ISO has just published an updated, improved edition of an International Standard providing safety specifications for electrically propelled road vehicles.

This development takes place against the backdrop of political demands for greater safety in transportation and a reduced environmental impact by road vehicles. This debate, which has been going on since the 1980s, has deeply influenced the technological evolution of cars and has influenced a trend towards new modes of propulsion such as the electric motor, powered by a battery.

Part 1 of the revised ISO 6469 specifies safety requirements for the on-board rechargeable energy storage systems (RESS) of electrically propelled road vehicles, including battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), for the protection of persons inside and outside the vehicle and the vehicle environment.

The requirements for the on-board rechargeable battery specified in ISO 6469-1:2009 deal with aspects including:

  • The measurement of the isolation resistance of the battery
  • The emissions of hazardous gases to prevent explosion, fire or toxicity hazards
  • The heat generation from the RESS which could form a hazard to persons
  • Over-current generation
  • The realization of a crash-test in order to evaluate the protection of occupants or a third party and protection against a short-circuit
  • Marking: RESS that are part of voltage class B electric circuits shall be marked with a specific symbol described into the standard and visible when accessing the RESS.

Part 2 of ISO 6469, specifies requirements for operational safety means and protection against failures related to hazards specific to electrically propelled road vehicles, ISO 6469-2:2009 addresses issues such as the following:

  • Operational safety such as propulsion system, driving, parking, electromagnetic Compatibility
  • Protection against failures
  • Marking
  • Emergency response.

Part 3 of ISO 6469, which is currently under DIS-Ballot, specifies requirements for the electric propulsion systems and conductively connected auxiliary systems for the protection of persons inside and outside of an electric vehicle.

Dr Dietrich Sahm, Chair of ISO/TC22/SC 21 that developed the standard comments: "The new edition of this standard will help to reduce the complexity of the relations between vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers. ISO 6469-1:2009 and 6469-2:2009 provide answers in a rapidly evolving technology as well as to an increasing public interest in the safety and environmental performance of electrically propelled road vehicles."

ISO 6469-1:2009, Electric road vehicles – Safety specifications – Part 1: On-board rechargeable energy storage system (RESS), and ISO 6469-2:2009, Electric road vehicles – Safety specifications – Part 2: Vehicle operational safety means and protection against failures, were developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 22, Road vehicles, subcommittee SC 21, Electrically propelled road vehicles, and are available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). They may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, respective prices 66 and 50 Swiss francs, through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department (see right-hand column).