The Development of National Standards

Oct. 1, 2011
Co-chair of the EVSP and senior vice president of external affairs and government relations for Schneider Electric

Since the launch of autos like the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt, electric vehicles are picking up steam in terms of popularity. Still, there’s a lot to do to pave the way for use of these vehicles to become widespread. Utility infrastructure, charging stations, education and training of automotive technicians and emergency first responders—all those areas need attention. That prompted the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to create the Electric Vehicles Standards Panel (EVSP). The panel has no small task: It’s charged with establishing standardization suggestions that will enable electric vehicles to take off here in the states.

FenderBender sat down with Jim Pauley, co-chair of the EVSP and senior vice president of external affairs and government relations for Schneider Electric, to discuss electric vehicle standards.

Why is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) the right group to tackle standardization issues for electric vehicles?

ANSI is a nonprofit organization that functions as an umbrella for standardization and conformity assessment systems in the United States. The organization is not a government-based entity. But it’s looked at, both by the private and government sectors, as the place to talk about standardization issues. It is considered a thought leader in establishing roadmaps for standardization. It accredits standards development groups across various industries.

ANSI also represents the United States within international standards organizations, like the International Electrotechnical Commission and the International Organization for Standardization. For example, ANSI will represent U.S. viewpoints within those organizations during discussion regarding electric vehicle standardization.

“We want to create a roadmap, an actual document, which will outline the various areas that must work together to effectively mass deploy electric vehicles.”
  —Jim Pauley, co-chair, Electric Vehicles Standards Panel

Why does ANSI feel the electric vehicle space is an area that needs standards?

There is a lot of government discussion happening regarding electric vehicles; it’s part of the United States’ overall energy strategy. President Barack Obama, in his 2011 State of the Union address, announced the goal to have one million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015.

At the same time, auto manufacturers are trying to figure out how to best deploy electric vehicles, and infrastructure organizations are trying to figure out how to most effectively charge these vehicles. ANSI looked at this landscape and recognized a disconnect between all of these entities. We need to be talking about these issues as one group.

So what is ANSI doing to address this?

To help accommodate this major shift in our national automotive landscape, ANSI convened a codes and standards needs assessment workshop in April. The event, held on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Idaho National Laboratory, brought together 120 individuals from a range of stakeholder groups to discuss electric vehicle issues that need to be addressed through standards. Those stakeholder groups included standards organizations, the electrotechnical industry, the automotive industry, the utility industry, representatives from the public sector and consumers.

One common theme that emerged from the workshop was the need for greater coordination, participation and harmonization of standardization efforts on behalf of those stakeholders. Participants agreed it is necessary to have a standardization roadmap in place to help them navigate and understand various activities that are taking place with regard to electric vehicles. That is what led to the creation of the Electric Vehicles Standards Panel (EVSP).

What is the overall purpose of the Electric Vehicles Standards Panel (EVSP)?

The EVSP is not actually going to write any standards that need to be created for electric vehicles. We want to create a roadmap, an actual document, which will outline the various areas that must work together to effectively mass deploy electric vehicles. We want to identify standards activity that is happening—or needs to happen—to support that.

Our primary goal is the safe implementation of electric vehicles. That is where careful consideration of standards and conformance is key. The work of the EVSP on the roadmap will help achieve that objective.

So what is the EVSP doing to make this roadmap a reality?

We held our first meeting in June. We divided EVSP participants into eight working groups:

• energy storage systems

• vehicle components

• vehicle-user interface

• charging stations

• infrastructure communications

• infrastructure installation

• user interface for infrastructure

• education and training

Those working groups began going through their particular industries to identify standards that have already been created, and issues they know need to be addressed. Right now, those working groups are figuring out where standards need to be put in place. We will have a document, the “U.S. Roadmap for Electric Vehicle Standardization,” by the early part of 2012.

What will happen once that document—the U.S. Roadmap for Electric Vehicle Standardization—is created?

