certified by Open Charge Alliance (OCA) for its Charging Station Management System (CSMS).
The company’s self-innovated CSMS is designed to be charger brand agnostic and developed with a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) mindset. This approach ensures neutrality, as ICS does not develop or sell its own brand of EV chargers. The company’s focus is on providing better services for various stakeholders in the EV value chain, without any bias towards a particular brand.
The CSMS is a crucial component of the EV charging process, comparable to the human brain. It is essential for ensuring the reliability, availability, and sustainability of EV charging services. ICS’s CSMS has advanced features such as advanced booking, load management systems, remote preventive diagnostics, tier-based priority charging, and offline mode. It has a proven track record in different territories and can provide valuable insights into EV development and infrastructure planning. The CSMS can also help manage and shift EV charging demands, thus alleviating pressure on the power grid. Additionally, it is essential in areas of research and development, such as bi-directional charging and battery second life.
ICS has seven years of hands-on experience in the EV charging industry and has accumulated a wealth of knowledge in this area. The company has faced and overcome various challenges in EV adoption under different usage scenarios. ICS is now seeking to leverage this experience to assist Malaysia in its EV journey. By avoiding pitfalls early in the electrification process, promoting smart mobility, and leapfrogging in green technology development in the ASEAN region, ICS hopes to provide valuable support to Malaysia’s EV industry.
The current electricity and network infrastructure are not equipped to handle the insatiable appetite for power that comes with EVs. ICS’s Load Management System (LMS) addresses this problem by applying both load-sharing mode and smart queueing simultaneously in one load management system. Under load-sharing mode, power is automatically shared between EVs according to available capacity. When the load-sharing threshold is reached, queueing mode kicks in, putting the next EV in line on a queue. The next in line is automatically charged when power becomes available. This process eliminates the need for drivers to wait around for charging to start and allows them to see their place in the queue and plug in their cable accordingly.
ICS’s LMS utilizes OCPP 1.6 smart charging to serve more vehicles without scaling up the electricity supply. It manages EV charging power consumption from individual plug/socket and charger level to entire building/property level. The system can also expand to aggregate and manage data at a macro level, i.e., city, state, or country, to support and facilitate Smart Grid Protection. In doing so, ICS maintains the speed of EV adoption while providing precious time for the necessary green and sustainable infrastructure expansion plan.