2015 EU-Taiwan Electric Vehicle Seminar
2015 臺歐電動車研討會

Taipei, 10 April

Note: This is an abridged version. To read the full report, please click HERE.

The “EU-Taiwan Electric Vehicle Seminar: Policies, Standards, Regulations” hosted a field of distinguished experts on electric vehicles (EV), from the European Union and Taiwan, who exchanged experiences on government policies promoting EVs and technical EV issues in the EU and Taiwan. 

The seminar was organized jointly by the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO), under the framework of the European Business and Regulatory Cooperation Programme (EBRC), the Bureau of Standards, Metrology & Inspection (BSMI) and the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BoFT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA), and co-organised by the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC). 

The seminar provided a platform for all stakeholders to increase their understanding of international standards and practices related to smart transportation, and to pave the way to facilitate the drawing up of EV safety regulations in Taiwan in line with the best international practices and to stimulate the further development of related technology and the overall EV industry.

The full-day seminar began with opening speeches by guests of honour, which was followed by two sessions: the first on government policies promoting EVs and the second on technical issues. More than 180 people, including officials from Taiwanese public entities, European representative offices in Taiwan, industry and academia attended the seminar.


Guests of honour

Dr Liou Ming-Jong, Director General, Bureau of Standards, Metrology and 

Viktoria Lövenberg, Deputy Head of Office, European Economic and Trade Office (EETO)Inspections (BSMI), Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA)

Yang Shu-Mei, Deputy Director General, Bureau of Foreign Trade (BoFT), MoEA

Moderators

Jerry Wang, Director, Intelligent Electric Vehicle Promotion Office, Industrial Development Bureau, MoEA

Dr Wang Min-Wen, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Oriental Institute of Technology

Speakers

Aleksander Lazarevic, Sustainable Mobility and Automotive Industry, DG-GROW, European Commission

John Lin, Vice President, Ford Lio Ho Motor

Frank Vitte, Regional Vice President, Asia & Middle East, Blue Solutions

Wolfram Wagner, General Manager, TÜV Rheinland Taiwan

Steve Hsu, Business Development Manager, ABB

Michail Voigt, Senior Sales Manager, Siemens PD LD TD HD

Tsao Chin-Wei (趙晉緯), Section Chief, Department of Railways and Highways, Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MoTC)

Denise Hung (洪薪如), Intelligent Electric Vehicle Promotion Office, Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA)

Ray Sung (Jui-Yi) (宋瑞義), Member, National Standards Technical Committee on Electrical Engineering

Lien Shan-Li (連杉利), Technical Specialist, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA)

Simon Hsu (許志成), Director, Certification Division, Vehicle Safety Certification Center (VSCC)

BM Lin (林炳明), Manager, Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI)

Lan Pei-Hsiu (藍培修), Section Manager, Electric Appliance Testing Department, Renewable Energy Laboratory, Taiwan Electric Research & Testing Center

Simon Hsiao (蕭育宜), Section Manager, Product Safety Testing Department, Electronics Testing Center


Opening remarks

Mr Liu Ming-Jong opened with the observation that the first electric vehicles actually date back over 150 years ago to soon after the invention of electricity but their development was superseded and all but halted with the invention of and subsequent advances made in internal combustion engines in the late 19th and 20th century. The interest in EVs was only sparked briefly again in the 1970s during the oil crisis. Now, interest is being revived by concerns over climate change and pollution. 

Mr Liu noted that the EU has been a leader in promoting EVs, which are widely in use in the EU. He noted that Taiwan has good IT infrastructure and that the government has been promoting electric vehicles (buses, cars and scooters) in major cities in Taiwan. A large percentage of the electric scooters produced in Taiwan are exported to the EU, although there are already tens of thousands of electric scooters on the roads in Taiwan. 

Mr Liu said that the government wants to make Taiwan a model country for green vehicles and policies and regulations are already in place for various items such as charging stations. As of the end of 2014, 34 national standards were in place for whole cars, batteries, and environmental testing. The Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection (BSMI) also provides verification services aimed at helping domestic companies and technicians to upgrade their skills. These services help domestic manufacturers to improve their knowledge of product verification and technical information and provide comprehensive technical support during the development phase of domestic electric vehicle components.

In her remarks Ms Lövenberg stated that the challenges posed by the need for reducing the massive environmental impact of road transport are common to Taiwan and the EU. “Driving and transportation are the most polluting acts that we commit on a daily basis. Efforts to fight air pollution caused by transport have been high on the agenda of policy makers in Europe. These efforts are translated into actions to reduce the number of cars, smart traffic management, green public procurement, incentives for development of green automotive technologies and green and sustainable public transportation and also promotion of cleaner forms of transport like cycling and walking,” she said.

