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Car safety: International agreement on electric and hybrid cars

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The European Commission welcomes the adoption today at the United Nations in Geneva of the first international regulation on safety of both fully electric and hybrid cars. Typically, electric vehicles operate at very high voltages, in the range of 500 Volts. Therefore it is essential to require protection against the risk of electric shocks. The revised UNECE Regulation 100 will ensure the safety of electric cars by setting out how users of cars shall be protected from the high voltage parts of cars. For example, it prescribes a test procedure that uses a standardised 'test finger' to check protection all over the car.

The number of private cars in use is set to increase exponentially over the coming years. We need to respond to this by encouraging the production and use of clean and energy efficient cars, which will be the vehicles of the future. The electric car is one green car choice available to consumers. I am keen to ensure that they are introduced on the market as soon as possible and that they are safe to use.

The rules ensure that users do not accidentally come into contact with high voltage cables. The Regulation also defines requirements on the practical use of electric cars, such as giving an indication to the driver that the electric engine is switched on, which otherwise cannot be heard and could therefore cause unwanted starting of the vehicle. It will also require safeguards to prevent electric vehicles from moving when being recharged.

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