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EV Charging

Making it all happen: The R&D team keeping us plugged in to EV innovation.

Chloe Sharp

4 April 2023 at 14:24:01

In January last year, we started enquiring about opening our very own research and development centre in Nottingham University Science Park. Ian Griffiths, Technical Director at Rolec Services, talks about this process.

“Given the fast pace of innovation and regulatory change within the EV industry,”developing a dedicated site for renewed growth was paramount and exploring the future of EV in-house “has placed Rolec in a strong position to weather disruptions in global trade, capture the best talent, and react quickly to new market opportunities.”

Something that has already proved its value to us tenfold. Specifically with the introduction of the Smart Charge Point regulations in June 2022. As the UK government set out to make charge points more user-friendly and intuitive, the rest of the world was in the midst of a component shortage, impacted in part by the war in Ukraine. Leaving the EV industry bottlenecked.

So… whilst everyone was looking globally to find a solution, we stayed closer to home. Taking on the undertaking of designing our own EV Controller and Smart Communications Module and investing in a British manufacturer to help turn these ideas into reality. But let’s take a step back for a minute and really focus on the process, from deciding we want to create our own components to bespoke circuit boards fitted into each and every unit that leaves our factory.

Set against a backdrop of “geopolitical movement and global component constraints,” the team began researching (and developing…) a solution. Creating something that would bridge the gap between chargepoint and user. In a nutshell, it means you can communicate with your unit via app, schedule charging for off-peak hours and have full transparency over your energy usage. Communication is then also available between the charge point and your house to facilitate dynamic load balancing, which monitors electricity usage on your home circuit and downgrades accordingly.

With this all worked out, all that was left was to turn concept into product. And for this, it was important to us to work with a team that maintained our standards and aligned with our values as British manufacturers. On top of that, they also had to work reflexively with our R&D team and have the capacity to manufacture to meet demand. You could say we were looking for someone who could give us Smart Made Simple… and SMS, “who facilitate rapid prototyping and volume manufacture,” immediately showed up on our radar.

We’ve been working with SMS for a year now and ever since it’s been the perfect match. Our R&D team “has worked closely alongside SMS to ensure our new Smart charging technology is designed for manufacture to the highest quality standards.”

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