Business Standard

Centre extends EV battery safety certification deadline by 6 months

The certification was compulsory for manufacturers from April 1, 2023, if they wanted subsidies under various EV-promotion schemes

Electric vehicles

Nitin Kumar New Delhi

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The Centre has extended by six months the deadline to obtain the mandatory electric vehicle (EV) battery safety test certification from the ministry of heavy industries, Business Standard has learnt.

The certification was compulsory for manufacturers from April 1, 2023, if they wanted subsidies under various EV-promotion schemes.

The development came after all the automakers, across segments, failed to obtain certifications under the ministry’s November 2022 notification. The certification aimed at enhancing human safety of the battery used in EVs by requiring checks at three levels — the cell, battery management system (BMS), and the battery pack.

“After receiving several industry representations for deadline extension, the ministry has given an extension till October 1, 2023,” senior government officials said.

Following multiple instances of EVs catching fire last year, the ministry had notified these new testing parameters as mandatory for obtaining government incentives. The incentives were under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-II) and production-linked incentives (PLI) schemes.

Fire instances were reported in vehicles of Okinawa Autotech, Ola Electric, Pure EV, Jitendra Electric Vehicles, and Boom Motors, according to the heavy industries ministry’s statement in the Rajya Sabha.

Industry not ready for international testing standards

Battery testing standards are put in place to ensure the safety and reliability of batteries used in electric vehicles.

However, the industry bodies have expressed concerns that some of the testing requirements are too stringent and difficult to comply with.
 
EV industry representatives have urged the government to revise the current testing standards. This comes as the industry is already facing a challenge in complying with the new AIS 038 and AIS 156 EV battery safety standards issued under the central motor vehicle rules (CMVR). These were notified by the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) last September and implemented from March 31, 2023.
 
While the heavy industries ministry’s norms are necessary to claim incentives, the transport ministry’s guidelines are mandatory for vehicle manufacturing.

“Heavy industries ministry has followed the international battery safety testing standards. However, the Indian EV players claim that they are not ready to comply with the new norms and urged for their revision,” a source said.

To alleviate the concerns of EV manufacturers, the heavy industries ministry is also exploring if some of the new testing norms could be revised.
 
“As the EV industry is in the early stages in India, the ministry is looking to see if it can come up with standards, which will strike a balance between consumer safety and international standards,” the source said.
 
Though the ministry is likely to start fresh rounds of consultations with the industry, there is little room for any major change in the testing standards.

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First Published: Apr 30 2023 | 7:55 PM IST

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