The roadmap will be widely available. Our objective is to get all of the organizations that do write standards—the Society of Automotive Engineers, the National Electrical Contractors Association, and the National Fire Protection Association, for example—to create specific standards based on the issues the EVSP highlights within that roadmap.

The roadmap will become a powerful and valuable resource for policymakers, both at the state and local levels. I suspect that government representatives will reference this and make policy decisions based on the information. It will also better enable the ANSI, members of the ANSI Federation, and other U.S. stakeholders to speak in a more coherent voice with policymakers, regulatory bodies and trading partners.

“Many actions must be taken to ensure that electric vehicles, their components, and the related infrastructure are safe.”
—Jim Pauley, co-chair, Electric
Vehicles Standards Panel

What are you seeing as key issues that need standardization?

Electric vehicles are posed to have a huge impact on numerous industries—and on the everyday lives of Americans.

As electric vehicle technology and popularity progress, several issues are at hand:

1. Interoperability Interoperability between the connectors of charging stations is a top concern given the variety of vehicles on the road, as well as the different charging modes that are available.

2. Safety Many actions must be taken to ensure that electric vehicles, their components, and the related infrastructure are safe. This includes standards for safe charging stations and reduction of battery hazards.

3. Education and training Many types of education and training are needed in relation to electric vehicles. Consumers, automobile technicians, and emergency first responders have much to learn.

Equally important is training on the supporting infrastructure—permitting, installation, usage and maintenance of charging stations.

“The EVSP has identified automotive technicians and emergency first responders among those that require training.”
  —Jim Pauley, co-chair, Electric Vehicles Standards Panel

It sounds like training standards could be a huge necessity, especially for collision repairers to ensure they are able to safely work on these vehicles.

The EVSP has identified automotive technicians and emergency first responders among those that require training.

Professional certifications and certificate programs can increase consumer confidence in the qualifications of personnel. There will likely be further discussion as to what training programs already exist, and whether they are adequate enough. It is premature to speculate on the substance of any recommendations that may result from the work of the EVSP, and how they will specifically impact the collision repair industry, however.

The collision repair industry has wanted standards created that clearly tell them proper ways of repairing certain vehicles. Are there any standards that need to be developed regarding the repairs on these vehicles?

That is unknown at this point. It’s an area that still needs a lot of discussion. It seems important for collision repair trade associations to participate in these standardization discussions on behalf of their constituents.

Somebody needs to identify the issues that collision repairers think they’re going to run into—or have already run into—in repairing electric vehicles.

Standards may need to be put in place regarding training necessary to properly repair these vehicles. It might be important for the collision repair industry to participate with the EVSP to ensure their needs are identified in the roadmap created.

The education and training working group of the EVSP is one place where repair professionals could participate and carry out this discussion.

Are there any standards that have already been developed?

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has a number of standards in place that will be reflected in the EVSP roadmap. One example is a standard for the plug on electric vehicles for various levels of charging. The SAE has created a standard for what the plug configuration needs to look like and what the different pins on the plug need to do. That standard has already been published, and it’s being used.

Are electric vehicle manufacturers participating in these discussions?

Many of the big-name auto manufacturers are participating through their trade organizations, like the SAE and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM).

Safety has been a primary area of concern with respect to electric vehicles, including collision repairers. What safety standards does the EVSP plan to address?

Safety for drivers, passengers, roadside assistance providers and repair professionals nationwide is a top priority in electric vehicle development and rollout.

A few safety issues for each of those entities include: battery handling, battery storage, battery disposal, passenger extrication after an accident, emergency disconnects, and shut down labeling and procedures.

A roadmap for the successful mass deployment of electric vehicles sounds highly beneficial to get various affected industries on the same page. Is this something that other countries are doing as well?

The United States has various trading partners that are already working on, or have already produced, electric vehicle roadmaps for their countries or regions. For example, German standardization bodies have a plan for electromobility.

If countries like Germany have already done this, is the U.S. behind with standardization efforts?

I don’t believe we are behind. However, to fully capture the benefit of all of the standards work going on in various parts of the electric vehicle industry, we need to make sure we coordinate across all of those segments and with our international trading partners.

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