EV battery rules are likely within a month

NEW DELHI : The Union government is expected to publish new standards for electric vehicle (EV) batteries within a month, said two officials with knowledge of the matter.

The Ministry of Road Transport has already sent the draft standards to industry players for consultation, said one of the two officials quoted above on condition of anonymity. The project is based on the recommendations of a committee set up by the ministry to examine the batteries of electric vehicles following multiple cases of fires of these vehicles.

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The draft standards indicate that the testing agency should verify key parameters such as electrical power consumption. (Photo: Mint)

“We have published the new draft standards. In fact, we describe what are the minimum functionalities for the manufacture of batteries,” the official said.

In June, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) separately formulated performance standards for electric vehicle batteries, recommending the “IS 17855:2022” standard for lithium-ion batteries. The office should soon propose other standards. “BIS is part of it; the ministry is doing a complete overhaul of standards and testing criteria,” the official said.

The draft standards state that the testing agency must check key parameters such as electric power consumption, net power and “maximum 30-minute power” in electric two-wheelers and three-wheelers.

Following the electric vehicle fires, the Ministry of Roads formed two committees, one to review testing criteria and standards and the other to investigate the reasons for the fires. The investigation revealed that many batteries had cells connected in an unsafe manner and several of them lacked a ventilation mechanism to disperse heat in the event of overheating.

The probe revealed that currently the battery cells are mostly connected in parallel, instead of the “series” pattern, which increases the risk of fire. Also, there is no ventilation mechanism in case a battery overheats.

In “series” arrangement of connected battery cells, overheating of one cell will not impact the entire battery, while in “parallel” connections, overheating of one cell battery may impact the entire battery and increase the risk of fire. The government has asked companies to stop selling vehicles with faulty batteries and throw them away.

“Once the final standards are released, all electric vehicle manufacturers will be required to comply with the standards,” the official added.

Questions addressed to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Roads went unanswered.

Responding to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Heavy Industries, Krishan Pal Gurjar, said that currently component testing for electric vehicles is carried out according to the standards specified in ‘rule 126’ of the rule. Central Motor Vehicles, 1989, to ensure compliance.

The spate of fires has raised concerns about the safety of electric vehicles and whether Indian makers of electric two-wheelers have rushed their products to market without adequate quality and safety checks under local conditions. . The incidents have also worried the government, which has ambitious plans for the electric vehicle sector and has also introduced incentives to boost both production and adoption of these environmentally friendly vehicles.

In April, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said the government would issue quality-focused guidelines for electric vehicles.

On Aug. 19, Mint reported that the Center could impose monetary penalties on e-scooter makers over alleged use of unsafe batteries that caused fires. The development comes after manufacturers of electric vehicles responded to notices sent by the Ministry of Road Transport about a month ago.

However, according to information provided by the government to Parliament, the demand for electric vehicles has not decreased due to the incidents. The incidents largely took place in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in March and April, the heavy industries minister told the Lok Sabha. Okinawa, Pure EV and Ola Electric recalled 3,215 units, 2,000 units and 1,441 units respectively after the incidents, State Minister for Heavy Industries Lok Sabha said.

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