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February 1, 2024
Success Story

How Synop is Tackling Cold Weather EV Charging

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Part 1: Trickle Charging in Frosty Conditions from Vermont to Alaska

In cold weather, EV battery efficiency drops significantly. Our solution? Start with a trickle charge. Maintaining this gentle, constant charge minimizes stress on the battery in frigid conditions, safeguarding its health and longevity. As the departure time approaches, our software then intelligently increases the charging rate, aiming to reach the desired State of Charge (SOC) precisely when needed.

There’s a lot of news right now about cold weather causing battery efficiency to drop significantly. Our customers managing large commercial fleets feel this impact. At Synop, we're pioneering the future of EV charging, especially in challenging cold weather conditions. One of our key strategies is to automatically implement trickle charging, followed by a ramp-up to the target SOC just before departure. An example of a Synop cold weather charging scenario below: 

At a commercial fleet depot in Vermont, Synop’s software kept the vehicles at minimal charge overnight, maintaining around 60% SOC. As departure time neared, we charged the batteries to the necessary ~92% level we calculated the vehicles needed for their route. This method ensures that the batteries are at optimal performance, despite the cold, and that the vehicles are ready to go when needed. The last thing we want is the driver getting into their vehicle in freezing conditions, only to find that it isn’t ready. 

Synop’s method has shown remarkable efficiency in places like Vermont, where the temperatures have been dropping to -20°C, or even Alaska, where the temperature has dropped to close to -40°C

Part 2: Leveraging Weather Data for Optimal Charging

Understanding that weather significantly impacts EV battery performance, Synop has integrated real-time weather data into our charging algorithms. This approach allows us to dynamically adjust the SOC based on upcoming weather conditions.

Machine Learning Meets Meteorology

Our machine learning models, enriched with historical data, establish benchmarks for typical charging needs. When a customer plans a trip, say, at 9AM with an 80% SOC requirement, our system ingests the latest weather data to adjust this benchmark. For instance, if a 20°C drop in temperature is anticipated later in the day, our software recalculates the ideal SOC for that specific journey in the new weather conditions. 

Synop also has a feedback loop in our Energy Management System that detects changes in charging caused by cold temperatures and adjusts on the fly, to make sure the EV gets to the target SOC on time.

Precision Charging for Every Journey

This integration of weather data ensures that each vehicle is charged to the level needed for its specific route, considering the anticipated weather. It's not just about reaching the destination; it's about reaching it efficiently, without overcharging or undercharging the battery.

Lessons Learned: The Importance of Durable and Interoperable Charging Solutions

Our work optimizing cold weather charging has taught us several lessons. Firstly, the importance of trusted and durable charging infrastructure- in sub-zero conditions, we’ve experienced some Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSEs) unexpectedly tripping, interrupting cold weather charging optimizations. Fortunately using Synop’s charger alerts & monitoring system we were able to resolve quickly.

Secondly, interoperability is key. A diverse range of vehicles, telematics and EVSEs use Synop software, and by having strong interoperability partnerships we’ve been able to establish seamless charging and operations during extreme conditions, when reliability is needed the most. Learn more about our interoperability lab at our HQ in Brooklyn, NY

Conclusion: Synop's Commitment to Cold Weather Charging Excellence

At Synop, we're not just developing charging technology; we're tailoring it to meet the challenges of the real world. Our innovative approach to cold weather charging, combining trickle charging strategies with weather-informed SOC adjustments, stands as a testament to our commitment to EV charging excellence, regardless of the temperature outside.

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