FADA seeks regulations for EV, battery manufacturing

In a letter to Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, FADA said the idiosyncrasies of lithium-ion battery units used in EVs make them susceptible to fire risks and hence regulations and research are needed to ensure safety

April 05, 2022 09:41 pm | Updated 09:41 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Amid rising incidents of electric two-wheelers catching fires, the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) has reached out to the government seeking establishment of standards and regulations for manufacturing of electric vehicles as well as batteries.

In a letter to Amit Varadan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, written last month, the federation pointed out that most EVs run on Lithium-ion (or Li-Ion) batteries that are known to catch fire ‘when exposed to air’. The idiosyncrasies of lithium-ion battery units used in EVs make them susceptible to fire risks and hence regulations and research are needed to ensure safety, it said.

Stressing that requisite steps needed to be taken so that such incidents don’t happen, and rider and pillion are safe, FADA said “since Conformity of Production for EV is yet to be published (December 2022), in void of norms, many companies are getting any type of EV vehicle manufactured, tested, and sold without adhering to any standard threshold putting many lives at risk.”

FADA also highlighted that since less than 25KW Battery-operated Vehicles (BoVs) do not need to get a registration under the Motor Vehicle Act, it is difficult to identify the ownership of the vehicle and raises concerns with regard to safety and misuse

Further, low-speed electric two-wheelers present significant road safety concerns, as the rider and pillion are not mandated to wear helmets while riding. In addition, these are also used by underage riders.

“These vehicles are being used by many companies for commercial purposes like for home deliveries etc… FADA recommends that a mandate is required to push the riders to wear protective headgear for their safety... similar to any other 2-Wheeler, and an age limit needs to be prescribed for the usage of battery-operated 2W along with requirement of driving licence,” the industry body said.

The low-speed electric two-wheelers are being produced with the set prescribed limit up to 25-kilowatt motor and max speed 25km/hour. “However, we understand that these vehicles can travel at a higher speed beyond 25km/hour by unplugging and swapping the installed wires; by using an illegal chip; and having concealed power mode button that helps to accelerate the speed when required,” FADA said, adding that these vehicles are predominantly used by underage riders who don’t have driving license but want high speed for thrill rides.

“FADA therefore requests the issuance of proper guidelines with regard to specification for manufacture of these battery-operated vehicles and age limit be also specified for usage of these vehicles,” the letter stated.

As per data released by the federation on Tuesday, retail sales of electric vehicles in the country grew 218.4% in FY22 to 4,29,217 units. While the sale of EV two-wheelers was up 463.6% to 2,31,338 units, that of electric three-wheelers grew 101% to 1,77,874 units. Sales of electric passenger vehicles stood at 17,802 units, up from 4,984 units and electric commercial vehicles rose to 2,203 units from 400 units in FY21.

FADA said it expected the strong pace of demand to continue, and that the industry can sell about 10 lakh units in the current fiscal if vehicle makers are able to scale up capacity.

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