I was honored to moderate a panel last week during the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Pasadena, Calif., that featured four speakers – Erik Spek of the TÜV SÜD Canada battery testing firm, Keith Wilson from Society of Automotive Engineers, Galen Ressler, General Motors (who has worked on the Chevrolet Volt’s battery pack performance) and Kevin Konecky of Fisker Automotive, who had a lot to say about testing li-ion batteries under a wide range of thermal conditions. Spek talked about lessons learned from nickel metal hydride batteries used in hybrid electric vehicles; Ressler talked about OEM field experience while managing a project like the Volt; Konecky described the battery degradation and durability factors that have to be tested to make a reliable electric vehicle battery pack.
Keith Wilson, technical project manager, global ground vehicle standards for SAE International, talked about standardization issues for chargers, which has been a debated issue over whether Japan’s CHAdeMO fast charger connector standards or the SAE’s more recent combo standards (making Level 1 and Level 2 AC charging and DC fast charging accessible at the same port) should be adopted by global OEMs. Conditions in Europe changed recently after the European commission approved the Mennekes “Type 2” charge connector, which was harmonized with the SAE combo connector. “This means that an OEM can design and manufacture their charging system to work with either the SAE combo connector for use in the US market or the Mennekes’ ‘Type 2’ for use in the European market,” Wilson wrote to me in a follow-up email. — Jon LeSage