The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has received an award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help drive community preparedness for electric vehicle (EV) growth in the U.S. NFPA will oversee the three-year project in partnership with the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Office’s Clean Cities Coalitions (CCC) network, which will assist communities in evaluating their EV infrastructure, training programs, incentives, and code compliance readiness, and formulating a plan that will raise awareness and speed the safe adoption of EVs across the country.
According to reports, there are more than one million electrified vehicles currently on U.S. roadways and that number is projected to reach more than 18 million in 2030. Yet, few communities have been able to properly assess their EV preparedness and develop plans to integrate, educate, and incentivize this emerging technology into their municipality.
Through the project, NFPA will develop state-of-the-art online training modules and associated materials such as videos, presentations, a toolkit, and guidebooks. It will update and expand its existing law enforcement and tow and salvage operator alternative fuel vehicles safety training programs to reflect the latest safety knowledge and tactics. It will also expand its EV web-based training programs to include additional modules for all EV stakeholders who previously have not had access to such training including charging station installers, code officials, utilities, manufacturers/dealerships, fleet owners, garages/maintenance facilities, insurance companies, and vehicle owners.
After completing the updated coursework, NFPA will also help advise and assist selected CCCs as they conduct 30 Community Preparedness Assessment Workshops over two years across the country for local community EV stakeholders. The workshops will help encourage the setup of cooperative plans and provide education beyond the project period that will spur on greater private and public acceptance of purchasing and accommodating electric vehicles in each community.
“The DOE funding opportunity gives NFPA the platform to raise awareness of the importance of community preparedness planning and collaboration for electric vehicle adoption among key stakeholders,” said Andrew Klock, NFPA Emerging Issues Lead Manager. “As a result, we will see a greater understanding of these vehicles and their benefits, and it will allow for more incentives for ownership, increased safety, and a more accommodating infrastructure.”
Recognized by U.S. emergency responders as the EV safety training authority, NFPA has worked with several major safety organizations and numerous national laboratories on EV safety issues. The Association has been awarded two separate DOE awards to develop and enhance its Electric Vehicle Safety Programs for first- and second-responders that address passenger vehicles, electrified trucks, buses, commercial fleets, and their charging infrastructures. NFPA currently offers multiple world-class EV safety training programs and provides resources such as an Emergency Field Guide and associated reference materials.
The project will begin in October 2020 and the final deliverables are expected to be completed by October 2023.