Safety certification delay hits EV sales
Last month, sales of electric two- and three-wheelers fell sequentially, which manufacturers attributed to lower production as a result of a delay in getting their products certified for new safety regulations.
According to vehicle registration data from the government’s Vahan portal, retail sales of high-speed electric two-wheelers fell to under 66,500 units in April, a 23% decrease from the previous month.
Sales of electric three-wheelers fell 16% from March to just under 38,000 units last month.
However, compared to the previous year, retail sales of both categories increased by 27% for electric two-wheelers and 76% for electric three-wheelers. Ola Electric was the only major electric two-wheeler manufacturer to report sequential sales growth.
To address the issue of vehicles catching fire, the government has amended Rule 156 of the Automotive Industry Standards to include new safety regulations for electric two- and three-wheelers. The amendment was implemented in two stages, the second of which took effect on March 31.
Compliance with the new regulations is now required for the manufacture of electric vehicles. These amendments include new safety requirements for battery cells and battery management systems to prevent thermal runaway, which occurs when a battery overheats. Many cases of fires in electric vehicles have occurred as a result of battery overheating, and some have been fatal.
According to an industry lobbying group, subsidies totalling more than 1,200 crores have been halted for a dozen companies. The government subsidy had kept electric vehicle prices competitive with models powered by fossil fuels. Because the subsidy is paid as a reimbursement after the manufacturers sell the vehicles, the suspension of payments has impacted the working capital of several of these companies, causing them to reduce production. The non-disbursement of subsidies has primarily impacted electric two-wheeler companies.
Okinawa Autotech, Benling, and Lectrix are among the manufacturers still awaiting certification from the two government-approved vehicle testing agencies: the Automotive Research Association of India in Pune and the International Centre for Automotive Technology in Manesar, near Delhi.
Another affected manufacturer, Jitendra EV, received the certification on Tuesday, according to a company executive. According to people in the know, EV companies must obtain certification for each model, and the testing and certification process takes 20-30 days.
“There is a backlog with the testing agencies, and we are yet to get the certification. This means our production has come to a halt,” said Benling India executive director Amit Kumar. While most of the battery makers have received clearance, several vehicle manufacturers still need to integrate these batteries into their vehicles and get certified for mass production. “We are in the process of R&D validation and product integration,” said Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Chief Executive of Kinetic Green which specializes in electric three-wheelers.
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Content Credit: ET Energy world