“We’re just at the beginning of a steep growth curve for both electric vehicles and energy storage, and SAE International is going to play a huge role in that by setting the standards that are necessary to move it all forward,” said Robert Galyen, chairman of SAE's Battery Standards Steering Committee.
Galyen oversees 22 ground vehicle SAE battery committees. He spoke with Automotive Engineering about battery trends, technology, grid storage and standards, on the opening day of the 2016 Battery Show in Novi, MI.
As lithium batteries become commonplace in electrified vehicles, battery standards are evolving. SAE’s J1797 standard for electric vehicle battery packaging set the stage 20 years ago for vehicle electrification.
“We put J1797 in ‘stabilized mode’ within the last two months because it’s antiquated for what’s happening today,” said Galyen, noting J1797 was written in 1996 and became an industry standard in 1998. “That was at a time when nickel metal-hydride and lead-acid batteries were being used,” he explained.
Specific Li-ion battery standards address a variety of aspects, including materials, labeling, and safety.
“We have a cadre of engineers working on all the standards specific to today’s Li-ion batteries, and we have a committee specific to next-generation batteries as we want standards to be ahead of when next-generation battery technology reaches the market,” Galyen said.
Packaging system needed
SAE's Advanced Battery Concepts Committee will release their first technical information report this year.
“We typically write recommended practices, which are put in place to drive the industry to a common footprint or a common methodology of application," Galyen explained. "But this committee’s core role is to inform the general public about what’s going on.”
SAE’s Ground Vehicle and Aerospace groups share information related to the safe shipping and transport of Li-ion batteries.
“Because we have such a large group of people working on Li-ion batteries for products that go on vehicle applications and bus applications, it only makes sense to have these experts involved,” said Galyen, noting the aerospace group’s G27 is responsible for writing this battery packaging shipment safety standard.
The U.S. and many other countries have outlawed the shipping and transport of Li-ion batteries in the cargo bay of passenger aircraft, an area that’s unattended and inaccessible during flight.
“We need to create a packaging system that will contain these Li-ion batteries in such a way that fire cannot propagate," he asserted. "We don’t want the fire extinguishing system to be needed in the first place."
Galyen expects all SAE Battery Standards committees will stay busy for some time, given the brisk growth rate of electrified vehicles in various global markets, particularly China. He believes the automotive sector is on the cusp of an "energy revolution."
An additional boon for electrified powertrains will come from the advent of SAE Level 4 and 5 autonomous vehicles. According to Denise Gray, CEO/President of LG Chem Power Inc., who spoke at the conference, autonomous vehicles and electrified powertrains go hand in hand. She noted that key support technologies include advanced batteries.