By Apalka Bareja and Vidhi Oberoi
The significant increase in global warming has led to the innovation and use of environmentally friendly technology. The newfound activism has led to change in the Automotive Industry, which is the third largest greenhouse gas emitter. Electric Vehicles (EVs) are at the forefront of the shift. India has committed to having 30% of private automobiles as EVs by 2030 at the COP26 Summit i.e., Conference of the Parties 26. It is estimated that the EV market will reach 10 million annual sales by 2030.
Recently, it has been suggested by news outlet that the Government of India (GOI) via the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will bring the EV Battery and Performance Standards Rules. This is a significant effort towards bringing in safety norms to prevent fires. This is done to make batteries safe and reliable. These rules will prescribe standards to avoid substandard batteries which might result in fires. These rules might have a monumental effect on the EV Industry as it will regulate the batteries manufacturing in India.
New Rules for EV batteries
Accordingly, the news outlet reported that Senior Government Officials have anonymously indicated that GOI would bring rules for battery Safety and performance standards next month. The officials have also commented that these rules will likely not limit the dimensions and size of EV batteries as it will create a blockade to the innovation.
The news brings relief to the EV industry and will welcome the move. Accordingly, the government indicated to bring uniformity in size and dimensions of the batteries but later retracted. This decision was made after the industry leaders met with officials from NITI AYOG on January 3, 2023 and expressed concerns against the government suggestions to unify the battery size in EV battery swapping policy. They reasoned that standardizing the dimensions will bring a halt in EV innovations. But the officials have indicated that these rules will suggest a certain minimum standard that shall be termed “horizontal standards” to ensure safety. We will have to wait for the rules for further comments on the said subject.
Current Regulatory Standards Associated with Vehicle Battery Safety
- AIS 048 (2009) Battery Safety– This standard covers Traction Battery Safety requirements for L, M & N category vehicles (Including E-Rickshaw/ E-Cart). It covers the Electrical Abuse Test of cells. It includes two types of tests (Short Circuit Test and Over-charge test).
- AIS 038 Rev 2 (2020) M&N Category– The tests are for M and N Category Vehicles. This standard takes a system-level safety approach in which battery and the vehicle is taken as a single unit. It include additional safety requirements related battery cells, BMS, on-board charger, design of battery pack, thermal propagation due for internal cell short circuit leading to fire etc.
- Electric Vehicle Battery Swap System- A battery swapping station lets an EV to interchange a discharged battery container for a charged one as a substitute to plugging the automobile into a charging station. Battery swapping de-links the vehicle and fuel (in this case, the battery) and thereby leads to a reduction in the upfront cost of the vehicles.
- Testing Guidelines for EV for MHI Schemes for enhanced human safety- The Indian Union Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) has made these tests mandatory for all EV and battery suppliers. The cell-level battery safety tests as per International Standard UL 1642 includes six tests.
Presently, all we can do is speculate about the much awaited rules. The rules will likely regulate the responsibilities of manufacturer, importer, assembler and re-conditioner. Alternatively, the responsibilities of dealers and recyclers might also be mentioned in the rules.
Safety and performance are two critical aspects for India’s international commitment towards EV transformation. The rules will bring a positive reinforcement of trust on EV industry and will emphasize on efforts towards the safety of consumers, reliability and safety of the vehicle.
The new regulation will have a positive effect on the market as it will repair the reputation which was tarnished because of various burning incidents. Thus, the news rules will help in India’s commitment to replace Petro Chemical based motors by the ‘Greener Alternative’.
Piysuh Kumar Singh, Intern at S.S. Rana & Co. has assisted in the research of this article.