Japan To Set World Standard For Hybrids And EVs

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
japan to set world standard for hybrids and evs

The United Nations UNECE World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations is likely to adopt many Japanese safety rules for hybrid and electric vehicles as a global standard, says the Nikkei [sub].

Currently, there are no ECE safety standards for hybrid and electric vehicles. Japan has pushed its domestic safety rules to be adopted as international standards. Chances for adoption are good, Japanese companies and rulemakers are the pioneers in the field. Europe, which usually dominates ECE rule making, is lagging behind in the development of hybrid and electric vehicles, and doesn’t have much to lose if the Japanese standards are accepted.

The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations plans to officially introduce global safety standards for hybrid and electric vehicles at a meeting in March. The new standards would then take effect by the end of the year.

53 countries are members of the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations. They implement the well over 100 ECE regulations to varying degrees. The EU usually adopts most ECE regulations. By the end of 2008, Japan had included 35 ECE regulations in its JASIC rules. (Quite curiously, the most fervent adopter of ECE regulations is the Russian Federation. By the end of 2008, Russia had signed 123 of the 127 ECE regulations into law. The EU had adopted 105.)

If Japanese rules for hybrid and electric vehicles are adopted as global standards, Toyota and Honda should be the main beneficiaries. They will be able to continue selling their Prius and Insight hybrid vehicles without much modification.

Notably absent for the World Forum are the U.S.A. and Canada. Many other countries, even if not formally participating in the 1958 agreement, recognize the ECE Regulations and either mirror the ECE Regulations in their own national rules, or permit the use and importation of ECE-approved vehicles, or both.

Hopefully, worldwide adoption of Japan’s standards for hybrid and electric vehicles will entice Japan to adopt more ECE rules. It would be a big step towards a world of internationally accepted safety and emission regulations, a world from which the U.S.A. decided to isolate itself. Which is one of the reasons why U.S. car exports don’t fare too well in the world.

Join the conversation
3 of 10 comments
  • Cstoc Cstoc on Jan 01, 2010

    The U.S. standards have often been ahead of everyone else's. When I lived in Germany in 1984 the Europeans were just starting to introduce lead-free gasoline so they could have stronger emission controls (with catalytic converters). One of the big debates I heard was whether laminated windshields should be required. With the increased globalization of the auto industry since then, however, global standards make a lot of sense.

  • Facebook User Facebook User on Jan 02, 2010

    hm, I wonder if a pure EV parked in front of the sign in the picture would get a ticket...

    • Don1967 Don1967 on Jan 02, 2010

      Only if the owner drinks from the wrong water fountain.

  • Brandon What is a "city crossover"?
  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.
  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...