The Indian electric vehicle industry has come out in full support of the new government regulations on additional battery safety requirements related to battery cells, battery management systems, onboard chargers, designs of the battery pack and thermal propagation. The new regulations are said to come into effect from October 1.
Based on the recommendations of a expert committee constituted by the Union transport ministry, the draft notification mandates conformity of production (CoP) for traction batteries used in electric powertrain vehicles. Once approved, this will ensure that EV makers and battery manufacturers stick to making vehicles that have been approved by testing agencies.
The new regulations impact vehicles with electric powertrain with four wheels or less, classified as L category motor vehicles, as well as M category electric vehicles that are at least four wheels and used for carrying passengers as well as goods.
In April this year, cases of electric two-wheelers of manufacturers such as Ola Electric, Okinawa Autotech and PureEV catching fire were reported. Taking these EV fire accidents into consideration, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had warned companies of penalties if they were found to be negligent and had said they will be ordered to recall the defective vehicles.
Hero Electric CEO Sohinder Gill, who’s the director general of Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, stated that it’s a well-thought policy and most of the points are relevant for the Indian ecosystem. “The industry and the policymakers have to sit down and agree on a framework of implementation in the short and medium term as some of the crucial points will take months of development and testing before starting mass production,” Gill said.
The fire incidents also prompted the government to form a panel to examine the reason for the fires. Subsequently, Ola Electric recalled 1,441 units of its electric two-wheelers. Okinawa also announced its recall of 3,215 units of its Praise Pro electric scooter to fix any issue related to batteries. Similarly, Pure EV recalled 2,000 units of its ETrance+ and EPluto 7G models.
Anant Nahata, MD, Exicom is of the view that these amendments will help pave the way for Indian consumers to get safer and high-quality EVs. “The battery safety recommendations by the expert committee will ensure that EV batteries operate safely under various conditions, including water ingress, over-voltage and other abnormal conditions. The thermal propagation test and pressure release vent will reduce the instances of thermal runaway. Overall, this is a very positive move and we believe this will instill confidence in consumers and alleviate safety concerns,” Nahata explained.