Idaho National Laboratory experts have developed a new tool, Caldera. The foundation of the Caldera software platform is a library of high-fidelity EV charging models derived from extensive charging and battery testing data that INL has collected over the past decade. Caldera fills a clear technology gap. One set of existing tools enables simulation of transportation networks, in some cases modeling traffic down to the individual vehicle. Another set of tools provides similarly granular models of electric grids. But until Caldera, no tools accurately modeled operation of the charging infrastructure that ties together the transportation and grid systems. Caldera’s charging models accurately estimate charge power profiles, efficiency and power factors for a wide variety of vehicles and charging technologies under varying grid conditions.
This capability is critical for predicting charging impact on the grid. What’s more, Caldera enables the co-simulation of the transportation network and the grid. By linking existing simulation tools with Caldera in a co-simulation environment such as HELICS, the grid impact of EV charging demand can be accurately modeled for a variety of future transportation scenarios. Because of its high-fidelity models and co-simulation capability, Caldera is an ideal platform for developing and testing smart charging strategies designed to lessen the stress on the grid of widespread EV charging.
Caldera’s VehicleAI and InfrastructureAI modules make it possible to generate necessary forecasts and guide vehicles to make the most efficient charging decisions. The modules use machine learning to predict vehicle and charger use, grid conditions and other factors. The modules allow researchers to develop methods for coordinating, influencing and scheduling charging in advance for the benefit of drivers, charging networks and the grid.
With its charging model library, control strategy module, VehicleAI and InfrastructureAI, Caldera is a versatile tool for answering important questions about potential impacts of EV charging on the electric grid. Caldera is a copyrighted software.