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101 Posts authored by: andrewklock Employee

The NHSTSA puts the Chevrolet Volt through its paces, resulting in a 5-star safety rating.

Last week, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced an $8.75 million study to investigate whether lithium ion batteries in electric vehicles pose a potential fire hazard. NHTSA is undertaking the study to ensure the safe charging of vehicles and to mitigate any potential risks. No prior vehicle incident triggered the study.

The issue of electric vehicle safety, and the safety of drivers and first responders, is EV Safety Training’s first priority, and we plan to pay close attention to the results of this NHTSA study.

It’s also important to note that several other safety-related studies have also released their findings this year. In April, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave both the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf a Top Safety Pick designation. Not only did both cars perform well in all standard combustion-engine vehicle tests, but all additional safety features related to the batteries and high-voltage cabling in the electric vehicles performed exactly as designed. The fully-charged battery packs were not damaged in the crash tests, and the automatic shutdown features that disengage the power source in the event of a crash worked flawlessly. The IIHS did not detect any electrical or fire hazards. The Chevrolet Volt also received a 5-star crash test rating from NHTSA.

The NHTSA lithium ion research will take a few years to produce results, and EV Safety Training will be keeping a close eye on other studies that might point us in the direction of potential dangers in electric vehicles. However, the high safety ratings of the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf prove that EV Safety Training isn’t the only group trying to keep passengers and first responders safe—car manufacturers are, too.

Too busy eating the Sparky cake to stop by our booth at the NFPA Conference and Expo? You’re in luck. Andrew Klock, senior project manager for EV Safety Training, talked to NFPA’s Mike Hazell all about our new and exciting program developments, including our online Chevy Volt course, the benefits of our direct relationships with electric vehicle manufacturers, and our new, in-the-works emergency field guide for first responders. 

For those of you who couldn’t make it to this year’s NFPA Conference and Expo, be sure to check out this video from our own Mike Hazell, featuring Casey Grant from the Fire Protection Research Foundation. They discuss the upcoming NFPA and SAE Safety Summit in September, ongoing research with electric vehicles, what first responder tools for electric vehicles are coming down the road and more. 

P1010488Traffic was steady at NFPA's EV Safety Training Booth as the Expo opened on Sunday.

It’s that time of the year again: the 2011 NFPA Conference and Expo. Every year, we look forward to the chance to meet with industry professionals to provide the best educational event in the field and share our latest resources, trainings and tools for the fire protection industry. This year’s event – which runs from June 12-15 in Boston – will feature the latest information regarding our Electric Vehicle Safety FireTraining project.

Stop by Booth 1203 to speak with NFPA experts about our EV training program and find out how you can sign up for EV trainings beginning in July. 

And no conference is complete without some freebies! Mention the NFPA EV blog and receive a free t-shirt. Plus, there will also be additional information regarding EV safety available at the conference that you won’t want to miss.

EV Courses

On Sunday, June 12, from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM, catch Thomas Lichtenstein and Alfredo Ramirez from Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., as they discuss what you need to know about charging systems for electric vehicles. This will include information about charging system types, as well as certification and code requirements.

Next, you can catch up on what happened at last year’s U.S. National Electric Vehicle Safety Standards Summit. This report will be presented by Casey Grant of the Fire Protection Research Foundation on Monday, June 13th, from 4:15 PM to 5:15 PM. In this session, you’ll get the chance to hear about the important topics discussed at the Summit including battery technology, charging station interface, permitting and inspection and, of course, the vehicle features that require additional training from first responders. 

The NFPA Conference and Expo is the best opportunity to speak with industry experts, explore new technologies and address any challenges you may be facing. We cannot wait to meet with you and share what we have been working on. See you soon!

- Angela Burke

You’ll hear us mention rather frequently about the growing level of government support for electric vehicles. This support is helping (hopefully) to remove barriers that may keep consumers from adopting new EVs and building the necessary infrastructure so they can thrive. However, it is important not to underestimate one of the most important factors in how quickly this country embraces electric vehicles: the enthusiasm and interest of the general public.


Today, one of the easiest ways to capture consumer response is social media. The social media space is a way for the public to interact with their favorite products, brands or companies on a new, personal level. And hundreds of thousands of people are getting to know EVs through social media channels.


The official Chevrolet Volt Facebook page already has nearly 55,000 “Likes” and growing. Though the pace of EV sales has been steady, this number is staggering considering that only 2,184 Volts have been sold this year. The Nissan Leaf Facebook page has nearly double the fanfare, with close to 108,000 “Likes” despite the only 2,167 vehicles that have made it on to the roads.


