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    New Battery Safety norms for EVs from October 1

    The union ministry of road transport and highway on Thursday said that additional safety requirements for battery safety would come into effect from October 1, 2022. In the backdrop of EV fire incidents in different parts of the country, the ministry had constituted an expert committee, chaired by Tata Narsingh Rao, Director, ARCI, Hyderabad, to recommend additional safety requirements in the existing battery safety standards notified under CMV Rules.

    Based on the recommendations of the expert committee report, the ministry, on 29 August 2022, issued amendments to requirements for motor vehicles with less than four wheels running on electric power trains, and amendments to specific requirements for four-wheeler EVs carrying passengers and goods.

    These amendments include additional safety requirements related to battery cells, battery management systems, onboard chargers, design of battery pack, thermal propagation due to internal cell short circuits leading to fire, etc.

    “The notification to mandate amended AIS 156 and AIS 038 Rev.2 standards for the respective categories of electric vehicles with effect from 1 October 2022 is in progress,” the statement said.

    Ministry also has issued draft notification GSR 659 (E) dated 25th August 2022, to amend Sub-rule 4 of Rule 124 of Central Motor Vehicles Rule (CMVR) 1989, for mandating Conformity of Production (COP) for traction batteries used in electric power train vehicles. The proposed regulation will be applicable with effect from 1 October 2022.

    Ministry has sought comments and suggestions from all stakeholders within a period of thirty days.

    Following the EV fire incidents, the road ministry formed two committees—one to look at the testing criteria and standards and the other to probe the reasons for fires. The investigation found that many batteries had cells connected in an unsafe manner and that several of them did not have a venting mechanism to disperse heat in case of overheating.

    Answering a question in Lok Sabha, Union minister for heavy industries Krishan Pal Gurjar said that currently, testing of components for EVs is done as per standards as specified in ‘Rule 126’ of the Central Motor Vehicles Rule, 1989, to ensure compliance.

    The series of fires triggered concerns about the safety of EVs and whether Indian electric two-wheeler makers had rushed their products to the market without adequate quality and safety checks in local conditions. The incidents also worried the government, which has ambitious plans for the EV sector and has also introduced incentives to boost both production and adoption of such eco-friendly vehicles.

    In April, road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said the government would issue quality-centric guidelines for EVs.