She added that promoting a clean and energy-efficient transport system requires the creation of the right framework conditions, through research, legislation and standards. This implies designing an enabling environment where new technologies are not only greener, thus contributing to the improvement of air quality and addressing climate change and fossil fuel dependency, but are also resulting in vehicles that are competitively-priced without compromising on safety.

In her remarks Ms Yang Shu-Mei stated that following the global trend towards energy efficiency and carbon reduction, electric vehicles promise huge business opportunities in the future and that the Taiwan government has actively encouraged domestic manufacturers to develop technical capacity. She noted that, like previous seminars arranged by the EBRC, the information sharing offered by the EV seminar would help to facilitate bringing Taiwan’s standards in line with the best international standards and practices and help the local industry to upgrade. This experience sharing in turn would help to lower or avoid trade barriers. She expressed the view that Taiwan industry players look forward to cooperating with European companies at all levels, in order to increase the percentage of key components made domestically, support Taiwanese manufacturers of key EV components to enter the international supply chain, make breakthroughs in battery technology, as well as to obtain green business opportunities.

She noted that Taiwan established a sustainable energy policy framework in 2008 with commitments to reduce CO2 emissions. Besides being a successful exporter of electric scooters, Taiwan also has electric scooter pilot projects. On the island of Penghu, for example, electric scooters are widely used and one in three new scooters are now electric. 


Session 1: Government policies to promote electric vehicles

EV policies in Europe

Topic: Smart transportation: Incentives - EU policy and best practices

Speaker: Aleksander Lazarevic, Sustainable Mobility and Automotive Industry, DG-GROW, European Commission

Mr Lazarevic began with the comment that in view of the fact that electric vehicles were invented almost 150 years ago, Thomas Edison himself would be disappointed with the relative lack of progress in electric vehicles to date. Despite some promising technological developments as well as government support, electric vehicles are today still not considered practical. EVs only make up about 1% of the vehicle fleet in Europe while Taiwan also has very few EVs on the roads. 

Mr Lazarevic cited Taoyuan-based startup Gogoro’s electric battery exchange system for electric scooters as an example of an innovative idea that should spur much greater take up of EVs. Technology should not be an obstacle to further EV roll-out as battery technology has seen great advances in recent years. For example, nano-flow-cell batteries are now able to store 20 times more energy than lead-acid batteries and five times more than lithium-ion, thereby offering, with an appropriate battery volume, a driving range of 600 kilometres, similar to that of conventionally-fuelled vehicles and sufficient for an island the size of Taiwan. 

In addition, the advantages of EVs are numerous. The cost of operating EVs is low compared to petrol (although the 50% drop in oil prices over the past year has somewhat offset this advantage). EVs produce no emissions, thereby reduce pollution, help meet energy diversification goals and improve energy security. They are also quieter.

The drawbacks of EVs include higher upfront costs of electric vehicles, range anxiety, safety concerns, a lack of recharging infrastructure and concerns over the length of time needed for charging. In addition, disposing of batteries raises environmental concerns. The average life of batteries is often shorter than that of the electric vehicle. Moreover, while EVs do not produce direct emissions, an often-cited criticism is that they are only as green as the power source that charges their batteries. If power comes from coal-fired power plants, for example, EVs are indirectly responsible for high carbon emissions.

To overcome all these drawbacks it is necessary to set up the right regulatory and investment framework, including research support, standardization and deployment of infrastructure. Investment in research in green automotive technologies and transport systems has long constituted a priority for the European Union. For example, Horizon 2020, the research framework for 2014-2020, aims to reinforce the competitiveness and performance of European transport manufacturing industries and related services including logistical processes. More concretely, €6.3 billion has been set aside to fund research in transport and mobility, including the funding of electric-powered and fuel cell hydrogen powered engines as a part of the European Green Vehicle Initiative.

The EU’s “Alternative fuels strategy” adopted in 2014 sets out requirements for policy frameworks at the EU Member State level for the market development of alternative fuels and on recharging or refuelling facilities. The strategy recognises that a lack of alternative fuel infrastructure is a major stumbling block that is preventing a widespread uptake of ‘green’ vehicles. In this respect, the strategy also sets out common standards to ensure interoperability for the recharging interface of electric vehicles across the EU. This is the aim of the European Long-Distance Electric Clean Transport Road Infrastructure Corridor (ELECTRIC), a project launched in December 2014 and co-funded by the EU and the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T). ELECTRIC provides support for the installation of a corridor of 155 high-quality fast chargers along key European motorways in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. 

