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Science and Technology Partnerships and Outreach

Supply Equipment Communication Controller for EV Charge Stations

Argonne has designed a custom SpEC” (Smart-grid plugin EV Communication) module to enable high level communication (HLC) between the charger and electric vehicle.
Intellectual Property Available to License
  • PB-20-060 GEN II SpEC Module Hardware Design Files
  • SF-20-060A GEN I & II SpEC Module SECC EV Charging Stack (DIN 70121 & ISO-15118)
  • SF-20-060 GEN II SpEC Module Board Support Package
  • SF-13-030 Electric Vehicle and Supply Equipment Communication Controller Linux Kernel

Citation: Harper, J., Development and Implementation of SAE DC Charging Digital Communication for Plug-in Electric Vehicle DC Charging,” SAE Technical Paper 2013-01-1188, 2013, https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​4​2​7​1​/​2​0​1​3​-​0​1​-1188.

The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program is working towards establishing a comprehensive network comprising of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors. Through the NEVI Program, individual states will receive dedicated funding to strategically deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure, fostering an interconnected network that facilitates data collection, ensures accessibility, and enhances overall reliability (NEVI - Environment - FHWA (dot​.gov)).

With the implementation of the NEVI Program, there arises a demand for both AC and DC chargers. To enable DC charging, a supply equipment communication controller (SECC) must be implemented in the DC charger. The SECC acts as a bridge between the DC charger power electronics and the electric vehicle’s battery management system implementing high level communication via the HomePlug GreenPHY (HPGP) power line communication (PLC) standard. The Argonne SpEC module can be configured as the main controller of an AC or DC charger.

Custom firmware has been written to support the following standardized communication protocols:

  • ISO-15118-20
  • ISO-15118-2
  • DIN 70121
  • SAE J2847/2

The Argonne SpEC module is also capable of digitally interfacing with all Tesla models via the Tesla proprietary CAN protocol via Single-Wire CAN (SWCAN) over the control pilot. 

In addition to electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) to plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) communication, the SECC also supports OCPP 1.6J for charger to charge station management system communication.  This implementation has been self-certified utilizing the OCA 1.6J OCTT.


The SpEC module can be configured as both an SECC or EVCC.  Most applications to date have focused on the SECC application (both AC and DC). The controller board is based on a 500 MHz ARM Cortex-A5 CPU. The SpEC module supports the latest Linux kernels and distributions. In addition to HPGP over the pilot, the SpEC module also supports PLC over the AC mains with a 2nd dedicated HPGP circuit. The SpEC module has all of the analog interfaces to support both SECC and EVCC deployment for both AC and DC charging. The SpEC module supports CAN, I2C, SPI, USB, SWCAN and Serial communications. The SpEC module also has a built-in AC/DC Energy meter. The controller board natively supports Ethernet communication and all other forms of IP based communication via USB adapters (Wi-Fi, Cellular, etc.). 


Environmental Operating Temperature -30°C to +50°C.
Storage Temperature -40°C to +80°C.
Memory and Storage SDRAM Memory 512 MB DDR3 @ 166MHz
Flash Memory 4 GB eMMC Flash onboard with additional external micro SD card slot
Interfaces Power Line Communication HomePlug Green PHY: AC Mains
HomePlug Green PHY: Control Pilot
USB 2.0 2 HOST controllers
Ethernet RJ-45 10/100 Ethernet interface
Control Pilot Generation (EVSE) and Emulation (PEV)
Proximity Monitoring and Generation
CAN 2 CAN interfaces
Tesla (Single Wire Can) Rx/Tx Single Wire Can over Pilot
AC Current Input for CT to measure AC current (AC charging)
DC Current Input for DC current sensor to measure DC current (DC charging)
AC Voltage Input for AC Voltage for AC meter
DC Voltage Input for DC Voltage for DC meter
12VDC Switches Dual 2A, 12VDC switches for contactors
DPDT AC Relays Quad SPST SSR’s for driving external AC contactors
EV Inlet Lock Driver 12VDC Driver for EV inlet lock
Temperature Sensor external input and onboard temperature sensor
GFCI Ground Fault Interrupt CT input
GPIO 5 externally accessible GPIO
ADC 4 externally accessible ADC
JTAG JTAG for Debugging
UARTS 3 UARTS for serial communication
Power AC Input Voltage 85-265 VAC
DC Input Voltage 9-24 VDC
Quiescent Current < 200µA in ultra-low power mode
Modes of Operation EVCC Electric Vehicle Communication Controller
SECC Supply Equipment Communication Controller

Why License this Technology?

Argonne’s SpEC module can be found in 1000’s of DC chargers around the world today. By licensing a proven technology from a world leader in EV charging communication, your time to market is decreased exponentially. In addition to being provided all source schematics and board layout files (for customization), licensees will get access to custom firmware applications to enable EV charging communication.


Argonne is seeking commercialization partners for exclusive and nonexclusive licensing in defined fields-of-use.