05 Nov 2015   |   News

New EU electric car lab opens

Twinned EU and US labs will work together to set common standards for e-vehicles and charging stations

A lab specialising in the development of electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure has been opened by the European Commission.

The European Interoperability Centre for Electric Vehicles and Smart Grids, which comprises four laboratories across Joint Research Centre sites in Ispra, Italy, and Petten, the Netherlands, opened for business last week.

The centre will work with the US Smart Grid Interoperability Centre at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, developing standards and systems to ensure electric and hybrid cars and charging stations work in unison with the electric grid.

There lab will also develop tests for new vehicles. For instance one of the labs, VeLA 9, has a chamber where reception antennas and receivers analyse the electromagnetic emissions generated by electric and hybrid cars. They are also capable of testing that electric vehicles are proofed against external electric or magnetic fields, from meter-wave to radar pulses. As electric vehicles and all supply devices are “connected”, avoiding any form of interference is essential.

Speaking at the opening of the lab, Maroš Šefčovič, Commission Vice-President for the energy union, said the twinning of the two centres would help to minimise trade barriers by ensuring there are standards for plugs, sockets and other equipment.

“Electrification of transport offers a unique opportunity for Europe and the US to simultaneously decarbonise transport, reduce dependence on oil, improve air quality in our cities, create jobs and growth and for industrial innovation,” Šefčovič said.

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