Recently, eight people died of suffocation following a fire that broke out in a building housing an electric vehicle (EV) dealership. These recent incidents of EVs catching fire across the country has prompted the government to formulate expert committees to investigate the fires and also come up with regulatory changes for safer EVs.
What are the new safety norms?
- In the backdrop EV fire incidents in different parts of the country, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highway had constituted an expert committee.
- This committee was chaired by Tata Narsingh Rao and was mandated to recommend additional safety requirements in the existing battery safety standards notified under Central Motor Vehicle (CMV) Rules.
- Based on the recommendations of the expert committee report, the ministry issued amendments for EVs.
- These amendments include additional safety requirements related to —
- Battery cells,
- Battery management system,
- On-board charger,
- Design of battery pack,
- Thermal propagation due to internal cell short circuit leading to fire etc.
- These rules will come into force from October 1st, 2022.
- India has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070 at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November 2021.
- This will require clear pathways to decarbonise high greenhouse gas (GHG) intensive sectors such as transport and energy.
- To decarbonise transport, the transition to clean mobility, led by electric vehicles (EVs), is paramount.
- India is on the cusp of an e-mobility revolution led by the two-wheeler (2W) and three-wheeler (3W) vehicle segments.
- Two-wheelers account for 70-80% of all private vehicles, and three-wheelers play a critical role for public transit, freight transport and last mile connectivity in cities.
EVs in India –
- Retail sales of electric vehicles clocked 4.2 lakh units in FY22 (April 2021-March 2022), as compared to 1.34 lakh units in FY21.
- The surge in sales can be attributed to increase in the availability of products in the market, high fuel prices, state subsidies and sops offered under the FAME-II Initiative.
About FAME-II Scheme –
- Launched in 2015, the Fame India scheme is an incentive scheme that encourages the adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles.
- The full form of FAME India scheme is “Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles in India”.
- In 2019, the Central government approved Phase-II of FAME Scheme with an outlay of Rs. 10,000 Crore for a period of 3 years. Earlier this year, it was extended to March 31, 2024.
- Phase-II aims to generate demand by way of supporting 7000 e-Buses, 5 lakh e-3 Wheelers, 55,000 e-4 Wheeler Passenger Cars (including Strong Hybrid) and 10 lakh e-2 Wheelers.
- Nearly 2 lakh vehicles have been supported under the FAME-II scheme.
Other measures taken by government –
- Battery Swapping Policy —
- Battery swapping is an alternative which involves exchanging discharged batteries for charged ones and provides flexibility to charge them separately.
- This de-links charging and battery usage and keeps the vehicle in operational mode with negligible downtime.
- NITI Aayog, recently, released a draft battery swapping policy under which all metropolitan cities with a population above 40 lakhs will be prioritised for development of battery swapping network under the first phase.
- Switching to an EV — Central/State governments provide an upfront subsidy that reduces the overall costs of electric vehicles.
- E-AMRIT Portal — The e-AMRIT portal offers various resources to help ease the migration to electric vehicles.