A serious lack of standards is hindering high-volume deployment of new technology in the auto industry.
But, two leading standards organizations, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), recently announced plans to create industry guidelines.
Earlier this year, while researching an article on next-generation automotive battery manufacturing [see “The Race to Automate” in the September issue of ASSEMBLY], several experts told me that a serious “lack of standards” is hindering high-volume deployment of new technology in the auto industry.
“Standards are critical to long-term applications,” claims Ann Marie Sastry, a professor of mechanical, biomedical and material science and engineering at the University of Michigan. “Many different organizations, such as IEEE and USABC, must play an active role in this process.”
Two leading standards organizations, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), recently announced plans to create industry guidelines. For instance, Underwriters Laboratories is developing UL Subject 2580, a new set of requirements for large batteries in electric vehicles.
“With interest in electric vehicles on the rise, these new requirements will help mitigate the potential risk of fire and electrical hazards [such as shocks], and enhance the overall safety of batteries for electric vehicles,” says Jeff Smidt, global manager of UL’s Global Energy Business.
“While UL Subject 2580 will not be mandated, manufacturers will have the option of certifying to its requirements to help reduce risks,” Smidt points out. “Currently, there is no UL standard for testing large batteries in electric vehicles.”
In addition to developing new battery standards, UL has been conducting tests and certifying existing standards for numerous hybrid and battery-electric vehicle components, such as motors, connectors and battery chargers. Smidt and his colleagues test these components for overload protection, shock and flammability, among other hazards.
Engineers at SAE International are also busy addressing cutting-edge battery technology. To help standardize development, the organization has created a new Vehicle Battery Standards Committee.
According to David Schutt, Ph.D., SAE’s CEO, the “committee will initially focus on standardizing battery performance and safety and will assure harmonization with other standards development in the U.S. and around the world.” It will report to the SAE Motor Vehicle Council, which is responsible for development of all passenger car, light duty truck and van standards within SAE International.
This new push for standardization is a step in the right direction. It will help battery manufacturers as they create new types of lithium-ion products and ramp up production.