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Developing Safety Standards for FCVs and Hydrogen Vehicles

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-3995, e-ISSN: 1946-4002
Published April 20, 2009 by SAE International in United States
Developing Safety Standards for FCVs and Hydrogen Vehicles
Citation: Scheffler, G., DeVaal, J., Kissel, G., Veenstra, M. et al., "Developing Safety Standards for FCVs and Hydrogen Vehicles," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars – Mech. Syst. 2(1):185-192, 2009,
Language: English


The SAE Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) Safety Working Group has been addressing FCV safety for over 9 years. The initial document, SAE J2578, was published in 2002. SAE J2578 has been valuable as a Recommended Practice for FCV development with regard to the identification of hazards and the definition of countermeasures to mitigate these hazards such that FCVs can be operated in the same manner as conventional gasoline internal combustion engine (ICE)-powered vehicles.
SAE J2578 is currently being revised so that it will continue to be relevant as FCV development moves forward. For example, test methods were refined to verify the acceptability of hydrogen discharges when parking in residential garages and commercial structures and after crash tests prescribed by government regulation, and electrical requirements were updated to reflect the complexities of modern electrical circuits which interconnect both AC and DC circuits to improve efficiency and reduce cost.
An update to SAE J1766 for post-crash electrical safety was also published in 2008 to reflect unique aspects of FCVs and to harmonize electrical requirements with international standards.
In addition to revising the SAE J2578 and J1766, the Working Group also published a new Technical Information Report (TIR) for vehicular hydrogen systems (SAE J2579). The original focus of this document was to define systems-level, performance-based requirements for compressed hydrogen storage systems, as most FCVs currently use this form of storage. The TIR is being used as a basis of verification testing that is intended to demonstrate the effectiveness and practicality of the test methods that can be used to qualify compressed hydrogen storage systems. Revision to the TIR is also in progress based on test experience, and it is envisioned that additional revisions will be made periodically until the document can be upgraded and published as a Recommended Practice.
The objective of these documents is to address long-term real-world system safety while still facilitating rapid advances by the industry.