nsw ev warning label
Credit: Bridie Schmidt

Letters have been sent out to owners of electric and hybrid vehicles in NSW to remind them that – as of January 2020 – an exemption will be lifted on the requirement that EVs and hybrid cars have to display an “EV warning label”.

The number of electric vehicles on Australian roads is set to rapidly increase in coming years – although there have been only a few thousand registered nationwide up until late 2019, when the arrival of the Tesla Model 3 effectively doubled the number of EVs registered in Australia.

An EV warning label is considered important for alerting emergency services and first responders to the presence of a lithium-ion battery – which has different flammability properties to an internal combustion engine (ICE) – in the vehicle.

The warning label is already compulsory in Victoria.

An investigation into whether EVs are more likely to catch fire than ICE by US car safety body NHTSA said that, “lithium ion battery systems are anticipated to be somewhat comparable to or perhaps slightly less than those for gasoline or diesel vehicular fuels.”

ev safety labelling
Source: RMS

The new safety regulation, which has not yet been adopted in states other than NSW and Victoria, came into force on September 2019 and affects all electric, hybrid and hydrogen-powered vehicles (all are referred to as EVs here) built or modified to be electric after January 2019.

An exemption has been in place covering drivers from failing to make sure they have the EV label on their vehicles until January 1, 2020.

However, after January 2020, those failing to display an EV warning label on vehicles affected by the law will face a fine (the NSW RMS website does not disclose what this fine will be).

Those affected by the law will receive – or already may have received – a letter in the mail containing the labels and instructions on how to affix them.

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