IEC Announces Step Forward for Global EV Roll-out

February 02, 2011 by Jeff Shepard

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and e8,a global organization of 10 world leading electricity companies, claim that they have brought together all major stakeholders that need to collaborate to accelerate the global roll-out of EVs (Electric Vehicles). At this high-level international round table that took place in Washington DC, USA, all participants confirmed that the IEC’s existing and proposed International Standards for EV charging satisfy their global needs.

Until now, little communication took place at an 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. 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 technologies that will enable a more energy-efficient future, utilities are simply expected to deliver the "fuel" that will drive those electric cars. However, without significant investment into infrastructure, a broad EV roll-out will remain fiction.

Said 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 industry association SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and 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 using IEC, ISO and ITU (International Telecommunication Union) 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.