To establish uniform safety standards, testing of electric vehicles will start from April 1

For the first time, India is set to start testing electric vehicles (EVs) from April 1 next year and the government has ordered the Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) to acquire the necessary infrastructure to test. battery powered vehicles.

The Ministry of Heavy Industries reportedly allocated Rs 44 crore to ARAI to set up the necessary infrastructure for testing, certification and development of electric and hybrid vehicles. This should be in place when a new testing schedule for electric vehicles takes effect, a senior government official told the Sunday Express.

This comes amid concerns over several fires in electric two-wheel and four-wheel vehicles in recent months.

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There are currently no centralized testing facilities for electric vehicles in India and manufacturers have their own benchmarks. In June, as part of the first major step towards standardizing battery technology, the Bureau of Indian Standards released performance standards for lithium-ion batteries and traction systems in line with broader ISO standards.

The test infrastructure offered at ARAI will likely cover battery cells, battery management systems, on-board chargers, battery designs, and thermal propagation shielding related to internal cell shorts, which could lead to electric vehicle fires.

“We chose ARAI because they have better systems to implement this test system. Electric vehicle technology is about to evolve and we will add more agencies for testing as needed,” said the senior government official, who declined to be named.

The official added that the industry has also had ample time to prepare for safety rules, a key step in dealing with concerns from potential buyers.

ARAI currently provides a range of certification and certification services for automotive vehicles, systems and components and assists the government in formulating automotive industry standards and harmonizing regulations, while helping to establish vehicle inspection and certification centers across the country. .

Explain

Tests and technology

Globally, there is no single standard for electric vehicles. Japan, China, European countries, and North America have security standards that promote different standards in four main areas: security, charging connectors, charging topology, and power-related communications. India should largely follow the same philosophy for its testing standards – updating them as technology evolves.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways late last month extended the implementation of changes to electric vehicle battery testing standards from October 1, 2022 to a staggered two-phase implementation schedule.

The changes to the EV battery test standards – Automotive Industry Standards-156 (or AIS-156) and AIS-038 – will be implemented in two phases: the first phase from December 1, 2022 and the two from December 1, 2022. as of March 31, 2023.

The AIS-156 includes L-category motor vehicles – those with less than four wheels and an electric power train. The second amendment — AIS-038 — regulates vehicles equipped with electric motors of category M (those with four wheels and used to transport passengers) and category N (electric vehicles with four wheels used to transport goods and passengers) .

Incidentally, electric two-wheel vehicle manufacturers such as Ola Electric, Okinawa Autotech and PureEV have been forced to recall their scooters after fires. The reasons for the fire could include manufacturing defects, external damage, or deployment failures in the battery management system. In some cases, a faulty charge may also have been the reason.

A Tata Nexon EV caught fire in Maharashtra in June. The Nexon EV is the country’s best-selling mass-market electric vehicle. There are more than 30,000 Nexon electric vehicles on the road, which have cumulatively covered more than 100 million km in nearly four years, Tata Motors said in a statement, citing the fire incident as an “aberration”. “It’s a very isolated case… It has something to do with this particular car. Perhaps a particular cell, which is inexplicable. We did all sorts of experiments in what could have been the worst possible situation and we passed every test. This is an aberration,” Shailesh Chandra, managing director of Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles, said on the sidelines of the SIAM conference last month.

The electric vehicle testing campaign complements the government’s heightened focus on electric vehicles, as well as other forms of alternative fuel, with the broader aim of reducing its oil import bill.

The government has had partial success – high fuel prices have also helped the transition – with companies such as Tata Motors, MG and Hyundai Motor having electric vehicle models in the markets.

According to government data, India had more than 1.3 million electric vehicles as of the end of June – more than half are three-wheeled; much of the remaining vehicles are two-wheeled, with four wheels doing the rest.

The country’s biggest automaker, Maruti Suzuki, has yet to introduce an electric vehicle to the market, although it is working together with Toyota Kirloskar Motor to develop a battery-electric vehicle in India. The company also said it may stop making pure gasoline cars within the next 10 years and consider equipping all new models with electric assistance, including a strong hybrid lineup.

The government also aims to go fully electric in terms of new car sales in the country by 2030, said Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari.

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