It is a popular belief that EVs constitute safety problems. For this reason it is an objective of the EU to overcome this perception by making sure that EVs are at least as safe as conventional internal combustion engines. Regulation on the safety of electrical vehicles in Europe is based on rules of the 1958 UNECE international Agreement. The advantage is that these rules are not applicable only in the European Union but also in some 60 other countries which can represent huge savings for the manufacturers and exporters of electric vehicles. Common technical requirements reduce development costs, avoid duplication of administrative procedures, improve the industry's competitiveness and increase the attractiveness of the market as an investment destination. This could obviously apply to the Taiwanese industry provided that the national rules are fully harmonised with international standards and administrative procedures. On another track, the EU is working with the US, China, Japan, Canada and Korea to seek global convergence on EV standards.

There are numerous examples of demand stimulation in the EU. However the adopted schemes show significant differences in the way they are implemented and in the types of vehicles they are promoting.  With a view to streamline coordination of various incentives at the European level and improve the functioning of the Internal Market, but also to counter overall slow progress made in relation to the commercialisation of affordable electric powered vehicles in Europe, the European Commission published in 2013 the “Guidelines for financial incentives for clean and energy efficient vehicles”. 

The guidelines apply to financial incentives granted in all forms, such as straight grants, loans, tax deductions and other kinds of fiscal incentives to encourage green procurement. These financial incentive guidelines promote all the environmentally-friendly automotive technologies, including hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles, to complement the efforts of the automotive industry in developing technologies that effectively contribute to the goals of reducing CO2 emissions and improving energy efficiency.

Mr Lazarevic concluded that meeting the target of eight to nine million EVs, a target set by the EU for 2020, will probably not be met, although the level of success will vary among member states. Consumer confidence should be helped by the public sector's example setting that promotes electric vehicles when renewing vehicle fleets, issuing concessions for public transport and regulating taxi companies. There is also a realization that practical business models are needed for a successful roll-out of EVs. For example, it is now possible to take an electric taxi in Brussels, after the city gave a contract for an EV taxi fleet to a Chinese company. According to Mr Lazerevic, the granting of the tender to a Chinese company should spur European car makers to be more aggressive in introducing EV models. This requires a commitment from all players in the automotive value chain.


Topic: Smart mobility blueprint

Speaker: John Lin, Vice President, Ford Lio Ho Motor Company

Mr Lin gave an overview of automotive trends, including vehicle connectivity and some of the technologies being employed to improve the sustainability of the automotive sector. Ford is working on implementing vehicle to vehicle communication, several alternative fuel vehicles such as hybrid electric vehicles, plug in hybrids, pure battery electric vehicles, solar plug-in hybrids and biofuel vehicles and, at the same time, working to improve the fuel consumption of internal combustion vehicles by, for example, using materials to make vehicles lighter (aluminium and fibre glass) and thereby reduce fuel consumption.

Given that the global population is projected to rise to nine billion by 2050, at the current growth rate, the number of vehicles could double to two billion. Considering the global gridlock this would cause, Ford’s Chairman, Bill Ford, has acknowledged that there is a limit to the number of cars that his company can sell. Rather than sell more cars, the solution is to make the transport network smarter. Ford’s blueprint of “Smart Mobility” aims to use innovation to take the industry to the next level in terms of connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data.

According to Ford’s mobility blueprint, by 2050 we will have a true network of mobility solutions and automobiles will likely look very different from the way they look today. In terms of mobility, in addition to improving fuel economy and developing alternative energy vehicles, part of the future transport solution will be multi-modal forms of transport and car sharing. Connectivity will become much more advanced with vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure systems connected to the cloud. 

According to the blueprint, fully-automated driving will take some time to develop but partial driver assistance and partial automation, including driver-initiated automated capabilities are already available and being employed in limited situations. The arrival of smart vehicles capable of full automation whereby the system takes over longitudinal and lateral control completely and permanently is still some way off but entirely conceivable and proven following a number of pilot trials. For its part Ford is engaged in a large-scale pilot programme with around 3,000 fusion hybrid vehicles to test connected vehicle intelligent transportation systems. The company is also involved in a car sharing programme in Europe.


Topic: Introduction to Blue Solutions

Speaker: Frank Vitte, Regional Vice President, Asia & Middle East, Blue Solutions

Mr Vitte outlined how, as part of French conglomerate Bolloré, Blue Solutions works on battery and energy storage applications and technology. The company’s core technology starts with Lithium Metal Polymer (LMP). Since it contains no liquid or solvent, the batteries made with this material are the safest in the world, while they are highly efficient in terms of power management.

