Plans to test all EV batteries for safety amid fires

The state-run lab will be entrusted with this task as green mobility is a big part of the Centre’s ambitious energy transition plan.
The state-run lab will be entrusted with this task as green mobility is a big part of the Centre’s ambitious energy transition plan.

Summary

  • Mandatory safety certification for EV batteries is slated to start with a pilot project in Bengaluru

NEW DELHI : All electric vehicle (EV) batteries—domestic and imported—will be tested for safety by the National Test House (NTH), two officials said, outlining government plans in the aftermath of several spontaneous fires.

The state-run lab that reports to the consumer affairs ministry will be entrusted with this task as green mobility is a big part of the Centre’s ambitious energy transition plan. This government recently laid down battery safety and performance standards.

Although the exact number of spontaneous combustion of EV batteries is not known, minister of state for heavy industries Krishan Pal Gurjar told Parliament last month, “Incidents of fire accidents have been reported in electric two-wheelers, manufactured by Okinawa Autotech, Pure EV, Jitendra Electric Vehicles, Ola Electric and Boom Motors."

He did not give a number despite being asked in a written query.

Mandatory safety certification for EV batteries is slated to start with a pilot project in Bengaluru, the officials said.

“In accordance with the outlined plan, there will be no exemptions, even for the prominent US-based electric vehicle major, Tesla. Its EV batteries are mandated to undergo the rigorous testing procedures at the NTH," the first official said.

He emphasized that this requirement extends to all imported EV batteries, primarily from South-east Asia, as well as domestically manufactured ones, all of which must secure a conformity certificate from NTH labs.

“The proposal to establish EV battery and charger testing facilities in Bengaluru, dedicated to testing EV batteries for two, three, and four-wheelers, including those of Tesla, in adherence to both national and international standards, has received approval from the ministry," the second official added.

“It will ensure the quality testing of EV batteries, addressing a current scenario where the majority of testing facilities are operated by the private entities. With the commencement of NTH labs, users will also have the opportunity to get their electric vehicle batteries tested," the second official said.

Divi Rajagopala Rao, who heads science and technology cell at NTH, told Mint, “The procurement of equipment for establishing the testing facility is under process, and it is tentatively scheduled to commence operations by July 2024."

After the roll-out of Bengaluru testing centre, similar facilities will be set up in Mumbai, Kolkata, Ghaziabad and Chennai, the first official said.

“NTH is a trusted and third-party technical service provider in the field of testing and calibration. These electric vehicle battery test facilities will definitely provide a fillip towards developing the ecosystem of electric vehicles and related technologies in India and aid in boosting local manufacturing sector in the country," Rao added.

Queries sent to the consumer affairs ministry, road transport and heavy industries and Tesla remained unanswered at press time.

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