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NHTSA 11-12
Friday, May 18, 2012
Contact: Lynda Tran, 202-366-9550


Auto safety agency convenes experts in lithium-ion battery technology to discuss existing federal and industry standards, encourage collaboration on current and future safety issues



WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today hosted a technical workshop to discuss regulatory and safety considerations for electric vehicles.

"We're committed to ensuring the highest standards of safety on our roadways—whether drivers choose to operate vehicles powered by gasoline, electric batteries, or some future technology that has yet to be unveiled," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "That's why we're bringing together experts on battery technology, representatives of the auto industry, and the appropriate leaders from the regulatory and emergency response communities for a robust dialogue on safety."

General Motors has reported sales of 2,289 of its Chevy Volt in March 2012, while Nissan has indicated it expects to double sales of itsLeaf to 20,000 vehicles this year. Tesla has announced plans to introduce its new Model S in the near future, while Ford, Coda, Mitsubishi, BMW, Toyota, Mercedes, and Honda are producing electric vehicles for sale in the United States this year. At the same time, automotive analysts predict substantialgrowth in sales of electric vehicles by 2017.

Earlier this year, with the assistance of the National Fire Protection Association, the Department of Energy, and others, NHTSA issued interim guidance for consumers, emergency responders, and tow truck operators to increase awareness about the specific attributes related to electric vehicles and to identify appropriate safety measures to be used in the event of a crash involving an electric vehicle.

Today's meeting includes the participation of representatives from the Department of Energy, the Society of Automotive Engineers, the American National Standards Institute, the National Fire Protection Association, the University of Michigan, battery manufacturer LGChem Power, and electric vehicle manufacturers BMW, Tesla, General Motors, Nissan, Ford, and Navistar.