SAE International is excellent for activity within the automotive industry. However, other Standards Development Organizations (SDO) such as IEC, ISO, UL and NEMA have different areas of responsibility.
Standardizing EV Systems and Components
Rich Byczek | Intertek
Sales of electric vehicles have not increased as dramatically as forecasters initially predicted. Do you think EV has a future, and how soon can we expect EVs to reach a critical mass?
EV definitely has a future. We must consider first that there is a worldwide market. While I have personally seen the U.S. EV momentum level off, Europe and Asia development activity has increased. In terms of critical mass, I expect we will see a period where fleet vehicles will be able to justify a total cost of ownership before the average consumer will.
Are there competing EV charge station plugs? If so, can the industry agree on harmonization?
Although there are multiple plugs worldwide, the key is harmonization on protocols. From my involvement on several standards panels, I have seen the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and SAE International harmonize the charging communication and interlock protocols for EV charging, although there may be different regional connectors. The key here will be interoperability. We have been working with clients and the standards organizations to develop interoperability test protocols to ensure that a vehicle will be able to reliably charge with any compatible connector.
SAE International recently released a new standard for EV charge station plugs or connectors called the “Combo” plug. What is unique about this standard?
The combo plug provides two major innovations: A common connector location to support both AC and DC charging (a single “gas cap” for charging on the vehicle) and backwards compatibility with the already-in-use SAE J1772 AC connector.
What other EV components need to be standardized in order to make the industry more efficient in production and operation?
Again, from the standards activities, I have seen focus on commonizing performance parameters and battery module sizes. This effort is to allow for development and optimization at the battery cell level while providing some standardized building blocks and interchangeability. This is similar to the group sizes we see on the legacy lead acid starter batteries.
Should SAE International be considered the best organization to develop standards for the EV industry or are there others to consider?
I sit on the ANSI EVSP (EV Standards Panel), which has published a standards roadmap for the U.S. including the identification and priority for the remaining gaps in EV standards development. SAE International is excellent for activity within the automotive industry. However, other Standards Development Organizations (SDO) such as IEC, ISO, UL and NEMA have different areas of responsibility. ANSI has taken a lead role, not as an SDO but as a coordinator. Through the EVSP roadmap, we have provided some guidance to the SDOs and promoted harmonization efforts in Asia and Europe through “summit” meetings.
There have been a series of bankruptcies in the alternative energy space including companies heavily involved in solar, wind and EV. Is this an indication that a viable market is not achievable?
We see that the alternative energy market does have a viable future, as evidenced by our investments in providing market access in these areas. For example, in Intertek’s photovoltaic energy group we have a team dedicated to “bankability” testing: evaluating a new technology to help them prove the viability of their product to potential investors. As with any technology, there are many competing solutions and the viability of the industry will be found in some but not all of those solutions.
What does a manufacturer need to consider when choosing an EV/EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) supplier in this industry given the volatility?
For EVSE, the technology is relatively mature so selecting an EVSE supplier is more of a business decision than a technology choice. In the area of batteries, there are more variables in terms of manufacturing quality systems and cost of technology so some sort of bankability/suitability test regime may be beneficial.
For the near future, from a global perspective, where do you expect to see growth? Do you expect differences in the battery/EV/EVSE industry in particular?
I see the near term growth in the international markets and fleet vehicles. Fleets, with dedicated routes, internalized charging infrastructure and longer usage cycles, can realize a better total cost of ownership than passenger vehicles. The international market will be highly driven by regulation and government efforts to develop infrastructure.
Rich Byczek is the global technical lead for electric vehicle and energy storage at Intertek. He has 16 years of experience in product development and validation testing, eight of which have been spent at Intertek. Rich is also an expert in the areas of energy storage, audio equipment and EMC.
He holds an electrical engineering degree from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Mich., and is based at the Intertek facility located in Detroit, Mich.
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