I’m sure a lot of you have noticed the prevalence of fires caused by defects and malfunctions of lithium-ion batteries found in electric vehicles, particularly electric scooters and small motorbikes. The problem has gotten so bad, in fact, that the Indian government is stepping in with new rules pertaining to the testing and quality assurance of all batteries found in EVs—be it cars, scooters, and electric motorcycles.

The forthcoming safety regulations that all manufacturers will soon be required to obey are discussed in length in a recent article by the Indian motorcycle website BikeDekho. According to the report, in order to prevent fires in electric vehicles, the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways (MoRTH) has imposed strict testing and monitoring criteria for cells, battery packs, and the battery management system (BMS). The government has recommended that these new safety regulations apply to all EVs that are allowed on public roads. The new safety requirements will also be put into effect on October 1, 2022.

Heat propagation resulting from internal cell short circuits, which turns out to be a major cause of fires, are the subjects of all the additional testing and QA requirements. More precisely, the new regulations require manufacturers to include a safety fuse for the battery that serves as a circuit breaker whenever there is an excessive amount of heat generated, a high current flow, or any other abnormal operating circumstance that produces an excessive amount of heat. Four required sensors have also been included as a provision for monitoring and detecting these irregularities. Once tripped, the system should then notify the rider by flashing an alert on the instrument panel of the vehicle.

All electric two-wheelers, as well as electric cars and cargo vehicles, will be required to adhere to these new standards established by the Automotive Industry Standards (AIS). Additionally, they state that enough cell-to-cell separation is necessary for efficient heat transmission and cell isolation. The BMS system should incorporate technology to address over-voltage, over-charge, over-discharge, over-temperature, overcurrent, and short circuit protection in the case of electric two-wheelers in particular. Last but not least, in order to prevent overcharging, the chargers for the vehicles must also feature a voltage and time-based cut-off.

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