Friday, September 29, 2023

Lack of basic safety systems behind fires on electric two-wheelers, says government probe panel

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  • Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry has found safety system flaws in batteries of electric two-wheelers
  • The probe found that low-grade materials were used to reduce costs.
  • Now there is a new BIS standard called ‘IS 17855: 2022’ designed for battery packs of electrically powered road vehicles.

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 electric two-wheeler batteries.

Electric two-wheeler manufacturers took shortcuts to ramp up production and meet growing demand, rather than worrying about rider safety.

The expert panel, which has already shared safety recommendations with EV manufacturers to solve bigger problems, will make its findings public soon, according to sources.

The development was first reported by The Economic Times.

Nitin Gadkari, the Union’s road transport and highways minister, had warned EV manufacturers in April that if a company is found negligent in their processes, “a heavy fine will be imposed and a recall of all defective vehicles will be ordered.” .

“We have established a committee of experts to investigate these incidents and make recommendations on corrective action. Based on the reports, we will issue necessary orders to the failing companies,” he said.

The committee of experts determined that the EV manufacturers did not provide a mechanism to identify overheating cells and isolate defective battery cells.

The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), previously commissioned by the Ministry of Road Traffic and Traffic Control to investigate fire incidents involving electric two-wheelers, also discovered serious defects in the batteries of electric two-wheelers.

These defects occurred because electric two-wheeler manufacturers such as Okinawa Autotech, Pure EV, Jitendra Electric Vehicles, Ola Electric and Boom Motors may have “used lower-quality 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 protect consumers amid the increasing EV fire attacks in the country.

The BIS, which falls under the Department of Consumer Affairs, has published the “Performance Standards for Vehicle Electronic Batteries” in an effort to maintain strict control over EV battery production.

The new BIS standard called “IS 17855: 2022” is designed for lithium-ion traction battery packs and systems of electrically powered road vehicles.

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