Automakers, consumers and governments across the globe almost unanimously agree that electric vehicles (EVs) need an international set of standards. However, agreeing on these guidelines at the international level is a painstakingly long and difficult process.

The European Union is no longer content to wait around for other countries to agree on international standards and has decided to roll into action to form its own set of guidelines for EVs to abide by, and soon. By the end of 2010, the EU will release a full set of electric vehicle safety guidelines that will touch on ways to make the vehicles' high voltage electronics less dangerous to users. Some possible guidelines could include insulating potential shock hazards, affixing high voltage warning labels and the like. In 2011, standards will emerge for all aspects of vehicle charging. Connectors will be standardized, guidelines will be laid out for chargers and a detailed framework for infrastructure expansion will be unveiled. By 2012, the EU will release a crash test safety review detailing any areas of particular safety concerns that apply specifically to EVs.

Once completed, the guidelines set forth by the EU will govern electric vehicles sold and driven in all 27 members states. With most of Europe following a single set of guidelines, it would be beneficial for the U.S. to tag along. Sharing standards with these other nations would make the U.S. market more accessible to EVs made abroad, potentially leading to more zero-emissions vehicles for us to choose from.

[Source: Reuters]