Emulation and Adversarial Analysis of EV Charging Networks

Research output: NRELPresentation


In the effort of decarbonization and evolution of the modern electrical grid, electric vehicles (EVs) play a key part to transform the grid. However, due to the rapid adoption of EVs and the demand of the charging infrastructure required to power said EVs, risk of a cyber-attack may impose serious consequences. There is a need to analyze and protect the charging ecosystem infrastructure from cyber threats before it reaches wide-scale deployment. In an effort to secure vehicle to grid (V2G) communications, standardization is necessary for continued reliable system operation. The protocol ISO 15118 outlines controls and practices that should be implemented for secure vehicle to grid (V2G) communications. The standard is gaining momentum for American markets as the demand for EV infrastructure grows. The adoption of ISO 15118 in American markets poses several challenges: the deployment of a public key infrastructure (PKI) as outlined within the standard, interoperability of charging different EVs with chargers from different manufactures using the PKI, and scaling the ecosystem to meet the demand while managing risks. This project was created to understand potential cyber and scaling challenges of PKI for EV infrastructure through utilizing a series of emulated components mapping to what exists in the EV ecosystem today, and the components of the PKI that are under development. The key nodes within the emulation that are under development are: electric vehicle (EV), electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), charge network operator (CNO), certificate authority (CA), and online certificate status protocol (OCSP) that must all interact using secure and trusted communications. With these emulated components and utilizing orchestration methods to rapidly deploy and scale the components, the ability to analyze risks of the ecosystem and address gaps before the PKI ecosystem is fully deployed to production should yield a more robust and mature production charging infrastructure. Our approach will use a modular architecture of virtual machines within an orchestration platform and will target scales of 100s, 1000s, and 10,000s of entities interacting. The core research questions trying to be answered with this scope of work are: what are the impacts of a rogue CA, what are the risks of certificate revocation list (CRL) management, what is the value of OCSP stapling, what components are vulnerable to DOS attacks, and what test effective payloads may impact the components.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the escar USA Conference, 20-22 June 2023, Plymouth, Michigan

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5R00-86301


  • charging ecosystem
  • electric vehicle
  • open charge point protocol


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