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Common standards to streamline trade in fuel cell cars

TOKYO -- International safety standards for fuel cell cars will be drawn up by June to allow the sale of zero-emissions vehicles across 51 markets sight unseen.

     Japan, European countries, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, Russia and others are crafting common standards and testing methods under the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, a United Nations initiative also known as WP.29.

     Current rules vary by market. A vehicle meeting Japanese standards, for example, must be tested separately in the country it is exported to. The process can take half a year to a full year in some cases, and tweaking parts and vehicle designs to comply with the receiving country's regulations adds to costs. With the shared standards, testing in the home market alone will suffice.

     The standards will cover such areas as hydrogen tank materials, crash test methods, and the safe release of leaked hydrogen.

     The Japanese transport and industry ministries will update domestic regulations by next spring to ensure compatibility. Hydrogen-filling pressure here will rise to 87.5 megapascals from the current 70.

     Japan and European countries will invite China and the U.S. to participate in the initiative, even though the two nations are not helping to draft the standards.

(Nikkei)

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