Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India Nitin Gadkari has warned that any electric vehicle (EV) company found to be negligent in its manufacturing process will face heavy penalties, and a recall of all defective vehicles will be ordered.
In a series of tweets, Gadkari said EV companies are encouraged to take pre-emptive action to recall all defective batches of vehicles immediately.
The minister’s statement comes in response to a series of accidents and battery fires in EVs in the last few weeks.
Gadkari said that an expert committee had been constituted to inquire into these incidents and recommend remedial steps. The ministry will issue necessary orders on the defaulting companies based on the reports.
The minister also said that quality-centric guidelines for EVs will be issued soon.
In recent days, EVs going up in flames have sparked safety concerns among users. In one of the unfortunate cases, a man and his daughter died of suffocation after their electric scooter, parked outside their house, caught fire. In another incident, an 80-year-old man died while his family members suffered burns when the battery of an electric scooter exploded in their house in Telangana.
While no conclusive reasons have been given for these incidents, experts have hinted that rising temperatures and manufacturing defects could be possible causes of the fires.
The government thinktank NITI Aayog, in the recently-issued draft battery swapping policy, suggested that batteries must be enabled with a battery management system (BMS). The draft also stated that manufacturers must ensure that appropriate BMS is in place to protect the battery from conditions such as thermal runaway.
The draft policy also said that the BMS of the battery must be self-certified and open for testing to check its combability with various systems and capability to meet safety requirements. To ensure a high level of protection at the electrical interface, a rigorous testing protocol must be adopted to avoid any dielectric breakdown, arc phenomenon, or any unwanted temperature rise at the electrical interface.