At a time when a number of incidents of electric vehicles (EVs) catching fire across cities have taken place, Bengaluru headquartered EV maker Ather Energy has called for using batteries that are suitable for Indian weather conditions.
The reports about EVs catching fire have raised alarm and the government has also initiated a probe in these incidents.
Business Today reached out to Ather Energy about its view on these incidents. Responding to the queries, the company's spokesperson said that currently most cells used in EV batteries are designed for countries with colder climates.
If OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are importing batteries, it is imperative that they not only modify them for Indian conditions but also invest enough time and effort in on-road testing before they start commercial production. That phase of testing and validation cannot be compromised, the company said.
"When designing batteries for Indian conditions, the battery not only needs to be compatible with extreme road conditions but also with grid charging. Typically, the range, reliability and performance of every EV vehicle is affected heavily by climatic and road conditions. To manage these external conditions, a robust Battery Management System (BMS) has to be built to ensure safe, reliable performance. While India has adopted the stringent AIS 156 standard to ensure safety, a lot more needs to be done to ensure EVs become safer," the spokesperson said.
The company said that internal test standards ideally should be much more stringent keeping in mind different variations like road load vibration and shock, extreme temperatures, high humidity, rain, flood, dust and other such conditions. Clear understanding of all these factors is essential, especially for the Indian environment, and therefore, a comprehensive and rigorous on road durability testing for a longer duration is a must.
The electric scooter manufacturer recently opened its third experience centre in Bengaluru, also its 34th retail outlet in India.
"At Ather, we have adopted more stringent internal standards to ensure safety and reliability of our scooters and have thoroughly tested them for 1,00,000 kilometers. We design our batteries to prevent the initiation and propagation of thermal runaway (fire) than what AIS 156 mandates. We also ensure very stringent manufacturing controls around safety parameters," the spokesperson said.
"We perform four types of validation namely functional, durability, reliability and safety at component and the vehicle level. During each phase, our scooters go through a range of stringent tests with varying degrees of harshness that tests the efficiency of the scooter, including the battery. These tests are done to mainly validate that none of these events lead to any kind of safety hazard to the rider," the spokesperson added.
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