September 23, 2023

Automobile Manufacturers Seek Clarifications on New Safety Guidelines for Electric Vehicles

Leading automobile manufacturers in India have requested clarifications from the government regarding the new “human safety” guidelines for electric vehicles (EVs), according to industry insiders. The Ministry of Heavy Industries issued a notification on 2 November outlining additional provisions to the safety standards for EV battery packs, following incidents of electric two-wheeler battery fires. The new standards, AIS-038 for four-wheelers and AIS-156 for two- and three-wheelers, were introduced under the Central Motor Vehicle Rules and will be implemented in two phases: 1 December and 31 March 2023.

However, stakeholders have raised concerns about overlapping directives between the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the Ministry of Heavy Industries. There is a consensus among industry players that the rollout of the human safety guidelines requires further deliberation and clarity. Additionally, there is a division within the industry regarding the deadline of 31 March to implement the AIS-038 and AIS-156 standards.

While the phase-1 directive is relatively easier to meet and will be implemented, challenges arise with certain aspects of the tests for the second phase, such as thermal propagation. Industry members are conducting technical evaluations of the new norms and may request a three-month deadline extension from the government.

The “human safety” parameters are mandatory for all manufacturers seeking incentives under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles in India (FAME-II) scheme and the production-linked incentive schemes for automotive and advanced chemistry cells. Even if manufacturers do not claim incentives under these schemes, adherence to the amended AIS-038 and AIS-156 battery standards remains compulsory for all manufacturers.

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The automotive industry is seeking further clarity and potential modifications to ensure effective implementation of the safety guidelines for EVs.