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Better, Quicker Smart Grid and Vehicle-electrification Standards - A Partnership between SAE International and IEEE

WARRENDALE, Pa., Aug. 10, 2011 - A strategic partnership in vehicular technology related to the Smart Grid between the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) and SAE International is less than half a year old. But its value in influencing the speed and quality of global standards rollout is already in evidence. SAE International’s work on a prototype charging coupler that leverages technology standardized by IEEE is one prime example.

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 (EVs/PHEVs) to be charged from either a conventional, 15-amp AC wall outlet or a DC connector of up to 90 kilowatts.

The SAE J1772™ “Electric Vehicle and Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Condutcive 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/PHEVs. Automakers including Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Toyota have adopted SAE J1772.

The in-development SAE J1772 combo solution would take another leap toward stabilizing and unifying the global market for manufacturers of EVs/PHEVs. The standard is planned to enable both AC and DC Level 1 and faster, Level 2 charging all via a single vehicle inlet for the first time. Manufacturers would be able to leverage one coupler in EVs/PHEVs for all markets, regardless of the differences in electrical systems and charging locations from country to country. Integrating the different types of charging functionality would also greatly enhance the convenience of operating such a vehicle.

SAE J1772 goes further still, by uniquely defining communications between an EV/PHEV and off-board charger and the Smart Grid. Power Line Communications (PLC) is defined in SAE J1772 as the technology for enabling these vehicle-to-grid (V2G) 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 1901™-2010, the world’s most mature, robust and advanced Broadband over Powerline (BPL) standard. And the IEEE 1901 Inter-System Protocol (ISP) prevents interference when the different PLC implementations are operated within close proximity of one another.

The drive toward an SAE J1772 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.

Another example is the ongoing IEEE P2030.1 “Guide for Electric-Sourced Transportation Infrastructure” standards project. Work is being carried out by four task forces—vehicle technology (including charging systems), electric grid (from generation to consumer), roadmap (including privacy and roaming) and communication/cyber security—and then integrated within the full working group for broader discussion and input.

The Smart Grid effort is different in the sweep of technologies, industries and markets that it touches. For manufacturers, utilities, governments and consumers are to realize the Smart Grid’s benefits as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, the global standards community must operate cooperatively to logically integrate the work across technology spaces.

In the past, SDOs (standards-development organizations) 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.

Both SDOs are already global leaders in these domains.

SAE International Ground Vehicle Standards Technical Committees are leading the vehicle transportation industry in the development of standards to provide safer processes and practices for effective implementation of hybrid/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,” for example, 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, meanwhile, has more than 100 standards and standards in development relevant to the Smart Grid. In addition to IEEE P2030.1, IEEE P2030 “Draft 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 IEEE P1901.2 “Standard for Low Frequency (less than 500 kHz) Narrow Band Power Line Communications for Smart Grid Applications” are among the active IEEE standards projects that figure to have strong bearing on the EV/PHEV industry.

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. The SDOs’ constituents are the driving force behind this partnership, in fact. 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 so more effectively and more quickly.

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