NHTSA is issuing a final rule to update FMVSS 305, “Electric-powered vehicles: electrolyte spillage and electrical shock protection.” The agency characterizes the final rule as a “deregulatory action” as it imposes no costs and adjusts FMVSS 305 to give more flexibility to manufacturers not only for current electric vehicle designs, but also for introducing new technologies to the U.S. market, including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs) and 48-volt mild hybrid technologies.
By adopting the so-called "physical barrier option," the final rule adjusts the standard to remove an obstruction that prevented hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from being offered for sale in the U.S. Adopting the physical barrier option also enables manufacturers to produce 48-volt mild hybrid systems without having to use electrical isolation safety measures that involve more complexity, higher consumer costs, and higher mass, without an incremental safety benefit. The rule is in response to petitions for rulemaking from Toyota and the Auto Alliance. The requirements contained in the final rule are based on the electrical safety requirements of GTR No. 13.8.
Compliance with the rule will be required Sep. 27, 2018. Optional early compliance is permitted.
NHTSA contact: William Sanches, Office of Crashworthiness Standards, Tel: 202-493-0248.