Electric Vehicles and Vehicle Electronics

Electric Vehicles and Vehicle Electronics standards are published by multiple organizations, chief among them ISO, IEC, and SAE. Given the wide range of components that must all work together to provide the desired experience and reliability that automotive manufacturers and consumers alike want in their cars, standardization plays a key role in automotive electronics. With the recent surge in popularity for electric road vehicles like hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in electric vehicles, the standardization of testing procedures and metrics for safety and emissions become vital. Other fields of standardization, such as connectors and electrical disturbances, carry renewed importance with the increasing amounts of electronics in today's cars, electric or not.

Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicle standards address design considerations unique to electric vehicles and, by standardizing terminology and vocabulary, provide a foundation for other standards to delve into deeper details. Here, ISO, IEC, and SAE provide standards specific to hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles with a focus on testing, fuel economy, emissions, and communications.

Batteries and Charging

Battery and Charging standards primarily cover battery packs that power electric vehicles, conductive charging stations, and the relationship between these two sides of the equation. Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), AC/DC charging stations, and the connectors and inlets are standardized. Within the vehicle itself, lithium-ion traction battery packs, as well as both lithium and non-lithium secondary batteries, are also standardized.

Electrical Disturbances

Electrical Disturbance standards cover test methods for road vehicles subjected to exposure from a range of possible sources of electrical disturbances. While this is important in any vehicle, the increasing amounts of electrical components present in modern non-electric vehicles and the roll-out of electric vehicles makes the consideration of electromagnetic immunity all the more important. ISO standards from three series, ISO 11452, ISO 11451, and ISO 7637, contribute heavily to this field of standardization.


Safety standards for vehicles with electric components address environmental conditions and testing, functional safety, and other considerations relevant to electric vehicles. ISO 16750, Environmental Testing and Conditions for electrical and electronic equipment, describes the potential environmental stresses and specifies tests and requirements recommended for the specific mounting location on/in the road vehicle. ISO 26262, Road Vehicle Functional Safety, is intended to be applied to safety-related systems that include one or more electrical and/or electronic systems and that are installed in series production passenger cars with a maximum gross vehicle mass of up to 3,500 kg.

Electrical Connectors and Electrical Towing Connections

Electrical Connection standards for road vehicles focus on the dimensional characteristics of both on-board and towing electrical connectors. Also addressed in some standards are electrical characteristics, contact allocation, performance requirements, tests, and test requirements. Additionally, the interchange of digital information is covered by the ISO 11992 as it uses the electrical towing connections.

Other Vehicle Electronics Standards

Other Vehicle Electronics Standards cover rotating electrical machines (motors) for rail and road vehicles, starter motors, technical documentation of electrical and electronic systems, lamps, switching devices, and other vehicle electronics standards. This collection of topics serves to complement the previous categories, bringing to light smaller areas of standardization that do not normally receive as large of a focus.