Cooperation on eMobility standardization was the focus of discussion during a Transatlantic Roundtable organized by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC), and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which took place in Brussels, Belgium, from November 28 to 29. The event brought together technical experts from industry, government, and other stakeholders from both sides of the Atlantic to compare and discuss standardization priorities for electric vehicles (EVs) outlined in the October 2011 Report of the CEN- CENELEC Focus Group on European Electro-Mobility and the April 2012 Standardization Roadmap for Electric Vehicles – Version 1.0, developed by the ANSI Electric Vehicles Standards Panel (EVSP). Information was shared on cooperative efforts already underway among organizations involved in electric vehicle standardization such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), SAE International, and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL).
The discussions in Brussels last week concentrated on four key areas:
- Coupler safety and interoperability, fast charging: Many relevant international standards are already in place or in progress. Dialogue between the different standards organizations is improving, and industry is working to make ISO and IEC standards address the different charging scenarios as comprehensively as possible, for instance through incorporating the SAE J1772 combo coupler. There will always be some slight differences in coupler configurations as a result of specific regional electric grid requirements.
- Vehicle-to-grid communications – integrating the electric vehicle with its infrastructure: There is a need for common standards for communication between the vehicle and the grid, and to address roaming of electric vehicles and smart charging. Harmonization of the communication protocols is already taking place between IEC and SAE but further work is needed. Efforts are also underway to address various interoperability issues when an EV is roaming between charging networks and to address communication of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) metering data. As smart grid technologies continue to evolve, communications interoperability will require intensified collaboration among relevant actors, including automakers, charging network and utility providers, and standards bodies.
- Wireless charging: Early cooperation among standardizers is taking place, including at the international level, and will help to avoid future compatibility issues. Safety aspects and seamless charging are challenges that standardization must address.
- Safety of electric vehicle infrastructure and batteries: Much standards work has been undertaken to ensure the safety of lithium-ion batteries and EVSE. Additional investigation into safe storage, transport and interoperability aspects of EV batteries is needed, for example to support the battery exchange infrastructure market, and extensive work is still needed on testing in line with standards.
Participants acknowledged that a number of organizations produce globally relevant standards following open, transparent, and consensus-based processes. While one global standard is always the preferred objective, intellectual property, copyright, and commercial issues sometimes result in more than one standards organization working on the same or similar issues. Regulatory and/or infrastructure differences between regions can also result in variations. In order to prevent the proliferation of conflicting standards, the meeting participants agreed to continue their cooperation on promoting and enabling the harmonization and alignment of standards in this area. Participants also recognized that governments, including the European Commission and other inter-governmental bodies, must play their part by working towards the increased harmonization of relevant laws and regulations.
The decision to organize the Transatlantic eMobility Standardization Roundtable was prompted by the eMobility work plan put forward by the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) in November 2011, and following comments made by Karel De Gucht, European trade commissioner, and Michael Froman, U.S. deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs, at an October 2011 ANSI-ESO conference on transatlantic partnerships that can promote economic growth.
In a video message to the roundtable participants, Froman remarked, “By working closely on emerging technologies like electric vehicles at an early stage, we can avoid creating unnecessary barriers to trade and investment that many of our countries and their workers face.”
In response to a request from Froman to identify the standardization priorities for 2013 and how government can help, participants agreed that the priority areas discussed at the meeting will continue to be the focus of attention next year. In addition to supporting a call from Froman for regulatory harmonization to support standardization, participants were also supportive of a proposal he made to leverage the work of the EV-Smart Grid Interoperability Center at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), established as part of the TEC work plan. These two facilities are expected to play a leading role in sharing research data and testing methodologies to support EV standardization.
Both Froman and Phillipe Jean, head of unit, sustainable mobility and automotive industry, in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry, urged support for two informal working groups on EV safety and the environment that the United States and Europe led in creating within the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29 of UN-ECE). This body works to develop global technical regulations for the industry.
Jean reported that the Commission has adopted a CARS 2020 European strategy paper for the automotive industry and will propose a legislative measure in 2013 for the EV recharging plug if industry is not able to agree which standardized option should be applied for plug and socket outlets for dedicated charging stations. He also reported that the Commission had recently developed new type approval tests to address EV battery safety issues.
Andrew McCall, executive director of governmental affairs for Ford of Europe, and a member of the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue (TABD), also called for regulatory harmonization and standardization to help companies reduce operating costs and create opportunities for the EV market to thrive. He applauded the progress that has been made via the TEC process, where Ford, Audi, and the TABD had worked with other industry players and public authorities on both sides of the Atlantic to produce the eMobility work plan. He called upon the governments to endorse the industry agreement on the combo coupler to facilitate the development of the EV charging infrastructure.
David Dossett, CENELEC president, and S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO, co-chaired the roundtable. “Much progress has been made since 2009 when CEN and CENELEC and ANSI first started to discuss this issue and there has been a great willingness to work collaboratively,” remarked David Dossett. “This was a highly constructive dialogue to facilitate ongoing cooperation on shared near-term priorities, one that will move us closer to global harmonization on important aspects of EV standardization,” added Bhatia.