Heat wave on, EV fires raging, industry in a huddle, shaken not stirred, Auto News, ET Auto

Early morning on Monday, an electrical scooter parked in entrance of a store at Manapparai in Trichy district of Tamil Nadu caught fireplace making a flutter within the space. It belonged to 28-year-old R Murugesan who works as an electrician in Singapore. He had come house for holidays this month and used the scooter. He left it along with his good friend earlier than leaving for Singapore on Saturday. Although nobody was harm, the incident fuelled the rising scepticism concerning the security of batteries in electrical automobiles.Solely two days in the past, the much-hyped Ola Electrical S1 Professional scooter was on fireplace in Pune. A couple of hours later, tragic report of the loss of life of a person and his 13-year-old daughter got here from Vellore in Tamil Nadu because of a hearth within the battery of his Okinawa scooter that was being charged. That was the second occasion of a casualty because of fireplace in an EV. In December 2021, a 60-year-old man misplaced life after his room was engulfed in a blaze because of a hearth that emanated from a cargo scooter that was being charged in the course of the evening. The scooter was made by Manesar-based HCD India.Watch: Ola S1 Professional electrical scooter catches fireplace in Pune
Then on Tuesday, video of a Pure EV scooter engulfed in smoke got here from Chennai making it the fourth occasion in 4 days. The record of fireplace accidents in electrical scooters in India is getting lengthy. Final December, an electrical two-wheeler caught fireplace and exploded close to a home at Chinna Sokkikulam in Madurai. The explosion was such {that a} close by automobile additionally caught fireplace. In September, movies of two PureEV scooters on fireplace emerged. Every week later in October, an analogous video of fireplace in an Okinawa scooter additionally surfaced.Because the latest circumstances present, there’s an uptick in such incidents on the onset of summer time within the nation that has put the highlight on security of lithium-ion batteries and whether or not the regulatory our bodies and business are doing sufficient on this. Because the customers are simply starting to heat as much as the concept of proudly owning electrical automobiles, any concern about their security might have far-reaching repercussions. After having fun with a chronic spell of tailwind due to the federal government incentives and excessive costs of petrol and diesel, the battery flare is the primary main headwind that has rattled the EV business and compelled it right into a huddle. “Up to now we’ve been merely importing battery packs that aren’t conducive to our surroundings. These incidents would sadly turn out to be extra frequent until we develop our batteries from the bottom up preserving the Indian circumstances in thoughts,” Akshay Singhal, founder and CEO, Log9 materials, stated. “The business should pay attention to this. These incidents might trigger a short lived affect on demand out there however it’s a lot better to have it immediately when penetration is low than just a few years down the road when extra automobiles can be on the street. This can be a wake-up name,” he added.These incidents might trigger a short lived affect on demand out there however it’s a lot better to have it immediately when penetration is low than just a few years down the road when extra automobiles can be on the street. This can be a wake-up callAkshay Singhal, founder and CEO, Log9
“The preliminary EV prospects are all EV evangelists and lovers. They’re those who will unfold the phrase and enhance the arrogance of others to change to EVs. If they aren’t given an amazing and secure product, then the EV revolution in India will likely be delayed a lot additional,” Arun Sreyas, co-founder and CEO, RACEnergy, stated. “Due to the urgency of some firms who skipped correct validation and testing, we’re having to face the backlash of shoppers whose confidence in shifting to electrical is affected due to these incidents,” he stated.Is the Indian summer time a villain for EVs?

