The evolution of CharIN interoperability testing events in North America 

The automotive technology of tomorrow is being actively developed today, particularly with regards to the transition to electromobility. In the future, smart charging in accordance with ISO 15118 will become the norm. Today, it is crucial that interoperability is ensured through detailed testing. This testing initiative in 2014 as an open, non-profit event that complemented the ISO 15118 Joint Working Group meetings. Since then, significant progress has been made to expand the number of participants and the technical complexity of these testing events, which evolved into the Testivals (‘testing festivals’) we all know and love today. Here is an overview of the annual testing events in North America since the first CharIN Testival in 2018 (the 2020 event had to be cancelled due to the COVID pandemic): 

  • 2018: The first CharIN North America Testing event was at the NextEnergy facility in Detroit, Michigan. The event was attended by 93 testers and testing observers and 19 testing companies.
  • 2019: CharIN collaborated with Electrify America to support the 11th International Testing Symposium in Reston, Virginia at the Center of Excellence laboratory, which hosted more than 200 testers/observers and 23 testing companies.
  • 2021: The CharIN Testival was hosted at the Lucid facilities in Newark, California and included 118 testers/observers and 28 testing companies.
  • 2022: The CharIN Testival was hosted at the Daimler Truck North America facility (Electric Island) in Portland, Oregon and grew to 240 testers/observers and 33 testing companies.
  • 2023: The 2023 Vehicle Interoperability Testing Symposium (VOLTS) hosted at the WattEV facility in the Port of Long Beach, California saw over 400 testers/observers and 38 testing companies.
Caption: Photos from the first CharIN North America Testing event at the NextEnergy facility in Detroit, Michigan in 2018. 

VOLTS – the largest testing event CharIN organized to date -- hosted over 46 pieces of equipment within 23 testing bays, yielding a total of 182 test pairings over the course of two days. The reason for this sizable jump in participation was largely due to increased demand for interoperability and the financial support provided by the California Energy Commission, which subsidized the price of tester/observer tickets and the cost to test equipment.  

Caption: CharIN North America’s Testivals have seen growth in participation nearly every year between 2018-2023 due to increased demand for interoperability testing and the growth of the EV market. Note: The 2020 event was cancelled due to the global pandemic and the attendance in 2021 was diminished due to lingering effects of the pandemic. 

Evolution of the CharIN Testivals 

Over the years there have been three major changes in CharIN Testivals: 

1) The number of participants has experienced a remarkable increase. This increase demonstrates the growing interest and involvement in the development of this technology and the commitment by participants to provide a seamless and interoperable charging experience for consumers. 

2) The test devices utilized during these events have evolved from mere controllers to encompass full-scale chargers and vehicles. This shift highlights the availability of real products in the market and the ongoing development of even more advanced solutions. As a result, the Testival has transformed into a professional community event, which provides peer-to-peer learning, networking, and improvement of the charging experience through alignment among EV and EVSE engineering teams.   

3) The quality of test cases executed at these events has seen tremendous improvements. Initially, meeting the requirements of SLAC (Signal Level Attenuation Characterization) posed a significant challenge for almost all participants. However, as the technology has advanced, standard DC charging has become commonplace, allowing participants to focus on testing more complicated protocol sequences such as charging schedules, specialized shutdown procedures, or certificate exchange.  

Caption: Photo from the VOLTS Testing Symposium at the WattEV Facility in Long Beach, California in 2023. 

Most recently, the VOLTS event was the first CharIN testing event to have a prescribed test plan. The results of testing (anonymized and aggregated), provided a first-ever industry-wide measurement of ISO 15118 compliance, which will be available for download on the CharIN website in early August. 

Overall, the progress made in terms of increased participation, the availability of real products, and the enhanced quality of test cases at these events reflects the rapid advancement of automotive technology and its promising future in the field of electromobility. 

Value of Testivals to the CharIN community 

The evolution of CharIN testing events in recent years can be seen in the significant increase in the number of test pairings within a short timeframe. The alternative is a much more resource-intense process requiring OEMs to schedule interoperability testing over a longer period and shipping equipment all over the country (or world). Testers often claim that they can accomplish the same amount of interoperability testing in the span of two days that they would normally accomplish in one year. Testivals streamline this process by providing a central platform where multiple companies can come together, saving everyone valuable time and resources. 

An essential aspect that sets these Testivals apart is their global reach, with events taking place on different continents. This geographic diversity allows local companies to choose a venue that suits their needs and accessibility. This collaborative and inclusive approach fosters innovation and accelerates progress in the automotive industry. By bringing together a wide array of vehicles, charging stations, and test systems, participants can more easily identify compatibility issues, develop solutions, and establish interoperability standards. 

Vector Informatik’s perspective of CharIN Testivals 

Because of the high value of Testivals, Vector has participated in all CharIN’s testing events since 2014 underlining the company’s commitment to showcasing its comprehensive e-mobility portfolio in various areas such as EV, EVSE, and tester solutions. The more popular Vector products provided at past Testivals are the CANoe Test Package EV and CANoe Test Package EVSE.  

Caption: Photo of Vector equipment and team members from the VOLTS Testing Symposium at the WattEV Facility in Long Beach, California in 2023. 

