Electric vehicles charging advances

New IEC Standards bring mass EV adoption a step closer

By Janice Blondeau

A milestone towards a global framework for introducing safe, interoperable solutions for the fast charging of EVs (electronic vehicle) has been reached with the publication of an International Standard for EV d.c. (direct current) fast charging.

The new International Standards are the product of a collaborative effort between OEMs, electricity utilities...

Global, multi-sector cooperative work

This breakthrough International Standard, the product of almost unprecedented global collaboration between OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), automotive firms and electricity utilities, is published in two parts: IEC 61851-23 and 61851-24. IEC 61851-23 covers d.c. charging in relation to the control and communication connection between the d.c. fast charging station and the EV. IEC 61851-24 details the digital protocols that enable the communication exchange between the off-board d.c. fast charging station and the EV.

Diverse needs accommodated

Their collective achievement overcame some significant hurdles. Car and truck manufacturers, for instance, had to consider varied technical requirements in different regions, which demand the use of a diverse range of plugs, connectors, voltage levels and frequencies.

Addressing such global challenges, IEC International Standard for EV d.c. fast charging systems comprises the three preferred systems and their associated plugs and connectors: CATARC, COMBO1 and 2, and CHAdeMO.

Towards EV infrastructures

There is now a globally relevant International Standard that comprises just three interoperable and safe systems, as opposed to multiple proprietary charging technologies. Hence, the IEC is more confident than ever that a vast and efficient EV d.c. fast charging infrastructure will be able to emerge.

Faster and further

One off-board EV d.c. charging station can service many EVs and, on average, power their batteries 8 times faster than on-board solutions. Consumers will be able to recharge batteries faster and travel longer distances. The average EV requires 16 kWh of electricity to drive 100 km. The standard 50 kW off-board EV d.c. charger delivers that power in just 20 minutes. In contrast, today’s on-board EV chargers normally handle no more than 6.6 kW, which provides just 40 km worth of driving potential for every hour spent charging the battery.

Industry representation

The firms involved in developing this International Standard included:

  • For utilities: EDF (Electricity of France), State Grid Corporation (China) and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company);
  • For equipment manufacturers: ABB, Siemens, CHAdeMo Association and Park & Charge;
  • For the automotive sector: NISSAN, Mitsubishi, Toyota, JARI, CATARC, BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, GM and Ford.

All is ready to build EV infrastructure

With this d.c. charging standard, the IEC now have standardized the work for all forms of charging, and it is also progressing on wireless power transfer for EVs.

IEC TC 69: Electric road vehicles and electric industrial trucks published in 2010 the International Standard IEC 61851-1 ed2.0 on conductive charging which foresees four modes for the charging of EVs:

  • Mode 1 (AC) – slow charging from a standard household-type socket-outlet
  • Mode 2 (AC) – slow charging from a standard household-type socket-outlet with an in-cable protection device
  • Mode 3 (AC) – slow or fast charging using a specific EV socket-outlet and plug with control and protection function permanently installed
  • Mode 4 (DC) – fast charging using an external charger

IEC SC 23H: Industrial plugs and socket-outlets published IEC 62196-1 covering general requirements for EV connectors and IEC 62196-2, which standardizes various AC charging elements. SC 23H is also developing IEC 62196-3 (d.c.) on requirements for the vehicle coupler and IEC TS (Technical Specification) 62196-4, Dimensional compatibility and interchangeability requirements for a.c., d.c. and a.c./ d.c. vehicle couplers for Class II or Class III LEVs (light electric vehicles).

The IEC has two project teams which work on standardization of wireless power transfer for EV charging –TC 69 PT 61980-2  and PT 61980-3.

The IEC SMB (Standardization Management Board) set up SG (Strategic Group) 6: Electrotechnology for mobility, to investigate interactions between EVs and the electricity supply infrastructure and to analyze market and industry developments, identify gaps and overlaps in IEC International Standards and to ensure that a timely delivery of the appropriate standards.

DSCN0535 The new International Standards are the product of a collaborative effort between OEMs, electricity utilities...
EV charging station sign_Depositphotos_32357493_original ... and automotive firms to provide EV users with interoperable and safe fast d.c. charging systems
Page 2_c This is a milestone towards a vast and efficient EV d.c. fast charging infrastructure