Blue Solutions has developed its own car, called Bluecar, as well as electric buses (Bluebus), boats and trams. The company has also developed stationary storage, including renewable energy storage up to 1MWh. Ultra-capacitor stations are capable of recharging BlueTrams in 30 seconds while passengers board and unboard the vehicle, before driving one kilometre to the next station. 

The major challenge for EV development usually boils down to a chicken and egg question; that is, should the focus first be on developing electric cars or on developing charging infrastructure? If the focus begins with infrastructure, experience has shown that you end up with a lot of empty EV parking bays while the opposite also applies: people will be reluctant to buy cars if there is nowhere to recharge them. Another problem with electric cars is that they are still relatively more expensive than their internal combustion counterparts while they have shorter ranges and charging takes longer than it takes to fill up with petrol. Even if the average daily use in Europe is less than 50 kilometres, range anxiety remains a big issue.

Autolib Paris, a car sharing service for e-cars, run by Blue Solutions tackles these problems. What sets the system apart is that it has a well thought-out and effective business model. The system makes it very easy to register, rent, drive and share the cars. The registration process is simple and takes just five minutes. It uses small cars but they can reach speeds of 130 kilometres per hour. Cars can be booked online, by phone or on site. Once registered, users just need to swipe their cards at a rental kiosk to get access to a car. Each car is equipped with GPS and an interactive screen, which also allows the user to book a destination station to drop off (park) the car. This solves another common and challenging problem in Paris – finding parking. The fact that the system has been made so convenient for users is a key factor in its success. With a mobile phone application, it takes just two clicks to book a car or destination parking bay, which will be held for 90 minutes. The cars are also equipped with a blue button, which connects the driver, via a hands-free speaker phone, to a call centre for any enquiries and assistance. 

Another key success factor was the rapid roll-out of vehicles and extensive building of infrastructure from the outset. The system started with 250 cars and 250 stations in 2011, expanding to 1,740 in June 2012 and now boasting 3,000 cars and 870 stations with 200,000 active users. As of April 2015, there have been a total of nine million rentals. According to Vitte, to be successful, you need to go big. He also attributed success to the fact that there was a single operator managing the entire scheme, which gives subscribers access to the entire fleet of vehicle and stations. It also allows a standardization of everything inside the car, charging equipment and the registration and payment service. Going back to the chicken vs egg analogy, you need both the chicken and the egg to provide a viable service to users. Mr Vitte said he believes the problem with London’s initial experience with electric vehicles was that there were too many partners, such as car parks and supermarket operators and all promotion work not done centrally. In addition, a lack of standardization led to difficulties for the operator and private owners of electric and plug-in vehicles while non-communicating charging points did not allow proactive and remote maintenance, which led to poor quality service. In contrast, Autolib succeeded because all cars, charging systems, payment systems and customer services were standardized and centralized. The lesson learned from London’s experience is that the rollout cannot be piecemeal or haphazard. Vitte concluded that a successful car sharing system requires comprehensive planning that encompasses technical, operational marketing and business model aspects. This works best with a unique single operator to standardize and coordinate the whole system, a good user interface to make people comfortable and a simultaneous deployment of cars, infrastructure and services.


Topic: Future mobility solutions – what will move and drive us in the future

Wolfram Wagner, General Manager, TÜV Rheinland Taiwan

TÜV Rheinland provides testing and certification services for the full range of electric mobility systems from energy generation and grid to storage systems and batteries to vehicle utilization, charging stations to billing systems and data security.

The current mobility networks include pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, passenger cars, trucks, rail, ships and planes. The effective combination of all transport modes connected to smart systems constitutes intelligent transport systems. It is not enough for vehicles themselves to be smart but they also need to be connected to smart systems to provide seamless communication and travel. 

The trend towards connected vehicles that interact with each other (V2V), infrastructure (V2I) and beyond (V2X) via wireless communication is progressing rapidly. V2X development is the next phase in improving traffic safety and comfort. The primary objective of V2X communication is to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries by realizing direct information-exchange between the vehicles themselves leading to an improved knowledge of the driver regarding the surrounding area. 

Another major trend is towards autonomous driving which will reduce accidents, allow relaxed driving, even in dense traffic, allow drivers of all ages (children and the aged) and ranges (such as those with disabilities) to remain mobile, allow people to make better use of their time while commuting and reduce travel time and fuel consumption. Since high-precision positioning is the basic requirement for autonomous driving, the trend towards autonomous driving will be assisted by more accurate global positioning provided by the Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). The system will help to increase safety, efficiency and improve fleet management by reducing time and fuel consumption. 

