Japan To Set World Standard For Hybrids And EVs

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

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.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • 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.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.
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