Electric cars

electric vehicles: the growth of electric vehicles could slow down due to the tightening of safety standards

electric vehicles: the growth of electric vehicles could slow down due to the tightening of safety standards

The meteoric growth in electric vehicle (EV) sales, especially in the two- and three-wheeler categories which have seen several launches lately, may slow as safety standards are tightened following four recent fires involving such bicycles. Government-appointed testing agencies are supposed to tweak the parameters of these vehicles, especially to prevent the lithium-ion batteries from overheating and igniting.

The government has already prescribed the strictest benchmark for electric vehicles.

“India has the strictest test standard in the world, AIS 156, which includes the fire resistance test where the battery is subjected to direct and indirect flame for more than two minutes,” Niti CEO said. Ayog, Amitabh Kant. “Manufacturers voluntarily ensure that all their batteries are certified to this standard.”

The country is also working with the United Nations on the new R136 standard and battery testing among the topics under discussion. “We may see them adopted in India soon, once they are released,” Kant said.

The AIS 156 is perhaps more suited to European climatic conditions than to the high temperatures in India, said Hero Electric CEO Sohinder Gill.

“There would certainly be delays in new EV product launches, but that would only ensure that safer products are rolled out to customers. India needs new certification standards that support battery chemistry and design,” said Gill, also chief executive of the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV).

“Testing agencies should perform accelerated degradation tests on how batteries degrade in two or three years,” said Venkat Rajaraman, CEO of lithium-ion battery maker Cygni Energy.

Highly flammable lithium
Experts have said that lithium, which is mainly used in electric vehicle batteries, is highly flammable.

“The battery management system needs to be recalibrated to take control of battery quality. The ongoing issues are extremely critical and the whole industry should come together to find the right way forward, so that customer safety is never compromised,” said a senior executive at an electric scooter company. .

The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and the International Center for Automotive Technology (ICAT), two government testing labs, did not respond to questions.

ET office

The Center for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety, part of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, are investigating the four incidents and will take action. appropriate action against manufacturers, road transport and highways. said Minister Nitin Gadkari recently.

The batteries could be overcharged due to faster charge times and greater density as well as a desire to reduce weight, the cell makers said. Technically, the powertrain of electric vehicles is robust and simple, but the battery requires special attention, they said, adding that the problem arises when the manufacture and operation of the battery is not well regulated. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) should be aware of this.

“Almost all lithium-ion cells are imported, so each cell’s testing during assembly must be verified,” Kant said. “The battery management system needs to be strengthened and the industry (battery and vehicle OEMs) need to come together to set minimum parameters and self-declare adherence.”

To minimize fire risks and maintain consumer confidence, electric vehicle makers should recall models involved in such incidents until they resolve battery-related issues, experts said.

“OEMs (auto and battery) dealing with such issues typically recall vehicles belonging to the lot affected by these issues to ensure that any issues are resolved in a timely manner without loss of life and property,” Kant said.

Manufacturers believe that since India is a price-sensitive market, the fledgling category may not be able to sustain the increased costs of active cooling solutions, which are more commonly used in electric passenger vehicles. The challenge for two and three wheelers is the lack of space to install a cooling system. Experts said swapping the battery, which allows it to cool while being charged outside the vehicle, might be a better solution for India.