Autel's EV chargers and Certifications
The world of compliance can be a complicated one. Every country has their own standards and certifications that allow products to be sold in their respective regions. The basis of this is to protect consumers so that when they buy products- in our case electronic ones- they can feel safe that they have been tested to meet certain safety standards. There was a time a number of years ago where electric hover boards started exploding in popularity. With any new novelty product that gets hot in the market, no pun intended, many manufacturers flock to produce them knowing the sales will come easy. In 2015-2016 they were flooding the market due to appearances in social media, online, and generally for being a fun product. However, in early 2016 while some hover board companies applied for the UL certification, none were certified at that time (1). After numerous reports of sudden combustion and multiple cases of death, the US required the UL2272 safety standard for any hoverboards sold. There are many cases similar to this, but this one sticks out because of the relative short time period from coming to market, becoming very popular, and then having major issues leading to more stringent regulations.
So what does that mean for our products specifically? Since we are a global company selling across many continents, we adhere to the standards of the countries we sell in. Our MaxiCharger AC series of products have multiple certifications, such as the following:
UK Conformity Assessed - Also known as UKCA
This mark is fairly new and is a direct result of "Brexit." Now the UK excluding Northern Ireland is using the UKCA certification for goods previously using the CE mark.
CE is the abbreviation of "conformité européenne"
The CE mark is used for products assessed to meet high safety, health, and environmental protection requirements. Submitting your product for CE certification of course does not mean that you will meet the regulations. Some of the various supporting documents needed could include the following list among others:
-Drawings, circuit diagrams and photos
-Bill of materials
-Details of any design calculations
You should be aware of the fact that there are fake CE marks out there. If the seller is a no-name seller and has no real track record of making products, then you should be more skeptical. Getting assessed through a notified body is costly and time consuming, so you can imagine why some companies don't do it. Another important thing to note is there is another extremely similar mark called the China Export mark which is the same font and letters except the China Export mark is closer together. The official CE European mark has a noticeable space between the C and E. Even to the trained eye it can be hard to tell which CE is the European standard.
BQB or Bluetooth
Bluetooth is widely known name for headphones and computers but in fact the Bluetooth trademark must be applied for to use. By testing that a company meets the requirements set out by the Bluetooth SIG Company’s standards and paying the required fee, companies have access to the Bluetooth Intellectual property and signifies their product has met the standards set forth by the Bluetooth team.
The Measuring Instruments Directive is a directive coming out of the European Union. The simple summary would be that the directive requires a measuring or metering device that is used for accuracy in different industries with products such as electrical meters, water meters, gas meters, taximeters, etc. The need for accuracy is important in the way when you go to fill up your car with petrol or diesel you have a clear meter to tell you how many liters you have filled, and the corresponding cost. The Autel AC touchscreen is equipped with the MID certification so you and your customers have a clear understanding of how much electricity is being used for accurate and honest billing.
UL or Underwriter laboratories
UL is both a US standards body as well as a laboratory. In the US, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA created the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory or NRTL which, "Recognizes sector organizations to perform certification for certain products to ensure that they meet the requirements of both the construction and general industry OSHA electrical standards." (*2) When it comes to choosing among UL, CSA, TUV, ETL, MET, etc., it isn’t a matter of one certification being better or more important than the other. In fact, OSHA recognizes all as NRTLs. For all legal and regulatory purposes, all NRTL certifications are equivalent. Autel's EV chargers are certified to meet the UL requirements.
CSA - Canadian Standards Association for North America
The CSA mark is used for certification of electrical, mechanical and other high-risk products. It is an internationally recognized certification but is most commonly used in North America.
Taken from the CSA Group website, “A product goes through a certification process to verify that it has met the requirements that are outlined in standard(s) or other recognized document(s). Standards help to ensure that products and services meet minimum requirements for safety, performance and energy efficiency. The certification of a product is an ongoing process that involves follow up factory inspections and retail surveillance to continually ensure that the product meets the standard(s).”
Just like with CE and any form of certifications, there will be fakes out there. The best way to check if you have suspicions that a product may be falsely advertising as CSA certified is to use this link from their website: https://www.csagroup.org/testing-certification/product-listing/
RoHS - Restriction of Hazardous Substances
To become CE compliant one of the requirements is to have passed RoHS compliance testing. RoHS makes sure products don’t over the maximum amount for hazardous substances. These substances are bad for the environment and can pollute landfills. The EU RoHS regulations specify the following levels and their maximum amounts:
- Cadmium (Cd): < 100 ppm
- Lead (Pb): < 1000 ppm
- Mercury (Hg): < 1000 ppm
- Hexavalent Chromium: (Cr VI) < 1000 ppm
- Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB): < 1000 ppm
- Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): < 1000 ppm
- Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP): < 1000 ppm
- Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP): < 1000 ppm
- Dibutyl phthalate (DBP): < 1000 ppm
- Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP): < 1000 ppm
FCC – Federal Communications Commission
The FCC is a US regulatory board and any FCC marked electronic device has been tested and approved to comply with FCC standards. The tests are to determine if the electronic device meets the limits of ionizing radiation. In short, high levels of ionizing radiation can damage cells and DNA so it’s essential to make sure electronics that go to market are deemed safe.
Besides the above standards, many countries and regions have their own standards. It would take too long to list them all, but as a general rule it’s best to be aware of different continents and counties’ specific regulation requirements. If your head doesn't hurt yet then you haven't read enough about certifications across the globe. The main takeaway is if a company uses a recognized laboratory to do testing and it is a widely used mark across continents or large regions, then at a minimum you know your product has been tested by a third party to meet safety requirments and has done their due diligence in planning, designing, and manufacturing a product. If you constantly see new products popping up on Amazon and Google without any such certifications as mentioned in this article, it's very possible they are rushing to market to make sales, but haven't gone through the stringent tests to make sure their products are safe.