The online popularity of these vehicles and how that popularity translates into long-term sales is still to be determined. Yet the numbers do show that consumers are enthusiastic and want to learn more. Social media channels like Facebook serve as a way to satisfy the desire for information among the growing electric vehicle fan base.


Recently, Toyota, the producer of the most popular hybrid vehicle in the U.S., announced it was developing a private social network exclusively for Toyota customers and their vehicles. The appropriately named Toyota Friend is a way for electric car and plug-in hybrid customers to connect remotely to their vehicles using smart phones and the Internet. From there, they can examine the vehicle’s energy usage, check battery status, manage charging and set routes.


Here at the NFPA EV Blog, we also continue to embrace social media as a way to share information with our audience. Aside from the blog itself, NFPA manages a Facebook page and Twitterfeed with regular news and updates about the EV project and other items important to the firefighter and first responder communities. We encourage you to follow us, friend us or simply pass along the message to friends and colleagues.

Angela Burke, NFPA

Earlier this month, legislators from across the aisle came together to introduce the Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act  ̶  legislation designed to provide communities with the funds needed to make their cities EV-ready.

The bill authorizes the U.S. Secretary of Energy to award up to $300 million to each of 10 different deployment communities around the country ($3 billion total) to encourage early adoption of electric cars. The legislation also provides assistance for the installation of charging infrastructure, supports the manufacturing of electric vehicle components and encourages utilities to plan for widespread use of electric drive vehicles. These communities will then serve as domestic hubs for EV manufacturing and deployment, as well as testing grounds for best practices. The 10 communities will be selected through an application process.

The Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act also guarantees these consumer benefits:

  • Incentives to purchase electric drive vehicles, such as an additional $2,000 incentive to the first 50,000 people within each hub who buy electric drive vehicles.
  • Extends federal tax credits for the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charging equipment for individuals (up to $2,000) or businesses (up to $50,000 for multiple equipment purchases).

During our pilot trainings this spring, we provided training to firefighters in New York, Chicago, Austin, Phoenix, Dallas and more. At each stop, we were impressed with the enthusiasm from not only the first responders but also local residents we met with.  

This enthusiasm and the continued commitment from the Administration and the Department of Energy will only help the EV market continue to grow.

Andrew Klock
Senior Project Manager, Training Development

The Department of Energy (DOE) today announced yet another step toward its goal getting more advanced electric vehicles on the road in the United States. 

The DOE, along with the White House and General Services Administration (GSA), released a memorandum and revealed that it will be leasing electric vehicles to 20 agencies across the country. 

In the Memorandum, the President specifically directs agencies to:

  • Develop practices that would move the Federal government to 100 percent purchase of alternative fuel  passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks by 2015;
  • Develop and implement a methodology for agencies to determine their agency's optimal fleet size and provide agencies with recommendations for alternative fuel vehicle acquisition and  fleet optimization; and
  • Establish a goal for the size and composition of the federal fleet and a plan to achieve this target by 2015.

We’re excited to see this continued commitment to the electric vehicle market. Yet another sign that the EV market will continue to grow and as it does, first responders can rely on NFPA’s Electric Vehicle Safety Project for information and resources related to this growing fleet of new vehicles.

- Andrew Klock


A training video is born

Posted by andrewklock Employee May 17, 2011

Have you ever been to an auto collision that has a dedicated concession stand to feed the rescuers? How about a simple pop-the-door extrication that takes two days? How about responding to the same crash repeatedly, each time with someone saying, "action"? Or a scene where the "director" says "CUT," but doesn't mean to take the roof off the vehicle? There's a group of firefighters in northern New Hampshire and Reno, Nevada who have experienced that kind of scene. They were part of a new training videowe produced for our Electric Vehicle Safety Training program. 

Watch a video of the training in action.

You can also read a "behind the scenes" look at the filming of this video on

<p>Here at the EV blog we have focused a lot of attention on the ins and outs of electric vehicles. However, an equally important topic, and one that we cover in our safety training, is the expanding infrastructure that will allow the growth of the EV market to continue.</p>
<p>We are witnessing a significant amount of investment and development in building this infrastructure—from federal, state and local governments to private companies. Some of the nation’s largest rental car companies, such as <a href="">Enterprise</a> and <a href="">Hertz</a>, have announced they would be incorporating EVs into their fleets within the year. This step will be instrumental in getting the public more acquainted with these new cars. Any consumer can test one out during their next vacation or business trip and get a better sense of the new technology first hand.</p>

