ISO works with the IEC on a number of converging technologies, including information technology standards that have helped shape such essential features of modern life as the Internet, financial services, healthcare, biometrics and information security.

The experts working on ISO committees recognize that the future is fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly vehicles. Various technologies, including electrical batteries and fuel cells, are currently being explored and tested by the industry, which is also looking at other fuels as an alternative to petroleum, such as natural gas and hydrogen, all of which will require the creation of new types of vehicles and associated infrastructures – and new International Standards to make these global, ecological, efficient, safe and effective.

Electric vehicles, in particular, necessitate important changes to vehicles and will impose a potential impact on the electricity supply infrastructure when connected to the grid for recharging. The recent ISO/IEC Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) accordingly recognizes that when the vehicle is in autonomous (running) mode, vehicle manufacturers are responsible for defining the required standards – mainly developed by ISO. When connected to the grid, standards need to be agreed jointly between the vehicle manufacturers and the electricity supply industry as represented in the IEC.

The MoU is also designed to leverage the considerable evolution in vehicles from mechanical or hydraulic controls to electronic systems. This evolution necessitates a stronger collaboration between vehicle manufacturers, principally represented in ISO technical committee ISO/TC 22, Road vehicles, and electronic component manufacturers active in a range of specific IEC committees.

ISO standards for the automotive industry cover all aspects vehicles: safety, ergonomics, performance, test methods, the environment, and the roll-out of innovative technologies. In relation to alternative power systems, ISO standards now under development by ISO/TC 22 address electrically propelled vehicles and vehicles powered by gaseous fuels.

For example, the updating and extension of ISO 6469 is an important project to ensure the safe handling of electric vehicles. It is being adapted to the new challenges of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), covering safety from electric hazards, on-board rechargeable energy store systems, protection against failures, etc.

Also under development is ISO 12405, which provides test specifications for lithium-Ion traction battery systems, and ISO 15118 on the interface between electric vehicles and the grid, including communication links and protocols.