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According to EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, the US and the European Union are planning to collaborate on setting standards for electric vehicles in an attempt to foster development of environmentally-friendly cars.

De Gucht, who visited Washington D.C. on June 21st to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, said, “The EU and U.S. are about to agree to an ambitious work plan aiming at aligning regulatory issues, standards, and research.” The joint rules, he said, would help the world’s two largest economies “avoid moving into different directions and risk creating new market barriers.”

Bloomberg reports that while details of the collaboration are still in the works and will likely not be released until later this year, a large percentage of the discussion will likely revolve around batteries and motors. The two sides will also likely address the issue of sound. Last December, Congress passed a bill that will require all EVs and hybrids, the engines of which are almost completely silent even when running, be equipped with a “noise maker” to alert nearby pedestrians.

This is great news not only for EV consumers, but also for first responders. Uniform safety codes and standards for hybrid and electric vehicles will make it far easier for first responders to address emergency situations involving such vehicles, as they will not need to be as concerned with variations between models. For more information, check out the full report here. Creating uniform codes and standards for electric vehicles is also the goal of the 2nd Annual  Electric Vehicle Safety Summit, sponsored by SAE and NFPA, which will take place September 27-28, 2011, in Detroit.


- Shelly Shore

At NFPA's recent Conference & Expo in Boston, NFPA's Lorraine Carli provided some back-story to the milestone birthday of Sparky the Fire Dog, NFPA's official mascot.


 Keep up to date on all of the Sparky birthday fun!

NFPA is now accepting proposals for educational presentations at the 2012 NFPA Conference & Expo. We invite you to share your knowledge with your peers as a presenter in Las Vegas, NV, June 11-14, 2012. Submissions emphasizing a specific product, process or manufacturer will not be considered.
NFPA will review all presentation proposals. Selections will be made based on quality, relevance, focus, practical application, and on the presenter’s experience and credentials.

Submit a presentation proposal. Deadline is September 12, 2011.

Dust Recently, there has been an increased awareness of the explosion hazard associated with combustible dusts. NFPA 654/A. includes criteria that have been used for determining whether an explosion hazard exists in a building compartment. There is, however, genuine concern over the technical pedigree of those criteria.  Federal governmental agencies have recently begun using NFPA 654 as a standard for assessing compliance with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act of 1970.  This has precipitated a genuine concern that the criteria currently in NFPA 654 do not have sufficient technical justification to be used as a law enforcement criterion.

The objective of this project is to establish the technical basis for quantitative criteria for determining that a compartment is a “dust explosion hazard” that can be incorporated into NFPA 654 and other relevant safety codes and standards. Read the report, which presents the results of the Phase I portion of the study which is the development of a strawman method to assess the dust hazard.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to plan, manage and communicate research in support of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) mission. Read more on the Research Foundation blog.

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