Northbrook, Illinois – Safety testing and certification agency Underwriters Laboratories (UL) will release a new set of requirements for large batteries in electric vehicles, helping to mitigate the potential risk of fire and electrical hazards and enhance their overall safety.

Before becoming a standard, the requirements will undergo a comprehensive review process by a global standard technical panel, a consensus body of individuals representing consumers, government agencies, regulatory authorities, manufacturers and other parties that develop and maintain effective product safety standards.

According to international consulting firm Oliver Wyman, the estimated number of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles on the road globally over the next decade will be between one and five million new vehicles per year. Along with the rapid growth comes the potential for fire, electrical shock, and other hazards.

“There are a number of factors in the industry that will dictate the rate of proliferation of electric vehicles on the market, which include cost, performance, durability and safety requirements for large batteries,” said Jeff Smidt, global manager of UL Global Energy Business. “At UL, safety remains our number-one concern. With the help of our new and existing safety requirements, we are helping manufacturers get safer vehicles to the market.”

While UL’s standard will not be mandated, manufacturers will have the option of certifying to its requirements to help reduce risks. Currently, there is no UL standard for the testing of large batteries such as those in electric vehicles.

In addition to the battery standards, UL has been conducting tests and certifying to existing standards for numerous hybrid and battery electric vehicle components, including motors, connectors and battery chargers. UL tests these components for overload protection, shock and flammability, among other hazards. Ultimately, the agency’s requirements for electric vehicle safety help move the industry toward performance and safety standardization.

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