Melbourne, Australia --- (METERING.COM) --- April 12, 2010 - A scoping study on the extent to which Australian standards will need to be developed to support the introduction of electric vehicles has been released by the Victorian Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development.

The report, prepared by Standards Australia and Rare Consulting, identifies five interrelated work streams incorporating 17 work items for the development of local standards, and recommends that a rolling work program be established for the progressive development of standards in these areas, namely vehicle design (OEM and aftermarket vehicles), power systems, vehicle recharging, rescue, repair and vehicle recovery, and user information and GHG assessment.

The report notes there is currently a lack of industry consensus with respect to the likely development of the electric vehicle market in Australia. Small numbers of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are expected to be in operation by the end of 2010 and are likely to be available as niche market offerings in the early years of market development, but the high cost of new electric vehicles will likely create a market demand for aftermarket vehicles only in the short to medium term.
Nevertheless the industry is characterized by a high level of technology dynamism, suggesting that performance-based standards should be pursued in the first instance (as opposed to prescriptive technology standards).

The report also notes that the provision of a vehicle-to-grid feed-in capability for recharging infrastructure may create challenges and opportunities for the operation of the national electricity grid, as may the operation of home-based recharging infrastructure.

Further, given the global nature of the electric vehicle industry, there is the need to harmonize Australian vehicle standards with international vehicle standards.

Other recommendations are that priority should be given to the immediate development of Australian standards for electric vehicle operation in respect of the design of aftermarket electric vehicles and to the design and operation of Level 2 (“standard” 3-4 hour) recharging systems, including the standardization of plugs, cords and sockets to be used for vehicle recharging.

A national Electric Vehicle Working Group should be formed to oversee the national standards development program, and a state-to-state working group also should be established to investigate opportunities for coordination.