Wyden introduces EV fire safety bill

By Garrett Downs | 06/21/2024 06:39 AM EDT

The legislation would authorize $10 million annually to help states train first responders on electric vehicles.

EV fire in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

A car dealership fire in San Juan, Puerto Rico, last year involving an electric vehicle. Bomberos_de_PR/X

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden unveiled legislation Thursday that would force federal agencies to provide electric vehicle safety information to first responders.

The bill comes as the U.S. barrels toward an EV future. While the cars produce zero emissions and are seen as crucial to fight climate change, they pose new risks in a crash — namely, battery packs that can release hazardous chemicals, shock rescue workers and spontaneously reignite.

“EVs bring new opportunities for green transit and lowering emissions, but they also present new dangers for first responders to tackle,” Wyden said in a statement. “As more Americans transition to EVs, it’s essential that we give firefighters and other emergency personnel the tools they need to keep people out of harm’s way.”


Wyden’s “Supporting America’s Firefighters and Emergency Responders to Electric Vehicles (SAFER EVs) Act” would require federal agencies to deploy training to local first responder agencies across the country. Right now, according to Wyden’s office, only about 25 percent of first responders are trained to deal with EV emergencies.