The timing of the hearth incidents when an sooner than anticipated warmth wave is taking maintain within the nation has given foreign money to the fallacy that EVs can’t deal with the Indian summer time. Earlier situations of fires contradict this. The primary two circumstances of Pure EV ePluto catching fireplace final yr had been on the onset of autumn within the fag finish of September. The primary Okinawa scooter additionally caught fireplace within the first week of October. The opposite two situations truly occurred throughout winter when ambient temperatures had been a lot decrease.Watch: Electrical scooter from Pure EV catches fireplace in Chennai
“It’s a fantasy. It might sound logical however ambient temperature has nothing to do with a battery catching fireplace. That’s extra to do with the way it was packed and designed,” Vivekananda Hallekere, CEO and co-founder, Bounce, which lately launched a swappable battery scooter—Infinity, stated.To show his level, Hallekere stated he has examined his scooter in Vijayawada all year long since 2019 and by no means confronted any anomaly in temperature in the course of the summer time months. A lithium-ion battery can attain a terminal thermal runaway stage solely in case of an inside or exterior quick circuit following an accident the place the cell could also be deformed, overcharging it past the utmost specified voltage or throughout speedy charging when extreme present is handed via it. Lack of correct air flow in a badly designed product can even contribute to an increase in temperature however regardless of how sizzling the skin air will get, it would nonetheless not be an enormous contributor. “It’s easy. The battery must warmth as much as temperatures considerably increased than the air in India’s hottest metropolis in peak summer time, for it to undergo a thermal runaway,” Narayan Subramaniam, co-founder of TVS backed Ultraviolette, stated. It’s making India’s first homegrown electrical sports activities bike F77. “The actual cause isn’t the climate. However that producers didn’t design the merchandise effectively and took shortcuts in testing and validating it for native circumstances,” he stated.Liquid cooling is a simple answer however it is going to be an overkill. Know-how has the solutions. It’s a fantasy that the summer time warmth is inflicting thisNarayan Subramaniam, co founder and CEO, Ultraviolette
“The battery administration system is absolutely the mind of the battery. There is no such thing as a substitute for that,” Hallekere of Bounce added. “Battery well being is impacted because of a mix of causes – essentially the most crucial variables are the standard of cells, the way in which they’re packed, thermal administration via BMS, chargers, and speedy charging. Any or a mix of those particular person components can have an antagonistic affect and any compromise on the well being of the battery can result in a dangerous scenario.”Whereas within the preliminary part, India noticed a rush of firms merely importing merchandise from China, robust demand for EVs in the previous couple of years have led to a mad rush amongst new age startups to launch merchandise as quickly as potential to realize the early mover’s benefit. In consequence, corners had been minimize particularly in testing and validation.”It’s the solely cause for such incidents. Ask any conventional OEM how a lot time it takes to carry out a brand-new automobile designed from scratch and you’ll be shocked to see the extraordinarily speedy tempo with which among the EV merchandise are being rushed into the market,” Sreyas of RACEnergy stated.Retaining it coolAt the guts of the issue is the delicate nature of lithium–the key part of all EV batteries immediately, to excessive temperatures. All batteries work greatest when they’re at room temperature however whereas charging or discharging, temperature is sure to go up. Lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to overheating and wish a correct thermal administration course of. Sadly, not sufficient consideration is paid to this by the business. Essentially the most prevalent and price efficient one is air cooling utilizing thermal pads the place air is blown over the floor to take away warmth. All electrical scooters in India are at the moment air cooled however it has some limitations.The 2 most prevalent kinds of battery chemistry are the Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP). Each have their professionals and cons. NMC is a extra superior chemistry able to delivering increased currents with increased power density. However additionally it is extra delicate to temperature. With no cobalt, LFP has low toxicity, presents an extended life cycle and is extra steady however low on power density.”Within the case of LFP, the battery will begin to turn out to be susceptible at 80 levels whereas in NMC even 65 levels might be harmful. Most gamers have merely imported battery packs from outdoors and never invested in thermal administration techniques in any respect. That is harmful,” Singhal of Log9, stated.A lithium-ion battery is fabricated from tons of of lithium-ion cells and a deformity in even one cell might set off an unstoppable chain response engulfing all the opposite cells. Publicity to excessive temperature on a sustained foundation and with out a correct thermal administration system is when the battery begins to get susceptible. Quite a few factors–variable temperatures, terrain, stress and abuse on automobiles, makes India totally different