With these test packages, customers can effectively execute ISO 15118 conformance tests according to ISO 15118-4 and -5 testing standards. Customers gain valuable feedback on their implementation through dedicated test reports, which provide a comprehensive breakdown of the full PLC (Power Line Communication) traffic. The report presents each message and signal individually in a human-readable format, allowing easy analysis and interpretation of the results. 

In combination with VH5110A (also called “CCS Listener”), customers analyze digital communication between the EV and EVSE when they are directly connected, without the need for an external test device. This feature enables an in-depth evaluation of the communication protocol and ensures seamless interoperability between the EV and EVSE. 

Moreover, Vector's vSECC customers use these Testivals as an opportunity to verify and validate their EVSE products. By leveraging the test environment and expertise provided by Vector, customers can ensure the compliance, functionality, and performance of their EVSE solutions. 

By having a consistent presence at the Testivals, Vector demonstrates its commitment to the advancement and standardization of e-mobility technology. By offering comprehensive testing packages and solutions, Vector supports its customers in the robust and reliable implementation of ISO 15118 standards, fostering the growth and adoption of electric vehicle technologies. 

The Future of CharIN Testivals in North America 

CharIN is committed to growing and expanding interoperability testing activities throughout North America starting with the creation of 2-4 permanent industry-led EV/EVSE testing facilities across the United States over the next two years. As announced on June 7, 2023 in a ‘Call for Partners’ press release, CharIN North America officially launched a campaign actively seeking partners to help establish these sites. 

These sites would provide the latest-and-greatest in EVSE hardware and software for any EV manufacturer to use year-round. Further, these sites would host CharIN Testivals to encourage peer-to-peer learning, networking, and improvement of the charging experience through alignment among EV and EVSE engineering teams with the goal of improving the customer experience and reliability.  

CharIN believes that all industry participants should have access to reliable and affordable testing to ensure products going to market are consumer-friendly and the public charging experience is flawless and simple. Our goal for the testing sites is to serve as a resource for the broader industry to advance our shared mutual goal of fully interoperable charging using open standards and prevent cost and access from being a barrier to entry.   

Caption: Photo from the VOLTS Testing Symposium in 2023. 

Testivals have become more than just a place to test equipment. They have become a place to educate, share, and foster a community of practice. Testing events have become a favorite activity for many CharIN members and are often co-located with other educational content, such as conferences and focus group meetings. CharIN Testivals have become a highly recognized and celebrated event across the globe with several Testivals per year in the EU, North America, and Asia. They are often considered among the most valued CharIN member benefits.  

CharIN North America looks forward to hosting these events several times per year and for many years to come, thanks in large part to the support of Testival site hosts, participants, and sponsors, such as Vector Informatik. 

Stay tuned for the announcement of the next CharIN North America Testival event in late 2023.  

If you are interested in becoming a Testival event site host, sponsor, participant, or supporting the development of a permanent testing facility in North America, please contact  

Related members

News Info

Published on: 07/06/2023

This article was sponsored by Vector Informatik GmbH as part of the 2023 Vehicle Interoperability Testing Symposium (VOLTS) hosted by CharIN. All of the sponsors for the VOLTS event are listed at

About Vector Informatik GmbH: 

In the field of electric mobility, Vector products ensure a rapid and sustainable development of electric vehicles and charging stations as well as the efficient operation of charging infrastructure. Vector supplies developers of vehicles, charging stations and inductive charging systems with extensive test systems, controllers and bespoke software. 

Moreover, Vector enables efficient charging of vehicles and the monitoring of the charging process with charging and load management software. For more information, please go to the Vector website at

About CharIN Inc.  
The Charging Interface Initiative (CharIN) Inc. (dba CharIN North America) serves as a leading industry association bringing CharIN’s global approach to decarbonization through the electrification of North American transport. Convening together industrywide e-mobility stakeholders, including automakers, charging station manufacturers, component suppliers, energy providers, government officials, and grid operators, our organization assists members in coordinating, advancing, and advocating for interoperability across electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Driving forward the widely-adopted charging standards like the Combined Charging System (CCS) and the Megawatt Charging System (MCS) platforms, CharIN works to ensure all electric vehicles – from light-duty passenger cars to freight trucks, e-ferries, ships, and planes – can work seamlessly with available charging stations and services. CharIN serves as a pivotal, unified voice for industry-standard, interoperable charging technologies and best practices, working with federal, state, and local regulatory agencies and policymakers to unleash innovation and encourage the rapid adoption of electric vehicles in municipal, commercial, and private use. 

About CharIN e.V.  
The Charging Interface Initiative (CharIN) is the leading global association with over 320 international members dedicated to promoting interoperability based on the Combined Charging System (CCS) and the Megawatt Charging System (MCS) as the global standard for charging vehicles of all kinds. Our goals include expanding the global network of companies supporting CCS, drafting requirements to accelerate the evolution of charging related standards, and defining a certification system for all manufacturers implementing CCS in their products.  

News contacts

Erika Myers

Executive Director, Charging Interface Initiative North America (CharIN Inc.)

Related News