A giant step for EVs

IEC and e8 organize first international meeting uniting all EV stakeholders

By Gabriela Ehrlich

For the very first time all EV (Electric Vehicle) stakeholders, including utilities, car and equipment manufacturers and key industry and standardization bodies participated in a high-level strategic round table event organized by the IEC and e8. This event took place on January 19, 2011 in Washington DC, USA.

e8 group photo High-level representatives of automotive and equipment manufacturers, utilities, industry association and standardization bodies meeting in Washington

Until now, little communication took place at the international level between automotive manufacturers, electric equipment suppliers and utilities to coordinate work around EVs. For the very first time, the IEC, in cooperation with e8 has provided them with a global platform to discuss mutual needs and requirements.

The objective of the round table was to determine priorities for the development of EV-related standards, to define future needs, and to accelerate the broad adoption of the relevant international standards that will enable global interoperability and connectivity.

The stakes in EVs are high and growing. The car industry considers EVs as one of the key solutions for maintaining sustainable individual transportation. Governments increasingly push for electrified transportation to reduce CO2 emissions as one of the tools to fight climate change. In his recent talk, President Obama stated that he wants to see one million EVs on US roads by 2015. Many leaders around the world have similar ambitious targets. Today only approximately 1% of electricity produced is used in transportation while this sector contributes to roughly 20% of CO2 emissions.

While all parties work intensely on developing the technologies that will enable a more energy efficient future, utilities are simply expected to deliver the “fuel” that drives those electric cars. However, without significant investment into infrastructure, a broad EV roll-out will remain fiction.

Says Frank Kitzantides, former IEC Vice-President, who chaired the round table as IEC senior technology consultant: “To make mass charging possible, global solutions are needed.  Charging systems must be user-friendly, largely the same, and safe and easy to operate and use. To achieve this, all stakeholders need to cooperate to better understand each other’s role.”

To ensure sufficient energy supply and to develop the necessary charging infrastructures, future e-mobility developments must be considered and to achieve this, all stakeholders need to be involved. Standardization must be quick and international to achieve global technology roll-out and durable infrastructure development without market fragmentation due to incompatible charging systems.

In Washington, the IEC offered a platform for high-level representatives of major car manufacturers, including BMW, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault and Toyota, and equipment manufacturers such as Eaton, General Electric, Hubbell and Schneider to sit together with utilities such as AEP, Duke, EDF, Electrobras, Hydro Quebec, Kansai Electric Power, State Grid Corporation of China and TEPCO. These organizations were joined by EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) as well as ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

All stakeholders confirmed that the IEC’s existing and proposed International Standards for EV charging (on the charger side: plug, socket and cord; on the vehicle side: connector and inlet), satisfy their global needs. Four charging modes have been retained, covering AC and DC charging.

The good news: all participants underlined their preference for IEC, ISO and ITU international standards.

Finally, all parties underlined the importance and usefulness of this new joint platform initiated by the IEC and e8. Follow-up meetings are already being planned.

Powering EVs – IEC work

TC 69: Electric road vehicles and electric industrial trucks has developed – among others - the IEC 61851-1 conductive charging standard. This standard foresees four modes for the charging of EVs:

  • Mode 1 (AC) – slow charging from a standard household-type socket-outlet
  • Mode 2 (AC) – slow charging from a standard household-type socket-outlet with an in-cable protection device
  • Mode 3 (AC) – slow or fast charging using a specific EV socket-outlet and plug with control and protection function permanently installed
  • Mode 4 (DC) – fast charging using an external charger

SC 23H: Industrial plugs and socket outlets published IEC 62196-1 covering general requirements for EV connectors and is currently close to finalizing IEC 62196-2, which standardizes the following elements needed for AC charging:

  • Type 1 – single phase vehicle coupler (vehicle connector and inlet), for example Yazaki or SAE J1772 (Japan, North America)
  • Type 2 – single and three phase vehicle coupler and mains plug and socket-outlet without shutters, for example VDE-AR-E 2623-2-2
  • Type 3 – single and three phase vehicle coupler and mains plug and socket-outlet with shutters, for example SCAME plug developed by the EV Plug Alliance

SC 23H is also developing IEC 62196-3 (DC) on requirements for the vehicle coupler. The work is still at an early stage and several proposals are on the table, including the DC quick charging CHAdeMO coupler as well as the possibility to use the same vehicle inlet both for DC and AC charging.

e8 group photo High-level representatives of automotive and equipment manufacturers, utilities, industry association and standardization bodies meeting in Washington
Chademo coupler CHAdeMO coupler
VDE-AR-E 2623-2-2 charging system VDE-A-E 2623-2-2 charging system