Govt announces new battery safety norms for electric vehicles from October 1


The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has introduced a set of new safety norms with concerns about the reported cases of battery fires, which were observed in multiple electric two-wheelers in the recent past. The amendments include stringent constraints for the design of battery packs, onboard chargers, and thermal propagation due to internal cell short-circuiting that leads to fire. The revised and stricter norms will come into effect from October 1, 2022, a release confirmed. The release includes the notification of the amendment to AIS 156 and AIS 038 Rev.2 standards for the respective categories of electric vehicles, which will be effective from October 1, 2022.

In April this year, cases of electric two-wheelers of manufacturers such as Ola Electric, Okinawa Autotech and PureEV catching fire were reported. It prompted the government to form a panel to examine.

“Based on the recommendations of the expert committee report, the ministry on August 29, 2022, has issued an amendment to AIS 156- Specific requirements for motor vehicles of L category with electric power train, and amendment 2 to AIS 038 Rev. 2 – Specific requirements for Electric Power Train of motor vehicles of M category and N category (motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying goods which may also carry persons in addition to the goods),” the release said.

L category motor vehicles are those with less than four wheels and is a quadricycle while M category vehicles are at least four wheels used for carrying passengers.

The release said the ministry also issued a draft notification on August 25, 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 MoRTH had constituted an expert committee, chaired by ARCl Hyderabad director Tata Narsingh Rao, Centre for Fire, Explosive & Environment Safety (CFEES) scientist M K Jain, Indian Institute of Science principal research scientist Subba Reddy and IIT Madras professor Devendra Jalihal as members to recommend additional safety requirements in the existing battery safety standards notified under CMV Rules.

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Taking the EV fire accidents into consideration, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari in April warned companies of penalties if they were found to be negligent and said they would be ordered to recall the defective vehicles.

Subsequently, Ola Electric recalled 1,441 units of its electric two-wheelers. Okinawa also announced its recall of 3,215 units of its Praise Pro electric scooter to fix any issue related to batteries. Similarly, Pure EV recalled 2,000 units of its ETrance+ and EPluto 7G models.

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