EV 2-wheeler batteries, cells set to face mandatory checks

NEW DELHI: The government will soon make it mandatory for two-wheeler EV manufacturers to undertake stringent quality checks of batteries and the cells in the batteries as well, measures aimed at ensuring safety and restoring confidence in such vehicles.

The move comes against the backdrop of growing concerns over the poor quality batteries and imported cells being used by the industry to push manufacturing of electric vehicles. A senior government official said the road transport ministry has set up an expert committee, which will soon come out with the standards, and the quality check at cell level will be made mandatory.

The government will also enforce the conformity of production (CoP) of EVs. “We will come up with a new Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) to meet the requirement. We will notify fresh rules to enforce the quality checking at all levels,” said the official. Currently, the tests are conducted for battery packs and the manufacturers have been selling the batteries as a part of the package of the EVs.

“Cells are the basic component of the batteries and if we are not checking the quality of cells, we can’t ensure that the quality of batteries will be good. Most of the manufacturers are importing cells and simply assembling them to make batteries. The government’s fresh move is in the right direction,” said an industry insider.

Government sources said to ensure that the manufacturers are complying with the approved standards and designs of the EVs, the government will enforce stringent CoP norms. As per the current Motor Vehicle Act, the government approved testing agencies can pick up the vehicles even from dealers to check whether these are compliant with the approved models, also known as type approval of a vehicle.

Balraj Bhanot, former director of Automotive Research Association of India said, “Battery manufacture should be covered under AIS 037 and should attract independent type approval and CoP procedure. The government should expedite steps for a mandatory marking scheme for batteries under BIS by issuing quality control orders. Currently, it is treated as part of the vehicle and type approval is covered under the vehicle as an entity.”

Recently, Union road transport secretary Giridhar Aramane had told two-wheeler EV manufacturers to send the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and testing norms for quality check of batteries and other equipment. He had also flagged how some companies have barely 12-15 employees, raising questions over the quality control mechanism they have.