As fires in electric vehicles (EVs) continue unabated in the country, an expert committee set up by the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry has found safety system flaws in the batteries of electric two-wheelers. The electric two-wheeler manufacturers took shortcuts in order to bump up the production and meet the growing demand rather than looking into ensuring safety for the riders. The expert panel, which has already shared safety recommendations with the EV manufacturers to fix bigger issues, is set to make its findings public anytime soon, according to sources.
The development was first reported by The Economic Times.
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari in April had warned EV makers that if any company is found negligent in their processes, “a heavy penalty will be imposed and a recall of all defective vehicles will also be ordered”.
“We have constituted an Expert Committee to inquire into these incidents and make recommendations on remedial steps. Based on the reports, we will issue necessary orders on the defaulting companies,” he had said.
The expert committee has found that the EV manufacturers offered no mechanism to identify overheating of cells and isolate failed battery cells.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which was earlier tasked with investigating electric two-wheeler fire incidents by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry, also found serious defects in the EV two-wheeler batteries.
These defects occurred because the electric two-wheeler manufacturers like Okinawa Autotech, Pure EV, Jitendra Electric Vehicles, Ola Electric and Boom Motors may have used “lower-grade materials to cut costs”, the DRDO probe had revealed.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has now issued new performance standards for lithium-ion batteries to safeguard the consumers amid the rising EV fire episodes in the country.
The BIS, which comes under the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry, published the “performance standards for electronic vehicle batteries” in a bid to keep a strict control over the manufacturing of EV batteries.
The new BIS standard called “IS 17855: 2022” has been designed for lithium-ion traction battery packs and systems of electrically-propelled road vehicles.