TC work supports EV market expansion

As the number and variety of EVs continues to grow, IEC TC 69 work will remain central to the marketplace

By Morand Fachot

Electric vehicles (EVs) are on the move. Their impact on the automotive and industrial vehicle sectors will continue to grow in coming decades, not just in terms of volume, but also of value. IEC Technical Committee (TC) 69: Electric road vehicles and electric industrial trucks, which develops International Standards for the sector and works closely together with other IEC TCs, will be central to this expansion.

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A fast expanding market

Electrification of road transport and of industrial vehicles is growing globally.

This huge market is expected to exceed USD 533 billion by 2025, according to IDTechEx (which, however, includes in its forecast all road, water, air, civilian, military and commercial EVs).
 Currently most of the attention is focused on electric cars, the most visible and the largest (by volume) segment of the EV industry. This market, driven by tightening emission standards in many countries, is currently concentrated on North America, Western Europe and Asia (China, Japan and India).

There were some 740 000 electric cars on roads in 2014, half of them registered in 2014 alone, according to a study by Germany's Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW). Many countries have plans to put millions of EVs on the roads by 2025.

Another category of personal transport vehicles that is experiencing very fast growth is that of electric two- and three-wheelers (e-PTWs).

Volume doesn’t equate with profit margin

However, in the EV sector, high volumes do not necessarily translate into higher profit margins. This can already be observed in domains such as public transport (buses), indoor forklifts, mobile cranes and airport ground equipment.

IDTechEx estimates that in 2025 more than two-thirds of the EV market value (including road, water and air EVs) will be in EVs other than cars or e-PTWs, despite these sectors demonstrating much smaller sales volumes.

TC 69 notes that "The electric drive train technology with its on-board components is also used in hybrid vehicles which are now penetrating the market, as well as in fuel cell vehicles which are being developed for the future".

EV batteries, motors and other parts are often similar, whether the vehicles are for land, water or air usage, and are often made by the same companies.

Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, hybrid with range extenders, battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicle types are available in both personal and commercial EV sectors.

IEC International Standards underpin EV growth

EVs were introduced more than a century ago and at one point were more popular than vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. However they later lost ground to the latter, becoming rather unusual objects as decades passed.

As they have reappeared on roads, the need for International Standards has emerged. The IEC has been involved in EV standardization for a long time through IEC TC 69, which was created in 1969.

Its remit is “to prepare International Standards for road vehicles totally or partially electrically-powered from self- contained power sources, including charging infrastructure for these vehicles, and for electric industrial trucks”.

The growing number of new countries opting for participating status in TC 69 and of experts reflects the mounting global interest in EVs. As of April 2015, 27 Participating and 14 Observer countries were represented in TC 69 with some 220 experts active in its work.

TC 69 laid the groundwork for modern EVs in the early 1980s with a series of Technical Reports (TRs) on “rotating electrical machines (traction motors and auxiliary motors) of electric road vehicles including hybrids, which are fed from the main traction battery” as well as on “wiring and connectors, instrumentation and controllers for electric road vehicles”.

The bulk of TC 69 work focuses on charging issues which include both conductive and wireless power transfer. It also develops International Standards for “Test methods for electrical characteristics electric double-layer capacitors for use in hybrid EVs”, in liaison with IEC TC 40: Capacitors and resistors for electronic equipment.

A tale of many TCs

Enabling it to play a central role in standardization for EVs, TC 69 liaises with many other IEC TCs and Subcommittees (SCs) as well as with various SCs of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), such as TC 22: road vehicles. TC 69 has also established informal coordination with other organizations such as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC), the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the Japanese Electric Vehicle Association (JEVA).

Since energy for EVs is supplied mainly by batteries, TC 69 liaises closely with TC 21: Secondary cells and batteries, and its SCs.

TC 69 also works with the following IEC TCs and SCs:

  • TC 64: Electrical installations and protection against electric shock
  • SC 121B: Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies
  • TC 77: Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), the International special committee on radio interference (CISPR), and the IEC Advisory Committee on Electromagnetic Compatibility (ACEC), to ensure compliance with EMC and RFI (radio frequency interference) Standards
  • SC 23E: Circuit-breakers and similar equipment for household use
  • SC 23H: Plugs, socket-outlets and couplers for industrial and similar applications, and for electric vehicles. The SC develops International Standards in the IEC 62196 series for “Plugs, socket-outlets, vehicle connectors and vehicle inlets for the conductive charging of EVs”

TC 69 stresses that “the ongoing liaison-cooperation with ISO TC22/SC21: Electrically propelled road vehicles, is essential for the realization of efficient vehicle-related standards and needs to continue”.

Connecting to the grid

Anticipating the growth in the volume of EVs on the roads requires addressing issues relating to the special structure necessary to charge EVs and communication issues that exist between the two. To achieve this, experts from IEC TC 69 and from a number of ISO TC 22 SCs working within TC 69/JWG 1 (Joint Working Group): Vehicle-to-grid communication interface (V2GCI), are developing the ISO 15118 series of International Standards for V2GCI. Two Standards have been published in this series so far and more are under development.

Communication between EVs and the grid will become increasingly important as smart grids are rolled out in a growing number of countries, with EVs acting as storage devices and feeding power to the grid when needed.

TC 69 also takes part in other JWGs with IEC TC 21 and its SC 21A.

With the growing EV market for cars, commercial and industrial vehicles showing no sign of slowing down, TC 69 standardization activities will continue to sustain the expansion of this market for the foreseeable future.

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