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Exclusive | EV makers may soon have to follow BIS standards for batteries

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Exclusive | EV makers may soon have to follow BIS standards for batteries

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Sources told CNBC-TV18 that the standardised guidelines for batteries will be initially launched for two-wheelers and will include specifications on size, connectors, minimum quality of cells, capacity of the battery, among others.

Taking cognisance of recent electric vehicle fires and the poor quality cells that may have caused these incidents, the consumer affairs ministry is likely to set standards for electric vehicle (EV) batteries soon.

A senior consumer affairs ministry official told CNBCTV18 that "there is a rising need to have proper standards and guidelines for the quality of EV batteries."
"Absence of standardised guidelines for EV batteries needs to be addressed urgently, and consumer affairs ministry has started stakeholder discussions with auto, auto ancillary (makers) and battery manufacturers and industry bodies," the official said.
Sources also say that once "these battery standards are in place, they will also be included and will play a crucial role in finalising the contours of the flagship Battery Swapping Policy".
NITI Aayog has already unveiled a draft of the proposed battery swapping policy in the public domain.
Recently, NITI Aayog, too, in a discussion paper, had asked for BIS standards as the first step towards a battery swapping policy.
As concerns arise over the safety of electric vehicles, the "consumer affairs ministry via Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will lay out the said EV battery standards. They will be initially launched for two-wheelers — scooters and bicycles — and later expanded to four-wheelers," the sources said.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the national standard body of India, is responsible for the harmonious development of activities of standardisation, marking and quality certification of goods.
"The standards are likely to include specifications on size, connectors, specification and minimum quality of cells, the battery's capacity," said the sources.
Earlier this month, CNBC-TV18 had reported that several EV companies were likely using lower quality cells despite submitting A-grade cells for testing, taking advantage of the loosely-framed rules in the absence of surprise checks.
An Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) source told CNBC-TV18 that while almost all companies submit grade-A cells for testing, many may not necessarily use the same in all the vehicles produced and sold. The report also highlighted issues with the battery management system used by many EV makers.
Separately, other government departments, including the roads and highways ministry and heavy industries ministry, are working on revising testing and certification norms for EVs in the light of recent fires. The government is likely to develop stringent quality control norms for battery cell testing.
At least eight fire incidents on EVs were reported between March and April in different parts of the country, including forty electric scooters of Jitendra Electric Vehicles together catching fire in a transport container in Nashik, the biggest of such accidents.
CNBCTV18 had first reported on May 13 that the Central Consumer Protection Authority, under the aegis of the consumer affairs ministry, had taken suo-moto action and issued notices to Pure EV and BOOM EV to explain the fire incidents.
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