International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

April 2011


Smart Grid crucial for EVs

International Motor Show – 6th Fully Networked Car workshop

The Geneva International Motor Show was the opportunity, for the sixth year running, for the IEC, ITU and ISO under the auspices of the WSC (World Standards Cooperation), to bring together key players involved in the development of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and standards in the automotive industry at the 6th Fully Networked Car workshop. While car manufacturers enthusiastically presented a variety of EVs (Electric Vehicles) at the Show, both IEC Vice-President Enno Liess and Hans-Georg Frischkorn, Director for Technology and Environment, VDA (Verband der Automobilindustrie), the German Association of the Automotive Industry, warned that the successful roll-out of those vehicles was dependent on the modernization of the electricity grid infrastructure.

Held over two days during the 2nd Press Day and the first public day of the motor show, the Fully Networked Car event represented an unequalled opportunity for experts and executives from the automotive industry, ICT community, governments, research and development institutes, and academia to share their vision and strategies.


IEC Vice-President, Enno Liess, gave the opening speech at the workshop.

EV standardization development increasing

International electrotechnical standards are important not only for the batteries and charging systems of EVs (electrical vehicles), but also for the reliable supply of electric power via Smart Grids. "The car industry considers EVs as one of the key solutions for maintaining sustainable individual transportation", said Liess. He underlined how the Geneva Motor Show was exhibiting numerous EV-related launches, that unlike with more traditional cars, are entirely standalone. According to Liess however, EVs are not a stand-alone proposition. "Producing the car will not be enough", he said. "The broad roll-out of EVs will require significant investment into the energy and charging infrastructure."

Smart Grid and charging structure

If governments too are increasingly looking to electrified transportation as one of the tools to fight climate change – the transportation sector contributes roughly 20 % to global CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions – there will be an impact on existing electricity networks. Liess explained how until now, with only 1 % of world electricity produced being used in transportation, little communication had taken place at an international level between the different stakeholders. "The car is only one element in a huge system and that’s why all relevant stakeholders need to sit together, to better understand each other’s needs and roles," he said.

e8 – leading electricity companies prioritize at an international level

Liess summarized the outcome of the discussions that took place at the IEC-e8 strategic Round Table on EVs in January 2010 among automotive manufacturers, electricity equipment suppliers and utilities to coordinate the work needed for EV development [see the January/February 2010 e-tech article]. "The IEC, in cooperation with e8, a global organization of 10 world-leading electricity companies, brought together major stakeholders that need to collaborate to accelerate the global roll-out of electric vehicles," he said. "For the first time, the industries that will need to work together had the opportunity to discuss their needs and priorities at the international level."

EV as a potential energy store

Since an EV connected to the grid has the potential to feed back into the grid any energy that has not been used by the EV itself, there is a need for specific safety and technical Smart Grid standards. "The IEC is involved in all major Smart Grid projects around the world", said Liess. "It delivers the large majority of technical standards that are needed to update legacy infrastructures, one of the pre-conditions to integrate renewable sources of energy and to enable mass charging of electric vehicles."


He underlined how International Standards were important. "Together, the IEC, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ITU (International Telecommunication Union) provide a virtually seamless international system of standardization that brings concrete benefits to the car industry in terms of global technology roll-out, efficiency and savings," he said. "Drivers have access to widely compatible, efficient and cost-effective technologies, and governments are able to protect the safety of their citizens and the environment."



  • Fully Networked Car workshopThe Fully Networked Car workshop was organized co-jointly by the WSC.
  • IEC Vice President Enno LiessIEC Vice-President, Enno Liess gives the opening speech at the workshop.
  • The WSC is made up of the three sister standardization organizations IEC, ISO and ITU



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