Battery-Size Standards Technical Information Report Available

Jennifer Shuttleworth
Associate Editor
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With the constantly changing landscape in lithium-ion battery development and more than 130 unique cell sizes in different global standards, the electric vehicle (EV) battery market has become crowded with an array of products. The SAE Battery Cell Size Standardization Committee, one of SAE’s 700 technical standards development committees, spent the last two years working on a Technical Information Report (TIR) to help alleviate the confusion.

The “J3124 Industry Review of xEV Battery Size Standards ” report was written to provide comprehensive reference and background information pertaining to battery size standards for xEV vehicles (covering all vehicle types, from micro-electric to full EV) in the global transportation industry.

“The focus of the report was to create a document that reviewed all of the different size standards from different organizations around the world and present them all in one document to show the cell size landscape,” said John Warner, chair of the Battery Cell Size Standardization Committee.

As part of the process of developing J3124, it was important for the committee to understand what already existed to avoid duplication. The report includes a review of the Chinese GB/T standards, the ISO standards, the German DIN standards, and U.S. Military specifications.

“As we started talking about standardization, we wanted to put some criteria around it: how to determine what makes a cell a standard, such as how many OEMs use it or how many manufacturers build it?” Warner told Automotive Engineering.

“Industry Review of xEV Battery Size Standards” examines the global industry battery size standards for xEV vehicles to provide guidance on available cell sizes for engineers developing battery-powered vehicles. It includes a review of the sizes and standards that are currently in development or used for cylindrical cells, pouch (or polymer) cells and for prismatic can cells. Lithium-ion chemistry will be the focus of the survey, but module and pack-level size standards, where available, will also be included.

“The goal of this Technical Information Report was to give the reader a view of the landscape, at least as it stood when we finished it,” shared Warner, who is founder and president of Warner Energy Consulting LLC. “Now that we have, it is - our opportunity to decide where SAE should focus next; we don’t want to duplicate what’s already out there.”

Several organizations have already begun developing battery-size standards globally, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Standardization Administration of China (SAC), the Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA), Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) and SAE International. There are many similarities in these standards, but they are also largely driven by local automobile manufacturers’ and regional government requirements.

OEMs and system integrators have long espoused the value and need for developing a set of standard cell sizes to create multiple sources for cells and to help the battery industry drive down costs by increasing volumes.

With different vehicle architectures, applications, markets and uses — not to mention different engineering philosophies — vehicle manufacturers have wide variations in their requirements that drive different types of cells and mechanical design solutions. However, by using standard cells in their designs, it is believed they can increase volume across many cell suppliers, which is one of the major drivers for cost reduction in lithium-ion cell manufacturing.

As a next step this fall, the committee plans to begin to evaluate the creation of SAE size standards for cells and modules. SAE envisions coordinating with these global standards groups to create specific standards for the different on-road vehicles including low speed electric vehicles (LSEV), automobiles, buses, heavy-duty and commercial vehicles.

Those interested in helping to develop a new SAE standard with the SAE Battery Cell Size Standardization Committee can contact John Warner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.sae.org/standards/content/j3124_201806/  and click the “Join Committee” button on the bottom right side of the page.

Since January 1, 2018, SAE International has issued 62 new technical documents; 722 documents have been revised or reaffirmed.

SAE’s standards repository totals nearly 35,000 documents — of which 11,000 are active and 24,000 historical dating back to the early 1900s.

To learn more about SAE International’s standards activity or to get involved, visit www.sae.org/standards/ .