from different components of the world. The circumstances of fireplace are a reminder of that actuality.”The elemental half about security and reliability is the necessity to perceive the Indian use case. We’ve climate, grid and utilization circumstances which are very distinctive throughout the nation and is probably not absolutely captured in the course of the product improvement cycle,” stated Mohal Lalbhai, CEO of Matter, an electrical mobility and battery answer startup. “It’s one thing that must be addressed on the core. As soon as this understanding has been plugged in, engineering is easy. It does are available with just a few overheads, however that’s what this nation requires at this cut-off date.””The cell should be a match in your product providing and the efficiency you anticipate to move on to the patron,” Madhumita Agrawal, co-founder and CEO, Oben Electrical, stated. “There are EV-grade cells that exist the world over that match the dynamism of your automobile and therefore they need to be chosen properly.”One of many potential options might be liquid cooling the place particular person lithium-ion cells are both immersed in flowing fluid or cooled not directly by liquid that flows via channels wrapped across the cell. Liquid has the capability to take away warmth about 1,000 instances higher than the identical quantity of air. It’s, nevertheless, comparatively costly and drains energy from the battery itself due to the necessity to pump the coolant across the battery.Due to the urgency of some firms who skipped correct validation and testing, we’re having to face the backlash of shoppers whose confidence in shifting to electrical is affected due to these incidentsArun Sreyas, co-founder and CEO, RACEnergy
“Every cell has its personal really helpful working temperature by the producer and it’s normally round 25 – 35 levels C. It’s crucial that the cells function inside this bracket as a lot as potential. If a cooling system is required to do the identical, then sure, some type of cooling system ought to be deployed,” Sreyas of RACEnergy stated. “Whether or not it’s lively or passive air or liquid cooling is as much as the OEM, however the working vary of cells shouldn’t be missed.”However the business is split on this. Niraj Rajmohan and Narayan Subramaniam, co-founders of Ultraviolette that’s creating India’s first homegrown electrical sports activities bike, really feel liquid cooling can be an overkill and any battery that’s correctly packed and designed with prime quality cells supported by efficient air air flow can stand up to the worst of Indian summer time. “Liquid cooling is a simple answer however it is going to be an overkill. It’s wanted in ICE as a result of the temperature actually goes excessive as much as 300 levels whereas in an EV, it won’t even cross 50-60 levels in regular operating,” they stated.”Know-how has the solutions if you’re prepared to search for it. It’s a fantasy that the summer time warmth is inflicting this. These are poorly designed merchandise. Liquid cooling is required in ICE the place the temperature within the engine can in any other case go as much as 200-300 levels.””In a lithium-ion battery, we’re nonetheless speaking about lower than 100 levels. A well-made battery can simply stand up to it,” they added.Kapil Shelke, founder and CEO of Tork Motors, who has spent 6 years constructing his first electrical bike–Kratos, helps them. “EVs have decrease transferring components and could appear easy however batteries are very complicated. It isn’t simple to get the best steadiness between the battery and motor for efficiency,” he stated. “While you add scale to it, the complexities multiply. And even when you’ve got the most effective cell and really environment friendly BMS with sensible packaging, it would by no means be fool-proof. An odd cell will malfunction and create points however if in case you have exhaustively examined and validated your complete worth chain, then the possibilities of a thermal runaway are decreased. It’s all about processes and there’s no shortcut to that.” There are different options out there as properly and part change supplies is one that’s quick gaining reputation. These are thermal power storage supplies that may retailer and launch thermal power preserving the temperature fixed at a selected level. One such instance of a ‘part change materials’ is water, which adjustments part from liquid to strong at 0°C. When ice is put in a glass at room temperature, it absorbs warmth and adjustments its part to water whereas cooling the glass-contents. This phenomenon can be utilized to take care of a relentless temperature.”These supplies are secure, non-hazardous and have been examined for over 3,000 cycles of use,” Samit Jain, Managing Director, Pluss Superior Applied sciences, stated. “The advantages of utilizing ‘part change supplies’ for temperature upkeep of Li-ion batteries are exact temperature upkeep and cost-effectiveness in comparison with mechanical compelled cooling or liquid cooling.Part change supplies in lithium-ion batteries have proven effectiveness in delaying ‘thermal runaway’ time by three-fold, increased battery capability by 22%-24% whereas efficiency testing at ambient and elevated ambient temperatures and a highest battery pack temperature of 46°C in comparison with 75°C in a standard non part change battery pack.” As soon as the smoke clears past the fiery summer time of 2022, the electrical mobility panorama in India might have modified ceaselessly.
