Home/ Auto News / EV standards are coming; are companies ready?

NEW DELHI : An expert panel set up by the government to probe multiple instances of electric two-wheelers catching fire across India is expected to suggest changes to testing and certification criteria of such vehicles, two people privy to the development said.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is expected to issue standards for batteries with inputs from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABTCL), the people said, requesting anonymity.

The panel is also looking at strict testing criteria for low-speed electric two-wheelers, they added. Low-speed two-wheelers can run up to 25 km per hour.

“Two panels were formed on the EV (electric vehicle) issue; one was looking on the cause of fire incidents, which has shared its recommendations to the companies; and the other, on battery standards and certification, is expected to submit its report soon," said Giridhar Aramane, secretary at the ministry of road transport and highways.

“Improvements over the existing standards are being considered by the expert panel," he said.

The two people cited above said the recommendations may be submitted as early as this month-end.

They also said that the inspection and probe report has been shared with EV manufacturers, and that they have been asked to explain lapses in their battery manufacturing.

The government departments sprang to action after a series of incidents wherein several scooters of Ola Electric, PureEV, Boom Motors and Okinawa caught fire, leading to several injuries and even deaths in some cases.

Mint reported on 7 April that the government is preparing comprehensive guidelines for the EV industry, as rising incidents of fires linked to such eco-friendly vehicles have raised concerns among potential buyers.

Union minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari announced on 21 April that the government would issue quality-centric guidelines for EVs.

“If any company is found negligent in their processes, a heavy penalty will be imposed and a recall of all defective vehicles will also be ordered," he said in a series of posts on Twitter.

Queries sent to the ministry of road transport and highways and the ministry of heavy industries remained unanswered till press time.

According to industry experts, electric two-wheeler makers should target an impedance of around 12 for the batteries.

Cheaper Chinese batteries come with an impedance level of 18-40, the experts said, adding that the lower the impedance, the lesser the chances of overheating.

The experts also said that out of the two most commercially viable battery chemistries, Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP), NMC gets heated much faster, and the chemistry is largely used in batteries by Indian e-scooter makers.

“The government should insist on tier I cells. Tier I cells usually come from Japan or Taiwan or Korea. Their impedance rate is in low double digits or low teens as opposed to the commonly used Chinese cells, whose impedance is much higher," said Sambit Chakraborty, advisory board member, Indigrid Technology.

“Metal or plastic casing on the packs should have a lower quality/safety rating and the BMS (battery management system) should be an intelligent design to analyze heat dissipated at a cell level to shut off that one specific overheating cell if necessary. They should also insist on a robust bus bar as a second layer of safety in the pack design and a fireproof light weight casing such as aluminium casing," he said.

Noting that stringent testing and certification norms are the need of the hour, Nitin Gupta, CEO of Attero Recycling Pvt. Ltd, said the government should look at certification standards in the US and Europe, and customize them as per Indian conditions.

The temperature range that vehicles need to operate in India is very different from that in the developed countries, he added.

Gupta also suggested that certification norms should be implemented in terms of battery imports and testing of such batteries should be done on their arrival at the ports.

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Updated: 23 Jun 2022, 12:41 AM IST
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