Before a vehicle can be supplied and sold within the European Community, it is required to comply with a series of regulations which set criteria for safety, environment and performance. These regulations include such tests as impact and pedestrian safety assessments. In addition, the EU has introduced changes to regulations to ensure electric vehicles meet additional specific electrical safety requirements. When a vehicle type has been tested and deemed to meet all of these criteria an EU Whole Vehicle Type Approval Certificate is awarded for the vehicle and it is ready to be sold in the market.
Vehicle passenger and pedestrian safety is also assessed independently by Euro NCAP which is an international association supported by Consumer Groups and Governments. This is body has developed its own protocol for crash testing vehicles and measuring the impact on passengers and pedestrians safety in order to encourage the development of safer cars. A composite score is used to assess the vehicle’s crash performance with a 5 Star Rating being the highest score. The criterion for inclusion of EVs in SEAI’s grant scheme is a minimum of a 3 Star Rating.
EuroNCAP procures vehicles privately from the market and performs its tests independently of the manufacturer. As high volume EV commercial brands are only now emerging on the market, Euro NCAP has yet to perform ratings for these vehicles. Therefore, all vehicles approved for this scheme are initially assessed on the manufacturer’s data which is subject to correction when (and if) a formal NCAP rating becomes available.
The body responsible for ensuring conformance of vehicles to appropriate standards in Ireland is the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). To find out more about vehicle standards see http://www.nsai.ie/Our-Services/Certification/Transport-Certification/Motor-Vehicle-Approval-Schemes.aspx .