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UN Panel Adopts PRBA Proposal

Outdated Battery Tests Inhibit Development of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles< Washington D.C. – The Portable Rechargeable Battery Association announced today that the United Nations Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods has endorsed a major PRBA initiative by modifying the international testing requirements for rechargeable lithium cells and batteries. The approval came at a Subcommittee meeting last week in Geneva, Switzerland.

We are gratified that the UN Subcommittee agreed with PRBA’s position that advances in technology made some testing requirements no longer necessary and overwhelmingly approved our proposal to eliminate the testing of rechargeable lithium cells and batteries that are fully discharged, said PRBA Executive Director George Kerchner. These batteries are used in cell phones, notebook computers, other electronic devices and some vehicles.

Experts from France, Germany and Japan supported another PRBA proposal, which called for revisions in the testing requirements for large format lithium batteries expected to power the latest generation of hybrid and electric vehicles. However, no formal vote was taken on the proposal and PRBA intends to file an amended paper on large format lithium batteries before the UN Subcommittee’s scheduled meeting in December. If adopted, these testing changes would facilitate the shipment of large format batteries by battery companies and vehicle manufacturers.

The UN Subcommittee last updated its testing requirements for lithium batteries in 2000, when the regulatory focus was almost entirely on the smaller lithium cells and batteries that played a crucial role in the consumer electronics revolution. Eight years ago, few experts anticipated either the significant gains in lithium-battery technology or the widespread demand for large-format batteries by the military, aerospace, telecommunications and automobile industries.

Large-format lithium batteries play a critical role in ongoing international efforts to reduce global warming and curb our addiction to carbon-based fuels. Unfortunately, outmoded international battery tests have become a little-known impediment to technological progress and could inhibit the development of an entire generation of environmentally-friendly products such as hybrid and electric cars, Mr. Kerchner said.

About PRBA

The members of PRBA power the consumer electronics revolution. We deliver a safe, efficient, and essential power source for portable electronic equipment such notebook computers, cell phones, power tools, PDAs, and MP3 players as well as hybrid and electric vehicles. PRBA members produce more than half of the world’s lithium-ion cells and account for billions of dollars in annual worldwide sales. With more than 70 members, PRBA is widely recognized as the nation’s authoritative source for information on rechargeable batteries.