NHTSA addresses EV safety

  • 25-Jun-2010 03:06 EDT

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has revised its rule addressing electrolyte spillage and electrical shock protection for electric-powered vehicles to align more closely with SAE J1766, Recommended Practice for Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Battery Systems Crash Integrity Testing. The standard currently requires manufacturers to design their vehicles so that, in the event of a crash, a vehicle's propulsion battery system will be electrically isolated from the vehicle's electricity-conducting structure. As amended, the rule provides greater flexibility, requiring manufacturers to design their electrically powered vehicles so that, in the event of a crash, the electrical energy storage, conversion, and traction systems are either electrically isolated from the vehicle's chassis or their voltage is below specified levels considered safe from electric shock hazards. The agency says that since the physiological impacts of direct current are less than those of alternating current, the rule specifies lower electrical isolation requirements for certain dc components than for ac components. The current standard does not recognize the difference in safety risk between dc and ac components. As requested by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the final rule now specifies electrical isolation requirements of 500 ohm/V for ac and dc high-voltage sources and 100 ohm/V for dc high-voltage sources with continuous monitoring of electrical isolation. The revised rule takes effect Sept. 1, 2011.

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