EV industry requests a delay in the implementation of Phase II of the battery safety standards.

After a slew of fire incidents earlier in the summer, the safety issue for electric vehicles is crucial. India, which is frequently mentioned as a future center for EV production, is making modest but consistent improvements to product quality and consumer safety. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) released tighter battery safety guidelines as part of its initiatives to enhance EV safety. Phase I of this will begin on December 1 and will be deployed in stages.

Although the industry applauded the new guidelines, the limited time and lack of widespread participation may not bode well for stakeholders. It is important to remember that AIS 156 Amendment 1 was in use until August 2022, that Amendment 2 was released at the end of August, causing significant industry confusion, and that Amendment 3 was once again released within 3 weeks. Amendment 3 will go into effect on December 1, 2022, and on March 31, 2023.

For battery-operated electric two- and three-wheelers, the AIS 156 standard is used, whereas the AIS 038 Rev.2 standard is used for electric vehicles (passenger and freight) with four wheels and higher.

Timing continues to be a problem.

The issue for the auto industry is that although Phase I standards may be met without issue, Phase II regulations will demand design-level adjustments at the heart of the battery pack. Prior to moving them toward certification and manufacture, several steps include R&D, prototype, adequate testing, and validation will take extra time. Rushing this procedure might possibly lead to more mishaps instead of making batteries safer, warns Gautham Maheswaran, co-founder and chief technology officer of RACEnergy.

The founder and chairman of Omega Seiki Mobility, Uday Narang, has a similar viewpoint: The only issue is the stated instant cut-off dates. We have tested these cars for longer than the regulatory authorities have requested, therefore we are certain that we will overcome any obstacles. But because the deadline is so close, even battery makers are having trouble getting the certifications cleared in time. It will never be easy to have the entire car authorised in the allotted time.

On the other hand, this will stop the production of subpar batteries. Manufacturers with strong R&D and design capabilities will endure. After the adoption of AIS Amendment 3's Phase I and Phase II, more than half of battery producers will be gone from the market. Additionally, by lowering the frequency of thermal (or fire) problems associated with EVs on the market, customers would be more inclined to purchase electric vehicles, according to Anand Kabra, vice chairman and managing director of Kabra Extrusiontechnik.

Under the condition of anonymity, a few industry stakeholders further stated that the "challenge for them is to ensure proper and extensive testing for batteries and vehicles before getting it certified, a six-month deadline (even in two parts) is too less for any good product to be tested thoroughly."

The timely availability of testing, evaluation, and certification for batteries is one of the main issues. For a modification of this scale, full R&D, internal testing, and testing by third parties can take up to 6 to 8 months. In just six months, the sector is anticipated to implement the reforms and obtain certification. How may the testing be accelerated? The timescale must be realistic, a seasoned professional in the business who preferred to remain anonymous stated, even if we are pleased and welcome the rules.

Cost increase and sourcing

The cost rise is another factor that has not received much attention. In order to pass tests like the heat propagation test and the battery's IP67 enclosure classification, the new battery tests also need design level changes in the battery module's core. According to Maheswaran, this would result in expenditures for battery producers ranging from R&D to investments in tooling and fixtures to the installation of new internal systems to minimize heat propagation, which will have an impact on the final cost of an EV for the consumer.

According to OSM's Narang, the new rules would result in a cost increase of at least 5%.

Kabra divides the additional cost into two main categories: "raw material aspect" and "capital investment aspect," which includes testing equipment and automation linked to battery production. The methods for producing, testing, and validating batteries will all undergo a number of modifications. Therefore, there will be additional expenditures for new machinery for testing and validating battery manufacture. Every reputable battery manufacturer will have in-house testing facilities. Battrixx has already started building its own internal AIS 156 or 100% test facility. We now have 60% to 70% of the testing facilities we need on-site, and we'll be adding more, which will raise the price.

According to Pulkit Khurana of Battery Smart, the transition to the new standards will have "very negligible cost consequences at scale." Customer safety is ultimately the most important factor in EV adoption, thus these new standards are very helpful in ensuring that products are safer and more dependable.

According to Kapil Shelke of Tork Motors, they created their own 4kWh Tork Li-ion Battery from the ground up with the most severe conditions in mind. Before sending the motorbike to consumers, we test every battery pack for at least 100 kilometers.

In order to accelerate the adoption of electric cars, it is crucial that the government, regulatory agencies, and industry work closely together. While the Phase I timeframe is attainable, the Phase II timeline will necessitate substantial acceleration on the part of the corporation and testing agencies. According to the widespread view, the car sector would benefit more from an extension and certain medium-term standards.

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