Government's Move On EV Battery Safety a Much-needed Move: Log9 Materials' Pankaj Sharma

Despite having 300-plus battery manufacturers in the country, startups that look after the thermal management system of the batteries in India are non-existent

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Electric vehicle (EV) has been an emerging space for the last two to three years as it combats the pollution and emission problems put forth by the internal combustion engine-powered cars, among others. However, the Indian EV ecosystem is going through turmoil as some EVs caught fire resulting in serious injuries and even claiming lives.

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There is no clear regulatory framework in terms of safety in the EV ecosystem for batteries. The framework focuses on how companies transport batteries and talking about safety, there are IP rating regulations. However, there is a need for a holistic regulatory framework for safety of batteries especially in the light of the recent events.

"The government has taken the right preventive steps to begin with. The first thing that the government did was to form a committee comprising people from the DRDO, IASC and STL. This committee has gone to all the EV companies that were subject to combustion and did a core level, root cause investigation to understand how the events took place to understand what happened to arrive on a conclusion and then formulate regulations for safety based on the conclusions drawn," said Pankaj Sharma, co-founder and director, Log9 Materials.

The government has been looking for a solution to extinguish fire-catching EVs and is actively in a policy framework discussion as to how to include battery safety as part of the certifications.

There are problems that persist for the EV ecosystem as people are not keen to adapt to electric power. Combustion of EVs has impacted the entire ecosystem in a big way. According to Sharma, the EV ecosystem is a nascent space. Consumers won't differ between the companies that have manufactured the EV that caught fire and would point out the entire ecosystem.

The ecosystem is, however, trying to fight tooth and nail against the set of challenges the recent events have posed. The government is cognizant of the recent mishaps and in collaboration with the entire EV ecosystem is trying to make the EVs as safe as possible.

"There are over 300 battery manufacturers in India alone. We cannot look at EVs as a component that can be assembled and then be sold in the market. We must build it from the ground up because we must choose our chemistry, our thermal management system," added Sharma.

Despite having 300-plus battery manufacturers in the country, startups that look after the thermal management system of batteries in India are non-existent. The absence of an appropriate thermal management system for the battery does not help the ecosystem since there is no way to cool the battery while it is in motion. Differing temperatures in the Indian sub-continent makes it harder since lithium-ion batteries are extremely sensitive to high temperatures.

The belief of the ecosystem is that with the regulations for battery safety in place, the entire ecosystem will bloom as it was once meant to be. The EV ecosystem is trying its best to move past the horrific set of events as the government actively looks for solutions to regulations of batteries for the ecosystem to thrive and expand at a rapid scale.