Better, Quicker Vehicle-electrification Standards
- Written by Jack Pokrzywa and Mary Reidy
A strategic partnership in vehicular technology related to the smart grid between IEEE and SAE International is only about a year old but already is producing results. One prime example is SAE International's work on a prototype charging coupler that leverages technology standardized by IEEE.
In the first quarter of next year, SAE International plans to establish a standard, integrated coupler that would allow electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to be charged from either a conventional 15-amp AC wall outlet or a DC connector of up to 90 kilowatts.
The trademarked SAE J1772 "Electric Vehicle and Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Conducive Charge Coupler" standard-agreed to in 2009 and officially published by SAE International in January 2010-is the world's first industry-consensus standard to provide critical guidelines for safety, charging control and connectors used to charge EVs and PHEVs. Automakers including Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Toyota have adopted SAE J177.
The current SAE J1772 connector standard is in the process of an upgrade to provide another leap toward stabilizing and unifying the global market for manufacturers of EVs and PHEVs. The upgraded SAE J1772 connector standard (termed the SAE J1772 combo connector) will enable both AC and DC Level 1 and faster, Level 2 charging all via a single vehicle inlet for the first time. Thus, manufacturers should be able to employ a single standard coupler in electric vehicles destined for all markets, regardless of the differences in electrical systems and charging locations from country to country. Integrating the different types of charging functionality will also greatly enhance the convenience of operating such a vehicle.
SAE J177 also defines communications between an electric vehicle, an off-board charger and the smart grid. Power Line Communications (PLC) is designated in SAE J1772 as the technology for enabling such vehicle-to-grid (communications, without requiring changes such as the addition of another pin to the coupler architecture.
That’s where IEEE comes in. PLC implementations from both the HD-PLC Alliance and HomePlug Powerline Alliance are based on IEEE’s trademarked 1901-2010, the world's most mature, robust and advanced Broadband over Powerline (BPL) standard. The IEEE 1901 Inter-System Protocol (ISP) prevents interference when different PLC implementations are operated within close proximity of one another.
The drive toward an SAE J177 combo solution illustrates the need for the strategic partnership recently forged by the IEEE-SA and SAE International—and, more broadly, the coordination across historically disparate technology spaces and organizations that is demanded by the smart grid.
In the past, standards-development organizations (SDOs) tended to work chronologically—one after another, almost in a vacuum from one another. But, if an SDO missed a development in a related industry while working on its own standard for the Smart Grid, that SDO could be sending its stakeholders in the wrong direction—or in the right direction but much more slowly than is necessary. There are so many tentacles and the velocity of development is so great, that the smart grid demands a new, more coordinated mode.
The IEEE-SA/SAE International partnership in vehicular technology related to the Smart Grid—confirmed by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in February 2011—is designed to accelerate more meaningful standards that drive greater improvements in market access, cost reductions and technological innovation. As part of the partnership, IEEE-SA and SAE International are sharing with one another their draft standards related to the Smart Grid and vehicle electrification.
One example of where such sharing will be mutually beneficial is the ongoing IEEE P2030.1 “Guide for Electric-Sourced Transportation Infrastructure” standards project. Work is being carried out by six task forces—vehicle technology, electric grid (from generation to consumer), roadmap (including privacy and roaming), communication/cyber security, battery technology (including swapping and end-of-life cycle) and chargers/charging equipment, stations—and that work will be fed to the full working group for broader discussion and input. Currently, p2030.1 has participation from members in North America, Europe, Japan, Korea, China and Africa.
Another example comes from SAE's International Ground Vehicle Standards Technical Committees, which are leading the vehicle transportation industry in the development of standards to provide safer processes and practices for effective implementation of hybrid and electric vehicles. SAE International has developed 46 such standards; 30 more are in process. SAE J2836/1 "Use Cases for Communication Between Plug-in Vehicles and the Utility Grid," to take just one illustration, establishes use cases, specifying the electronic information (such as vehicle/owner identity, charging-station location, the amount of electricity used and electricity price per time of day) that the vehicle will exchange with the grid.
IEEE, for its part, has more than 100 standards and standards in development relevant to the Smart Grid, among them the trademarked IEEE2030 "Guide for Smart Grid Interoperability of Energy Technology and Information Technology Operation with the Electric Power System (EPS), and End-Use Applications and Loads," and the trademarked IEEE P1901.2 "Draft Standard for Low Frequency (less than 500 kHz) Narrow Band Power Line Communications for Smart Grid Applications."
By working to ensure that the two SDOs' efforts complement one another, IEEE-SA and SAE International are forging a more efficient and collaborative standards-development environment for their constituents. Their constituents are the driving force behind this partnership. They want a global marketplace with no boundaries, and IEEE and SAE International are global organizations that are known for producing globally relevant standards. This partnership is enabling IEEE and SAE International to do that more effectively and more quickly.