Pratik Kamdar, Co-Founder, Neuron Energy weighs in on the recent developments in the EV sector
A lot of players are entering the industry without comprehensive knowledge of the batteries with regards to quality. The industry is still a fledgling one and the majority of dealers and customers are not educated or aware of the technology. Substandard quality cells are used by a majority of battery companies to manufacture battery packs with poorly installed BMS. This causes high energy density cells to lead to thermal runaway and increase the risk of fire.
A regulatory framework needs to be provided so that the EV manufacturers and battery makers are held accountable for use of cells, BMS, and compliance with regulations. Even low-speed bikes need to be regulated by the government. EV manufacturers and battery makers should use fire-resistant grade battery materials along with superior bms and best quality cells so this kind of fire accident can be avoided in the future. Also, the EV manufacturers need to provide better spacing for batteries and need to avoid the obsession with extreme compact sizes of batteries. This can also be a cause of thermal runaway eventually leading to fire incidents. These instances can be avoided by reducing the under-seat storage by 30%. Vibration pads need to be used to further ensure stability of the battery pack. Thermal pads are required to be installed to ensure there is sufficient cooling mechanism.
Also, the standard operating procedure should be followed while transporting an EV from the manufacturer to the dealer. Batteries should not be connected to vehicles during transportation. Batteries should be kept at a 30% state of charge to avoid any risk of fire during transportation.
It is imperative to store batteries in a cool and dry environment and shall avoid direct sunlight and water. Also, quarterly servicing of these batteries holds equal importance as fire instances do not occur in a day; it takes 10-15 days before catching fire. If the batteries are being checked or serviced regularly such incidents can be avoided.
The government has asked DRDO to investigate the root cause of such fire accidents in EVs, once the root cause is identified, we can expect some favorable policies from the Government.