Electric Vehicles: Issues for the European Engineering Industries

Published: 1 February 2010

Policies & Issues: Energy & Climate

The successful deployment of electric vehicles in Europe has the potential to support EU policy priorities, in particular climate protection, the security of energy supply and the competitiveness of European industries. Research and Development activities in the field of electric vehicles, charging infrastructures and supporting services are a great opportunity for innovation and growth of European engineering companies that Orgalime represents. Although we see the electric car as a promising area of technological development, a number of issues and potential hurdles to the successful roll-out of e-vehicles need further cooperation among stakeholders and coordination with policymakers.

In the present position paper we elaborate in the first place our industries’ positions and recommendations on safety issues because firstly charging their e-vehicles could expose users to dangerous conditions they are not yet used to and secondly the level of safety of installations in buildings risks being undermined. We believe that standardisation and the EU Commission will have an important role to play to ensure security and equipment safety which could otherwise hamper the introduction of e-vehicles. It will be essential to ensure that the proposed equipment solutions comply with all essential requirements and that moreover compliance of products to safety standards is strictly enforced through proper market surveillance authorities in Europe.

Orgalime believes that mode 3 charging as defined in IEC/EN 61851-1 should become the normal charging mode and be progressively imposed and that a special plug for mode 3 needs to be designed and standardised. Installations must be in conformity with best industry practices and therefore Orgalime recommends that installations should be carried out by authorised professionals. International standardisation bodies are very active to rapidly develop global standards for electric vehicle charging. Once the work is completed in IEC committees, Orgalime takes the view that the EU should discuss the possible harmonisation with the engineering and automotive industries. Orgalime therefore welcomes the Commission’s proposal to issue a mandate to the European standardisation bodies in 2010 with the aim to adopt a European harmonised approach for charging systems.

Furthermore energy and power management are key functionalities to consider when developing both regulation and standards in the area of charging infrastructure. It is important that charging infrastructures designed today already take into account future developments in the area of e-mobility. Beyond the necessary control and regulation functions for charging, the communication capabilities of the equipment to the vehicle or to the grids should include some other functions that will be required by the user and the grid in the future.

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