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Sustainability Panel Highlights Charging Infrastructure during WCX

Posted: April 12, 2022

“How do you bring together so many different elements of a lived environment to make it sustainable?”  

SAE Chief Growth Officer Frank Menchaca asked this question as he opened a panel discussion featuring the recently launched SAE Office of Sustainable Energy (OSE).  

The mission of the OSE is to look broadly across the current industry ecosystem at the many elements that come together to form the sustainability proposition and to serve as the center of excellence responsible for developing initiatives that, taken together, lead the transportation industry in its epochal shift toward technologies resulting in clean, advanced energy and sustainable mobility.   

“We are the crossroads where all these ideas come to meet and collaborate,” Menchaca said before referencing standards SAE has already created around electric vehicle batteries, charging stations, and hydrogen propulsion.  

Much of the consensus standards work developed to date has focused on vehicle technologies, however infrastructure will play a critical role in the future of sustainable mobility. As such, addressing EV infrastructure – specifically its reliability and interoperability – is the first focus of our newly created office. The OSE seeks to provide a series of best practices that will eventually become standards. 

 To frame SAE International’s current and future work related to sustainability, the organization assembled a panel of experts including Chris Nevers, Rivian Motors, LLC; Harry Husted, BorgWarner; Kevin Butt, Toyota Motor Company, North America; Bryan Rubio, Ideanomics, Inc.; and Matt Nelson, Electrify America LLC to talk about the current state of the industry and its next steps as they pertain to sustainability at SAE’s signature WCX event.  

“Before we can make any progress, we have to have a shared understanding of what sustainability is,” Butt said. “This organization—definitions, standards, what we’re looking at—is extremely important…and it shouldn’t be exclusive. We must share that progress to move forward.”  

As part of getting on the same page, the panel discussed how to increase consumer faith in the charging infrastructure, and ideas that those in industry should prioritize to achieve these goals. Key characteristics Nelson identified include a charging mechanism that is fast, non-proprietary, and reliable.  

“Thanks to the great work of SAE, we have a consensus that is the standard for charging,” Nelson added.  

The panel also addressed supply chain interruptions that have plagued the global economy over the past two years. With a focus on electric future, there’s less reliance on foreign interests for fuel as there’s an increased ability to manage and develop secure supply chains locally and regionally.

As industry continues to push the conversation around sustainable mobility forward, all agreed collaboration is key, and emphasized the importance of developing non-proprietary standards while simultaneously working together with other standards development organizations (SDOs).  

“It really helps align people and helps move forward with technology when people can see what the standard is and comply to it with other standards,” Husted said.  

Look for more sustainable leadership from SAE International as we kick off our Sustainable Event Series with the digital Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Conference, May 3-4.