Toyota Asks NHTSA for Certain Safety Rule Exemption to Sell its FCV

Toyota high voltage fuel cell 1 photo
Photo: edited by autoevolution
Since electric vehicles started to reach more ground into the auto world, the government thought of a set of new rules to keep them safe. Toyota is due to roll out its FCV next year, but due to its current construction, it won’t be able to meet one of those regulation so the company is now asking for a two-year exemption from it.
Rule FMVSS No.305 requires automakers to isolate high-voltage EV components in case of a crash to reduce the risk of electrical shock for passengers and first responders. And by isolate we refer to cut off the high-voltage source from being exposed in some way to nearby living beings in the moment of a crash.

There are three scenarios that dictate when the high-voltage system has to be automatically isolated, with tests being conducted at ANY speeds up to a maximum of 48 km/h (30 mph) for frontal impacts, 80 km/h (50 mph) for rear crashes and 54 km/h (33 mph) for side impacts.

Toyota said that due to how the FCV operates, involving a fuel cell unit that produces electricity from hydrogen, such a cut-off system will completely disable the vehicle in case of a minor impact, like a wrong parking maneuver and hitting the car or pole next to it. Which probably suggests the repair cost for re-enabling the fuel-cell might be way off the chart to make it feasible.

As a result, the Japanese automaker is asking NHTSA for a two-year exemption from rule FMVSS No.305 in order to be able to still sell the car and work for a solution in the meantime.

Toyota plans to sell around 2,500 FCV units per year starting with next spring, with Japan being the first country to get one for around ¥7 million ($69,000).

NHTSA is currently evaluating the automaker’s proposition, which states that the FCV currently meets all other safety features and will use extra insulation materials to protect people in case a high-speed accident occurs.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories