ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Hybrid Vehicles Lead the Way to Energy Independence

SAE standards increase acceptance of new technologies

New York, Jan 30, 2003

In the annual State of the Union address, President Bush highlighted a growing concern in the United States and worldwide over energy resources and cleaner technology. Decreasing dependency on petroleum through the use of fuel-efficient vehicles is one way to move toward energy independence. This approach is within the grasp of vehicle manufacturers and consumers through the production and use of hybrid vehicles. An American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member and accredited standards developer, the SAE International (SAE) is forwarding this goal by introducing standards for hybrid vehicles and stimulating the development of improved alternate power technology.

A hybrid vehicle is one that combines a traditional internal combustion engine with an electric motor, which is run by a battery. Depending on the particular vehicle, the electric motor assists the gas engine when the vehicle is exerting extra energy climbing a hill, accelerating or when it is cruising at low speeds. The battery automatically recharges using energy it collects when the vehicle brakes—energy that is normally just lost. It is these small adjustments that result in significant fuel savings. One hybrid currently on the market, the hybrid Honda Civic, is estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to get 46 miles a gallon in the city and 51 on the highway, as compared to 31 and 38 miles per gallon for the traditional Civic.

According to the New York Times, about 150,000 of the hybrids have been sold worldwide since the late 1990’s—a low number compared to the sale of standard vehicles, but also a number that may change as additional manufacturers roll out their hybrids in the next few years. Currently there are three hybrid cars on the market from two manufacturers, Honda and Toyota.

Understanding that standards help to quicken market acceptance of new products, SAE International has developed several standards dealing with hybrid vehicles. SAE J 1711, Recommended Practice for Measuring the Exhaust Emissions and Fuel Economy of Hybrid-Electric Vehicles, establishes uniform test procedures for hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) that are designed to be driven on public roads and allows for a number of different gasses to be measured as emissions. Similarly, SAE J 2711, Recommended Practice for Measuring Fuel Economy and Emissions of Hybrid-Electric and Conventional Heavy-Duty Vehicles, allows for similar measurement to be taken on larger vehicles, such as busses that may be used for public transportation. SAE has also concerned itself with the safety of HEVs through SAE J 1766, Recommended Practice for Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Battery Systems Crash Integrity Testing, which is a test designed to ensure that a vehicle has and adequate barrier between it’s battery system and passenger area.

In addition to writing standards concerning hybrid vehicles, SAE will bring together a variety of automobile professionals to discuss future technologies at its 2003 World Congress. According to Dave Amati, SAE Director of Automotive Business, the Congress “will focus on five core technology areas: advanced electronics, advanced propulsion/powertrain, advanced materials, testing/safety and environment/emissions.” Scheduled for March 3-6, 2003 at the Cobo Center in Detroit, the conference will feature a number of automobile manufacturers who will display their latest vehicle technology.

Visit SAE Congress website for more details and registration information.

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