&lt;p&gt;As reported by &lt;a href=&quot;;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=EVweeklywrap28&amp;amp;utm_term=EVUpdate%E2%80%99sWeeklyebr&quot;&gt;Electric Vehicle Update, and PRTM analysts&lt;/a&gt;, “by 2020, worldwide investment in EV charging infrastructure will need to top $30 billion to provide the minimum support required for a 10% sales penetration of plug-in vehicles.”&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;And much of this investment is already taking place.&lt;/p&gt;
<p>In the past few months, EV charging stations have been <a href="">added</a> to hotels across the nation in order to accommodate hotel guests with EVs—both owned and rented. They will also serve as <a href="">public</a> charging stations for local residents. These changes to our infrastructure will take time and continued investment, but it is taking place right before our eyes.</p>
<p>For the firefighter and first responder communities, we are doing our part to do the same. NFPA’s Electric Vehicle Safety Training is helping to make the novelty of EVs turn into familiarity and acceptance. Simple training and understanding of how these cars should be handled in a potential crash is another step in adapting our nation’s infrastructure.</p>
<p>It’s our goal that by the time you see a sign on the highway indicating a charging station at your next exit, as a first responder, you’ll be ready to handle any car that pulls in for a charge.</p>
<p>Andrew Klock<br />Senior Project Manager, Training Development</p> Photos - Austin (6) 
At our EV pilot training last week in Austin, we were lucky enough to be joined by an Austin couple, Olivia and Jesse, and their newly purchased Nissan Leaf. This participation marked the first time on our tour that an EV owner took part in the training and we couldn’t be happier with the result.

The goal of NFPA’s EV Safety Training project is to train firefighters and first responders on the ins and outs of EVs in the event that they encounter an emergency situation involving one. Firefighters are taking part in this important training not only to keep themselves safe, but also to protect the public in the event of a crash.

The event in Austin was the third stop on our pilot tour and the participation of the Leaf owners made it feel more like a community event. In addition to it being a great opportunity for the 24 firefighters to have access to the Leaf, it also provided the Leaf owners with a sense of reassurance that their local firefighters were prepared and ready to respond.

And, for their efforts, the Leaf owners got to visit the Austin Fire Academy to show off their new car and have lunch with some of the finest firefighters in Texas! Sounds like a successful event for all!

Angela Burke
EV Safety Training Team

<p>Around the globe, people are celebrating <a href="" target="_blank">Earth Day</a> in a multitude of ways that are designed to positively impact the way we treat our planet. Whether you’re planting a tree, cleaning a park or just recycling that soda can you had with lunch, any effort can make a difference.</p>
<p>Here at <a href="" target="_blank">NFPA</a>, the <a href="" target="_blank">Electric Vehicle Safety Training</a> project is using Earth Day to look at the impact of electric vehicles on mother nature.</p>
<p>As more electric vehicles are introduced in markets across the U.S., it’s important to take a look at the environmental impact they can have. Widely considered as “green” vehicles, here are a few quick facts about the effect of vehicles on the planet:</p>
<li>According to the <a href="" target="_blank">Department of Energy</a>, typical combustion engine vehicles release more than 1.7 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. Each gallon of gasoline it burns creates 20 pounds of CO2. That's about 6 to 9 tons of CO2 each year for a typical vehicle. (<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</li>
<li>A study from the Department of Energy’s <a href="" target="_blank">Pacific Northwest National Laboratory</a> found that powering cars on electricity instead of gasoline would reduce smog-forming volatile organic compounds by 93% and nitrogen oxides by 31%. (<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</li>
<li>According to the <a href="" target="_blank">National Renewable Energy Laboratory</a>, plug-in hybrids alone could double wind power in the U.S. by 2050. If three quarters of vehicles in the U.S. were powered by electricity, oil use would be reduced by more than half. (<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</li>
<li>According to a study by the <a href="" target="_blank">Natural Resources Defense Council</a> and the <a href="" target="_blank">Union of Concerned Scientists</a>, a 60 miles per gallon standard in 2025 would result in Americans saving $101 billion at the gas pump in 2030 and cut annual oil use by 44 billion gallons in that year, or nearly one-third of the oil used by cars and light trucks in 2010. (<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</li>
<p>Preparing first responders to handle electric vehicles is vital to the public’s acceptance of this new technology. The sooner the public embraces these vehicles, the sooner they can start making a difference.</p>
<p>To all first responders out there who are signing up for NFPA’s electric vehicle safety training, you are helping to get these vehicles on the road faster and making our planet a better place this <a href="" target="_blank">Earth Day</a>!!!</p>
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Angela Burke</a></p>
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