Safety harmonisation measures have been proposed by the European Commission (EC) for all electric vehicles in member states.

The EC said as electric power trains operated at levels of 500 volts, it aimed to have all vehicles built to a common safety standard to avoid occupants coming into contact with high voltage parts.

"Electric vehicles are one of the most promising technologies for greener transport," said EC vice president industry and entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani.

"Knowing these will be generally available to consumers in the very near future, we need to ensure they are safe to use. These proposals aim at doing just that."

This proposal incorporates into European law Regulation 100 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) concerning the approval of battery electric vehicles and their construction and safety requirements.

The proposal will now be transmitted to member states.

The EC added harmonised test requirements on electric safety would simplify the approval of electric vehicles as it would replace "divergent approval practices of some EU member states."

The proposal would also help European car manufacturers to sell electric cars in third countries, which are contracting parties to the UNECE Agreement of 1958, such as Japan.