The function of the regulator

The fires have additionally put a query mark on the function of the regulatory our bodies. In India, all automobiles want to evolve to requirements as per Central Motor Automobiles Act and our bodies just like the ARAI and ICAT are tasked with the accountability of homologation. All of the batteries which have caught fireplace had been examined and deemed match to ply on Indian roads by the federal government making them as culpable as the businesses.”The regulators should take some accountability right here as a result of in EV batteries, it’s a matter of security of the patron,” Mahesh Wagle, director, Cybernetik Applied sciences, stated. “My expertise says not each producer within the business has an in depth understanding of battery cell chemistries and whereas assembling or packaging the batteries they aren’t conscious of the most effective practices. That’s usually the place the issue lies.”After the latest incidents got here to gentle, the federal government has sprung into motion roping in DRDO’s Centre for Fireplace, Explosive Surroundings Security to research the Ola and Okinawa circumstances and submit a report inside a month. There may be an expectation that rules might be tightened. Already there’s a raging debate on whether or not or to not standardize batteries to allow economies of scale and there’s a lack of consensus on this throughout the business as properly. “Laws must be tightened right here. Crucial factor is standardization by the federal government as it will assist enhance the merchandise,” Vikas Aggarwal, Founder and MD, Ipower Batteries Pvt Ltd, stated. “If the federal government comes up with sure standardization protocols just like the type of connector, measurement, voltage and capability, security and high quality parameters and so on, which can guarantee in future all observe these primary norms for a greater and high quality product.”However regulation generally is a double-edged sword particularly in a brand new and evolving business. An excessive amount of of it will possibly throttle innovation. If you need a safer battery, standardization doesn’t assist. You want security requirements and never battery requirements round how a lot energy batteries can take or the surge it will possibly settle for, electrical scarcity situation or temperatures it will possibly function and so on. However you shouldn’t outline what the battery form ought to be as that doesn’t assist create safer batteriesTarun Mehta, CEO, Ather Power
“It is a horrible concept to try to standardize batteries. You might be speaking about batteries purpose-built for particular person electrical two-wheelers proper now catching fireplace in India. Think about making an attempt to construct batteries for various OEMs and totally different fashions,” Tarun Mehta co-founder of Ather Power stated at ETAuto EV Conclave 2022 earlier in March. “If you need a safer battery, standardization doesn’t assist. You want security requirements and never battery requirements. Requirements might be round how a lot energy batteries can take or the surge it will possibly settle for, electrical scarcity situation or temperatures it will possibly function and so on. However you shouldn’t outline what the battery form ought to be as that doesn’t assist create safer batteries.”With the main focus shifting from value to security, there’s a silver lining to the churn within the subsequent few months. It’s going to assist differentiate the great firms which have been diligent and put within the laborious yards from people who have not.”Little question these repeated incidents will have an effect on client sentiments in direction of EVs however but it’s nonetheless a safer expertise in use than many different complicated applied sciences in use,” Aggarwal of iPower Batteries stated. “But it surely does have a optimistic facet. Most producers will turn out to be conscious that they should design good high quality merchandise and procure batteries from time and high quality examined battery producers so in future we will ship good high quality world-class merchandise.” Shelke of Tork requires a little bit of perspective when speaking about security of electrical automobiles as a phase vis a vis the standard automobiles.”A whole bunch of petrol and diesel automobiles catch fireplace yearly however no person pays any consideration to them. A couple of EVs have caught fireplace and all hell has damaged unfastened. EVs are usually not unsafe, quite the opposite they’re inherently many instances safer than a petroleum automobile,” he stated. “It’s a new business and whereas we’d need all firms to stick to essentially the most stringent exams and validate their merchandise as exhaustively as potential, we must always not lose sight of the truth that an EV will at all times be safer than ICE.” A decade in the past, situations of a dozen fires within the Tata Nano sounded the loss of life knell for the folks’s automobile. Might that occur to EVs too?”It’s a hiccup however the long-term affect would solely be optimistic. Good firms will know what to not do and they’ll do properly. This can enhance the standard of the automobiles and improve client consciousness,” Wagle of Cybernetik stated. “EVs are cheaper to run than petrol automobiles. They’re additionally cleaner for the atmosphere which is what we’d like. The longer term doesn’t change.” “This can be a rising market, which is constantly evolving and challenges will likely be there,” agrees Aggarwal of iPower. “However on the identical time that is additionally a possibility for firms to show their mettle, engineering excellence by overcoming such challenges and offering a world class product to each Indian prospects and even world,” he stated.As soon as the smoke clears past the fiery summer time of 2022, the electrical mobility panorama in India might have modified ceaselessly.Additionally Learn:

With sporadic circumstances of electrical automobiles catching fireplace coming to the fore, India wants well timed rules to forestall it. Fortunately in AIS 156 it has one of the vital stringent exams worldwide. However there’s a catch–implementation is shoddy.
Video of a blue color Ola S1 professional electrical scooter on fireplace emerged in Lohegaon space of Pune that will add to fears about battery security in electrical automobiles. At the least half a dozen situations of thermal runway have emerged within the final six months together with in scooters from Pure EV and Okinawa, however Ola’s is essentially the most excessive profile case until date.

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