While today we have a handful of production electric vehicles, most notably the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF and Tesla Roadster, in three years we could have as many as ten times the number of models in production.

One thing this means is none of the various organizations coming together to make it happen can easily afford to be listening solely to the beat of its own drummer; standardization and collaboration will be most expedient for a smoother roll out.

This is both the opinion of Automotive News looking at the broad picture of the accelerating EV industry, and what stakeholders in the United States and Europe are discussing in Washington.


The Volt, shown at the ongoing Buenos Aires Auto Show (June 17-26), already adheres to some EV industry standards. No word when the Volt will go on sale there, but GM did announce it was investing $146 million in Argentina for other production vehicles.

Specifically, this week representatives from the world's two largest economies were reportedly close to establishing joint standards pertaining to EVs.

"The EU and the U.S. are about to agree to an ambitious work plan aiming at aligning regulatory issues, standards and research" for those vehicles, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a speech in Washington, Tuesday.

As the EU’s top trade official, De Gucht met with administration officials, industry executives, and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

De Gucht declined to share what they were specifically attempting to iron out, but the goal is to “avoid moving into different directions and risk creating new market barriers," he said.

As Automotive News commented in a separate opinion piece, foreseeing snags and working to resolve them in advance is in everyone’s best interest – including no doubt, the Japanese, Chinese, and any other EV industry participants.

We have already heard of international regulatory snafus regarding pedestrian alert sound generators that stalled the launch of hybrids.

Automotive News contends issues go much deeper and cooperation on many levels would also include agreement on charging standards, electronics, and much more to better enable proliferation for the new kinds of vehicles.

With regards to electrical systems, they vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and where necessary, they could be standardized. For example, collaboration should be sought among automakers and utilities to solve issues with vehicles that will utilize the power grid.

This in turn will potentially create fewer difficulties for consumers, and could even cut costs. One example of this could be if smart grids allowing secondary uses for EVs’ lithium-ion batteries.

We have previously reported GM has sought collaboration since the Volt’s inception by partnering with the Electric Power Research Institute and others in the utility industry.


The SAE J1772 standard as used for the Volt works for most but not all EVs. Internal combustion cars do not have this problem with fuel filler diameter.

This no doubt has been good, and more of these kinds of partnerships need to be worked out for other manufacturers Automotive News says.

Commenting to Automotive News in light of the talks in Washington, GM Spokesman Rob Peterson agreed the move to establish broader standards is a good idea.

"Anytime you can get things that are common, it helps with the designing, engineering and manufacturing,” he said.

Peterson said the “number one” concern is standardized charging mechanisms. GM also supports standardizing EV pedestrian warning sounds due to be required, he said.

Until now, Automotive News says as difficult as it may have been, introducing the first EVs was relatively easy, but with many more manufacturers and models coming on board, the “hard part” will be avoiding snafus where possible.

In working together core competencies and weaknesses must be identified by stakeholders, “then opportunities for near-term collaboration must be found,” Automotive News said.

“The early adopters have turned the EV movement into more than just a spark,” Automotive News said, “If EVs are going to be a viable and long-term option for the second wave of consumers, partnerships must be in place to take the EV market to the next level.”

We agree and are curious about what you see: Aside from the few issues mentioned, can you think of other areas where standardization in the budding EV industry would be most helpful, if not vital?

Automotive News , Again .