Two critical projects, FAME I, and FAME II, have underlined India’s commitment to lowering carbon emissions and encouraging electric mobility. FAME I, under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, was launched in 2015 to increase the adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles by focusing on creating demand, promoting technology, launching pilot projects, and developing charging infrastructure. FAME I was effective in providing 359 crore rupees in incentives, which helped 2.8 lakh automobiles.
Following that, FAME II was launched in April 2019 with a significant budget of Rs. 10,000 crores that would continue until March 2024. Its primary goal was to generate demand for various types of electric vehicles and establish necessary charging infrastructure, with a focus on lowering the cost of EVs for public transportation and commercial vehicles. India announced the Performance Linked Incentives (PLIs) at the same time to stimulate local EV manufacturing. The PLI projects, launched in September 2021, promote battery electric vehicles and advanced battery production, indicating India’s commitment to advancing electric mobility, strengthening manufacturing, and establishing critical charging infrastructure.
Recently, the Ministry of Heavy Industries has amended the safety compliance parameters for EVs under the PLI and FAME II Programs.
What are the Amendments?
Heating Process and Initiating Thermal Runaway
- For thermal runaway testing, the regulations now permit the use of block heaters, film heaters, and other heating devices.
- A block heater should match the size of the component cell or be inserted directly in contact if it is smaller.
- Film heaters must be firmly attached to the surface of the initiation cell.
- The heating procedure now necessitates a plate or rod heater encased in ceramics, metal, or insulating material. The heating area in contact with the cell should not exceed the surface area of the cell if practicable. Termination criteria include detection of thermal runaway or temperature exceeding 300 degrees Celsius within 30 minutes.
- Emphasis has been laid on initiation cell accessibility and efficient heat propagation.
Compliance with Voltage, Temperature, and Safety Standards
- Emphasis has been laid on maintaining the original electrical circuit when measuring voltage.
- Sensors with an accuracy of 2°C with a sampling interval of less than 1 second are required.
Battery cells must bear visible manufacturing dates and IS 16893-Part 2 and Part 3 certification from NABL-accredited laboratories or testing agencies authorised under CMV Rule 126.
- Rechargeable Electrical Energy Storage System (“REESS”) battery packs must contain at least four strategically located temperature sensors, an audio-visual alarm which is activated if the temperature exceeds 60°C, and a battery management system which progressively cuts off power during operation.
- REESS systems must include active paralleling circuits capable of enabling parallel string connection, thereby eliminating circulating currents; and further identifying and isolating faulty strings.
- Appropriate spacing between individual cells is essential for heat dissipation and isolation during thermal runaway. The determination of a cell’s gap depends on its specific geometry and capacity.
Traceability and Technical Standards
- Each manufactured REESS must include a traceability document containing detailed information about the cells, battery management system, charger specifications, serial/batch numbers, charge-discharge data values, and other information.
- Cells used in REESS assembly must go through at least one cycle of charge and discharge at a rate of C/3 current, with the manufacturer of the REESS pack recording and maintaining the data.
- REESS units are required to be equipped with a pressure release vent to prevent the discharge of gas during an internal single-cell short circuit.
- For the units having a SOC of 100%, water ingress protection testing is mandated, following the IPX7 standard or, an immersion test as under ISO 6469-1:2019.
- Charger specifications include charge voltage cut-off, gentle start, pre-charge function for deep discharge detection, input supply variation protection (230 VAC +/- 10%), and output voltage and current regulation.
- Battery management systems must record vital parameters, with the most recent data stored on a remote cloud server for at least one month.
In India, comprehensive changes to safety requirements for EVs and REESS systems constitute a significant step towards improving EV safety and dependability. Heating methods, voltage measurement, intercell gap considerations, and requiring certification standards are all part of these measures. India plans to boost trust in EVs and REESS technologies by emphasizing safety, traceability, and consistent testing. These measures are critical for avoiding possible dangers, guaranteeing conformity with international standards, and paving the road for the country’s EV ecosystem to become safer and more sustainable.