Due to the increasing traffic density there is a clear need to guide traffic with an externally-organized system, so that a gridlock of the whole system can be avoided. With such a system, driving will become safer, more efficient and more comfortable. 


Topic: European perspectives on new energy vehicle policies and EV related equipment safety standards

Speaker: Aleksander Lazarevic, Sustainable Mobility and Automotive Industry, DG-GROW, European Commission

The 1958 UNECE international agreement laid the framework for common vehicle type approval standards in the markets of all signatories. It aimed to remove barriers and protect the environment. Electric vehicle safety issues are addressed by UN Regulation 100.02. This regulation includes uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to specific requirements for the electric power train, type approval processes applicable to motor vehicles and Rechargeable Electric Energy Storage Systems (REESS). It was first published in 1996 and revised to keep pace with new technologies in 2013.

Originally, applications for R100 type approval were limited exclusively to entire vehicle assemblies and vehicle manufacturers were restricted from changing individual systems without requiring a new type approval application for the complete high voltage electrical powertrain while the responsibility for obtaining type approval for a rechargeable battery was also with the REESS manufacturer.

New regulations will become mandatory from July 2016. How they differ from before is that there is now a separate approval path for battery packs for the purpose of ensuring safe operation of electrical batteries under anticipated operating conditions, and to provide a greater level of safety for vehicle drivers and passengers. REESS test procedures include tests for vibration, thermal shock, cycling, mechanical shock, mechanical integrity, fire resistance, external short circuit protection, overcharge/over-discharge protection and temperature protection.


First Q&A session

All the speakers from the first five presentations were invited to participate in a wrap up question and answer session. 

On the subject of the Autolib Paris scheme, panelists agreed that it has clearly been a good experience for Paris but the question was raised as to if a similar scheme would work for larger areas covering longer distances and does a car sharing scheme necessarily have to be run by a single operator. Mr Vitte replied that it would be feasible to extend a car sharing scheme to a larger area as long as systems are interoperable. It is feasible to have different suppliers and service providers but there would have to be standardization not only of the cars and charging stations but also of the booking and customer service. He expressed the view that it is crucial to have the same payment and booking platform for the system to work.


EV policies in Taiwan

Moderator: Jerry Wang, Director, Intelligent Electric Vehicle Promotion Office, Industrial Development Bureau, MoEA

Moderator Jerry Wang gave a short introduction to EV policies in Taiwan before introducing each of the speakers in the session in turn. He noted that several government agencies, notably the MoEA and the EPA, are cooperating to support EV development in Taiwan by providing subsidies and drafting supporting regulations. There are number of ongoing programmes to support electric buses and electric scooters while the Bureau of Energy is responsible for fuel efficiency standards aimed at reducing the environmental impact of vehicles. In addition, the Ministry of Interior is responsible for policies regarding high voltage equipment while the Council of Agriculture is responsible for EV programmes in Taiwan’s national parks. He added that three government ministries would meet in mid-April to discuss the promotion of electric buses.


Topic: Electric bus policy and promotion in public transportation of Taiwan

Speaker: Tsao Chin-Wei (趙晉緯), Section Chief, Department of Railways and Highways, Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MOTC)

Mr Tsao noted that the MoTC provides subsidies for green bus replacement and is working with three agencies to provide incentives for greener vehicles. Subsidies for electric buses were started in 2010. In 2014 a smart EV strategy and action plan was introduced that is designed to replace 10,000 diesel buses with electric buses within 10 years. The central government is encouraging local governments to replace old buses with electric buses and the goal has been reiterated by Taiwan Premier Mau who has instructed all agencies to work together to reach the goal. Related regulations for subsidies were revised in 2014 as were basic requirements for electric buses, governing aspects such as speed and battery life. The premier recently asked government agencies to review the subsidies. Five e-bus providers are now qualified and six cities in Taiwan already have e-buses running on the road (Taipei is an exception at the moment). Besides bus routes, the government is also offering subsidies for shuttle e-buses. 

Mr Tsao noted the challenges facing operators including range and reliability (e-buses are reliable 91% of the time compared to 99% for internal combustion engine buses). Another challenge is the cost. Initial costs for e-buses are high but if the electricity price is lower than the fuel price, then operating costs would be lower (the drop in oil prices over the past year would have made operating costs of traditional buses much lower). Another challenge is the lack of maintenance service and charging infrastructure. Given the challenges it may be difficult to reach goal of 10,000 e-buses in Taiwan. 


