Over the past couple of years, Indian automakers have been investing heavily in electric vehicles (EVs), which will not only help lower our dependence on fossil fuel, but will also cut down on pollution, and help save the environment along with humans.
As more and more people become aware about the impact of rising global warming, they want to make environment-friendly choices to prevent drastic climate change. And EVs are one of them. We see a huge shift taking place in the automotive sector worldwide as it tries to switch to alternative options from fossil fuels. Another big reason for India’s rapid shift to e-mobility is increasing oil prices. Moreover, India committed itself at the Conference of the Parties 26 (COP26) Summit to an ambitious goal of having at least 30 per cent private automobiles as EVs by 2030.
But several reports of EVs catching fire earlier this year had led to rising safety concerns. This has forced the government to take measures to prevent such incidents from recurring in future. It set up an expert committee to address EV fire incidents and, based on the committee’s recommendations, the government decided to make amendments to the previous standard AIS-156.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has come up with some new mandatory safety standards which the EV industry players will now have to follow. Earlier, the deadline for adopting these standards was October 1, 2022. But EV battery manufacturers had been lobbying with the government to provide them more time to comply with the new regulations, saying they had just four weeks’ time to implement those since the notification had come only in September.
So, the ministry has decided to give some more time to EV manufacturers by extending the time till March 31, 2023 in two phases beginning December 2022. The new standards include additional safety measures of battery cells, BMS, battery pack design, on-board charger and thermal propagation due to internal cells short-circuit leading to fires. It also mandates enough spacing between individual cells in a battery pack, temperature sensors that can send out audio-visual warnings to prevent thermal incidents, and smarter BMS and chargers. The regulations hold true for electric two-wheelers, three-wheelers, quadricycles and cars.
Industry players say that products and technologies have to be customised according to Indian road and weather conditions before the EVs reach customers and this includes choice of cell chemistry, besides upgrading BMS and battery architecture. The industry has to come up with a fail-proof system to prevent the EV safety concerns from recurring.
As EV players comply with these new mandatory norms, it will help India’s electric automobile industry to pick up further growth. At present, India’s EV sector ranks fifth globally and is likely to reach the third position by 2030. India is also the largest producer of two- and three-wheelers in the world, the second-largest bus maker and a major manufacturer of large vehicles, such as tractors. The significance of the EV industry and its imminent growth are also attracting investments in the area fast. In fact, several auto players and oil companies have already invested heavily to help improve the EV demand to reach India’s grand objective.
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