Toyota Petitions U.S. to Wave Safety Standard for Fuel Cells

By | July 01, 2014
As Toyota prepares to bring a fuel cell vehicle to market, it is facing obstacles trying to comply with one U.S. safety standard. Toyota's fuel cell vehicle does not comply with a federal rule requiring carmakers to isolate high-voltage parts in electric cars so as to prevent electrical shocks to those involved in a crash. Toyota is petitioning for a temporary exemption from this rule because its model "cannot meet this requirement due to certain design characteristics." According to Toyota, implementing these key changes would make it impossible to even operate the vehicle. To keep drivers and passengers safe, Toyota instead plans to create metal barriers that would insulate high-voltage cables and components. These barriers would be grounded to the chassis to protect occupants. Toyota is only requesting to remain exempt from the rule for two years, and said it would only produce 2,500 cars within any 12-month period during the exemption period. It is unclear what it plans to do after this time, but Toyota maintains that its car will keep occupants safe.
Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen to create electricity, a process that produces zero emissions. But Toyota's fuel cell vehicle won't be the first to come to market in the U.S. Hyundai is currently offering up a Tucson fuel cell SUV for lease in certain parts of California. Source: Bloomberg,