Topic: Electric vehicle policy & promotion in Taiwan

Speaker: Denise Hung (洪薪如), Intelligent Electric Vehicle Promotion Office, Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA)

The government announced the EV Development Action Plan in 2010 to speed up EV industry development. Prior to this the focus had been on compact EVs. Since this had not been so effective, the focus has shifted to enhancing electric bus promotion, strengthening EV R&D capability in the domestic market, assisting industry players to launch EVs, supporting EV component suppliers to enter global supply chains, encouraging EV sellers to provide battery rental services to ease pressure owing to high EV prices.

It makes sense to promote e-buses owing to the immediate environmental benefits, the ease of applying them to fixed routes with charging infrastructure, which removes range anxiety, and because there is already a technology and value chain of bus makers and component suppliers available in Taiwan for e-buses.

The MoEA has pilot programmes in place for city buses, tourist buses and enterprise shuttle buses. The next part of the plan is to extend the e-bus business model to national parks, campuses, hospitals, small islands and urban areas. The government’s pilot projects also provide 40% of the funding for charging stations.

The government is promoting e-buses through exemptions on licence fees until 2018, commodity tax exemptions until 2017, subsidies of up to US$125,000 (or 80% of body costs by the MoTC, depending the type of bus) and up to US$33,000 of the battery costs by the EPA.

To encourage users, free parking and charging will be made available in certain areas. 586 charging stations have been set up island-wide through pilot run projects led by the government. 360 EVs are currently in operation in Taiwan, including 105 public e-buses, through eight projects. Each project has a different business model.

For example, the Taichung City Government is cooperating with private sector car makers to provide 100 EVs, which the government uses on weekdays but are made available to the public on weekends. Sun Moon Lake has 35 EVs, three e-buses, e-boats and 35 charging stations, aimed at making the tourist experience at the lake a green experience. EVs are shared and use an advanced navigation system, which provides useful navigation and other tourist information. 


Topic: Taiwan national EV standards

Speaker: Ray Sung (Jui-Yi) (宋瑞義), Member, National Standards Technical Committee on Electrical Engineering

The BSMI, which is in charge of standards, has developed over 14,000 national standards, more than 3,000 of which are available in English. Given that there are many charging standards available, it is not Taiwan’s intention to provide “Taiwan-only” standards. Therefore 90% of standards are harmonized with international standards.

Taiwan has two technical committees responsible for EV standards, under which are several sub-committees of technical experts which cover various aspects such as performance, vehicle safety, EMC, batteries and charging systems. 

There are different standards for different types of batteries, motors, connectors and controllers,  plugs, socket-outlets, and vehicle couplers. Taiwan’s standards for chargers and charging systems, performance and safety all draw reference from IEC and ISO standards.


Topic: Promotion of battery exchange system for electric two-wheelers in Taiwan

Speaker: Lien Shan-Li (連杉利), Technical Specialist, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA)

The EPA is promoting a number of low carbon vehicle initiatives, which include making emission standards incrementally stricter every year, regulations for vehicles in use, ad hoc testing of vehicles on the road, promoting cleaner fuels such as LNG and providing subsidies for scooters.

The EPA is also in charge of the promotion of electric vehicle battery exchange systems to promote electric two-wheelers. The charging facilities are subsidized and set up by the Bureau of Industry under the MoEA.

The rationale for a battery exchange system is that it resolves the problems of parking and time taken for recharging, thereby making e-scooters as convenient as filling up at a petrol station. Approval for the setting up of 30 electric motorcycle battery exchange stations in New Taipei City was granted in November 2011 and for another 30 in Kaohsiung City in May 2012. In order to encourage participation in the system by the public, the EPA provided a NT$10,000 subsidy to the first 5,000 people who purchased electric motorcycles with exchangeable batteries in the two systems. In addition, the government subsidised just under half of the set-up costs of the necessary equipment for the battery exchange system with the contractual requirement with the operators that the exchange cost per kilometer should be less than the vehicle fuel costs per kilometer and that as soon as the operation recovers the costs for setting up the system stations, the operators must begin to give a share of profits back, which will then be used to set up additional facilities. 

Subsidies for a total of 22 electric bicycle models and eight electric motorcycle models were included, all using the same batteries. Standards were established for batteries and charging stations to allow participation from different providers. The pilot starting in 2014 had 100 two-wheelers. In Kaohsiung, there are 500 scooters in the pilot run. Since it is still in the early stages, authorities are still evaluating the benefits versus the costs. 


Session 2: Technical issues for electric vehicles

Topic: Introduction to EV safety type approval in Taiwan

Speaker: Simon Hsu (許志成), Director, Certification Division, Vehicle Safety Certification Center

The speaker introduced safety type approval rules in Taiwan. The basic line of testing is done by testing labs, both in Taiwan and abroad. The Vehicle Safety Certification Center (VSCC) has been commissioned by the MoTC to do the second line of verification. 

Testing and certification covers the four stages of a vehicle’s life: design, production, use and disposal. Safety type approval covers the first two stages. 

The first milestone in Taiwan’s safety type approval history was in 1998 and 1999 when key regulations were implemented to cover whole vehicles and components. It took several years to put all the essential elements in the system. In 2005 new rules were introduced covering how to complete safety type approval and to ensure testing centres are qualified, how to monitor and audit testing centres and car makers and Conformity of Production (CoP) monitoring.

In 2004, Taiwan started to harmonise local regulations with international UN/ECE regulations. According to Hsu 80% of rules are now harmonized while the other 20% refers to ISO and other standards.

In principle all vehicles are treated the same way but EVs need special requirements for batteries and other electrical parts. Since 2012 Taiwan authorities have been monitoring UN/ECE developments and updating Taiwan’s rules accordingly. Currently there are 28 items covering e-scooters, 47 for e-cars and 43 for e-buses and authorities plan to continue to review UN/ECE standards and incorporate them into Taiwan regulations.


Topic: Battery exchange systems

Speaker: BM Lin (林炳明), Manager, Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI)

There have been hurdles to get all players to adopt common specifications for batteries. Doing so has both benefits and drawbacks but on balance, it benefits consumers and manufacturers, especially in terms of costs and economies of scale. Not having common specifications makes it difficult to increase the size of the market. Another benefit is that it allows vehicle makers to focus on the vehicles themselves, rather than having to keep up with the complicated and rapidly-changing advances in battery technology. Common standards also help operators to better manage quality control. 

One drawback of common specifications is that it makes it hard for car makers to specify their edge since it is difficult to tell what level of performance is due to the vehicle and what can be attributed to the battery. Another drawback is that battery makers may have to disclose secrets.

The business model for battery exchange has not yet been fully worked out. It may start with a single operator, a government agency or different car makers could operate their own systems whereby consumers would usually recharge at home and have the option of swapping batteries when needed for a fee. As to the location of exchange systems, they could be stand-alone structures or even be located in convenience stores.

Lin noted that the first two battery exchange systems tried in 2009 and 2011 were not successful and it may be too soon to judge the success of the EPA’s two pilot systems in New Taipei and Kaohsiung. He noted that it is very difficult to roll out infrastructure and the support of the government and large corporations is needed in this regard. 


Topic: National plan for EV charging infrastructure

Speaker: Lan Pei-Hsiu (藍培修), Section Manager, Electric Appliance Testing Department, Renewable Energy Laboratory, Taiwan Electric Research & Testing Center

Lan’s department is responsible for the testing of EV charging stations and critical components of EVs. His unit hopes to build capacity for the development of the EV industry in Taiwan. It is also promoting voluntary certification.

Charging stations are extremely important. There are already some international standards in place. Taiwan authorities have a four-stage plan to make Taiwan testing valid internationally so as to be able to sell Taiwan-made EV products internationally.

Taiwan has standards for fast charging stations, plugs and sockets as well as safety standards for resistance, integrity and to guard against short circuits, etc. Integrated testing looks at system interoperability so that a charging station developed by manufacturer A should work for vehicles from manufacture B, C and D without any problems. When failures occur, charging stations must have back up options for other users. DC charging has to have continuous detection to guard against electric shocks.

There are higher interoperability requirements for DC charging given the higher risks. 


Topic: ABB fast chargers in Europe

Speaker: Steve Hsu, Business Development Manager, ABB

ABB has installed over 2,000 fast charging stations in 35 countries since 2010 and has a 30% market share. It is a participant in the European Long-distance Electric Clean Transport Road Infrastructure Corridor (ELECTRIC) Project co-funded by the European Union and the Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T). Under the project, ABB leads a consortium which will install fast EV chargers along key European highways. The project aims to create an open access fast charging corridor along major highways connecting Sweden, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands to allow green travel between these countries. Part of the project will be dedicated to a study on interoperability, the framework for a sustainable infrastructure set up and network planning. The pilot project will install a total of 155 chargers along the main motorways: 30 in The Netherlands, 23 in Denmark, 35 in Sweden and 67 in Germany. Some of the charging stations are powered by renewable wind and solar energy. This is important both for environmental reasons (no emissions) and logistical reasons (for locations off the grid). Hsu advocated charging stations powered by renewables for Taiwan as a way to stimulate EV development as well as help to meet the government’s carbon reduction goals. 

CHAdeMO 1.0 (CHArge de MOve, the trade name for fast charging) chargers are very advanced given EMC concerns. Multi-standard charging stations are very important for highway charging stations.

