Panel Blames Faulty, Scrambled Battery For Spate Of EV Fires

Panel Blames Faulty, Scrambled Battery For Spate Of EV Fires

The batteries fitted into electric two-wheelers catching fire were faultily designed and lacked even the basic safety mechanisms. The expert panel formed by the government to investigate the accidents has called upon the manufacturers for corrective mechanisms or face legal action otherwise.

According to a member of the panel, the battery management system seriously compromised the safety of the passengers. For example there was nothing in the battery to vent out the heat from the battery. The battery panels fitted into the vehicles appeared more of a jugaad to save money on safety. Bare minimum functionality appeared to be the priority of the manufacturers resorting to shortcuts without any concern for the consequences.

Having shared its findings with the manufacturers, the panel has made clear that the shortcuts will not be brooked by the government. “Companies have already been told that many of the EV two-wheeler manufacturers have taken shortcuts. Their cells have failed the tests. In several cases, the venting mechanism is not there. They are bursting and catching fire. They are mainly poor-quality cells. Secondly, the battery management system is not even basic. A particular battery, when it’s getting overheated, must be identified and cut off. This is, in fact, what even a minimum functional BMS will do. These vehicles didn’t even have that basic identification system for failed cells,” the official has been quoted as saying.

An intelligent battery management system in an EV ensures safety by constantly monitoring and regulating supply of current to prevent overcharging and overheating. The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has specifically laid down safety standards and the manufacturers must adhere to them. Flagrant violation of the safety guidelines has prompted the government to ask the embroiled companies for immediate corrective action and explain why it should not proceed against them legally, according to the official. The sale of the electric scooters has been hit with the manufacturers recalling the vehicles from the market.

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