ABB has also developed a “DC wallbox” recharging station for residential use that supports all current open DC standards. The company has developed a fast charging system for buses via a rooftop connection system in Geneva Switzerland which can recharge to various levels in  either just 15 seconds or four minutes. 


Topic: EV charging systems

Speaker: Simon Hsiao (蕭育宜), Section Manager, Product Safety Testing Department, Electronics Testing Center

The Electronics Testing Center conducts integrated tests for electric vehicles and power supply equipment including safety and EMC tests for charging stations, safety tests for plugs, socket outlet and vehicle couplers.

Taiwan has specifications for different components. For example, rubber cables must be used (not PVC). Tests are done for dimensions, material and the conductivity of cables to make sure they work safely in various conditions and are durable, even more so than the charging stations. 

AC charging couplers undergo multiple tests for items such as construction, assembly, protection against electric shock, breaking capacity and performance under high temperatures and fire resistance. Equipment must be able to work in high temperature and high moisture (a humid environment) and be durable (robust integrity from multiple plugging and unplugging). Hsiao concluded that the tests are rigorous and not easy to pass.


Topic: The economic and intelligent route to zero emissions

Speaker: Michail Voigt, Senior Sales Manager, Siemens PD LD TD HD

The speaker introduced Siemens’ ELFA modular electric drives used in buses and other commercial vehicles, in development since 1995. The benefit of the system is that it provides enhanced flexibility regarding bus size, energy mix and mechanical integration. It can work on drives for all types of buses and all primary energies and cuts emissions and pollution. 

The objective of the ELFA drive is to provide a simple transition path to zero emissions. The system is based on serial hybrid technology in which the vehicle’s axle is fully driven by an electric motor. An independent power source feeds the electric circuit, such as a generator driven by, for example, an internal combustion engine. The vehicles normally are also fitted with electric energy storage, which stores energy from braking converted by the electric motor acting as a generator. Recuperated electrical energy can be used for the next acceleration process. Depending on the operational conditions of the vehicle, this may result in saving up to 50% of the primary energy, eg diesel fuel, and a respective reduction of CO2 emissions.

The system is well suited for cases when recharging infrastructure is not yet fully in place. However, the bus can be later retrofitted to remove the internal combustion engine when enough recharging equipment is in place for a pure electric bus.

The city of London, for example, has 800 hybrid buses in operation and plans to increase this to 1,700 by 2016. Moreover, all double-deckers are to be hybrid by 2020 and all single deck buses have to have zero tailpipe emissions (electric or hydrogen). The city of Vienna has also introduced a successful e-bus system. 

Voigt concluded that power train electrification will play an increasingly important role in public buses of the future but a successful implementation requires consultation with and the support of all major stakeholders, including electricity suppliers. In addition, infrastructure needs to be included in the subsidy scheme. Given variable energy needs for routes and conditions, there need to be flexible options for recharging, eg battery swapping, external charging at dedicated stops, range extenders (fuel cells or diesel generators). For example, e-buses in Vienna can be recharged on bus stops using power from the same substation cables as used by trams while the city of Hamburg has set up dedicated recharging bus stops. 


Final Q&A session

Moderator: Dr Wang Min-Wen, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Oriental Institute of Technology 

On a question from the floor as to whether the target of 10,000 electric buses in Taiwan was realistic, Michail Voigt expressed the opinion that there should be no problem introducing the technology and building the infrastructure in Taiwan if the regulatory and operational environment is favourable. He noted that overnight charging is not the only option; as cases in Vienna and Hamburg showed, charging can be done on bus routes. He noted that for a bus to be able to run for a full day on one charge, a very large two-tonne battery is needed. It may be therefore be a better option to have smaller batteries which have shorter ranges and, instead, set up recharging installations along the bus routes, or, alternatively, set up a battery swapping system.The session featured all the speakers from Session 2. 

On a question regarding charging infrastructure, Steven Hsu from ABB noted that there are many charging options available nowadays including contactless charging. He added that fast charging is already being used in Taiwan - Kaohsiung has a charging station able to recharge a bus in 20 second. He stressed the point made in in his presentation that to make truly zero emission EVs, charging stations should be powered by renewable energy. This requires planning and a lot of simulations.

One of the problems of promoting charging infrastructure in Taiwan pointed out by panelists is Taiwan Power Company’s monopoly of the electricity market. If someone wants to build a charging station in Taiwan, they cannot sell the power to a third party. There are also permit and space problems when deciding where to build charging stations. That is why authorities have decided to try battery exchange systems instead.

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