Imported EV cells not suitable for Indian conditions, says Niti Aayog member
As multiple incidents of electric vehicles catching fire are being reported across the country, Niti Aayog member V K Saraswat has said that battery cells imported for electric vehicles "may not be" suitable for Indian conditions and emphasised that there is a need to locally manufacture EV battery cells. His comments come amid an ongoing probe of such incidents by the government.
Last month, Union minister Nitin Gadkari had stated that there will be a recall of all defective vehicles after the expert panel submits its report. He also said that strict action will be taken against EV firms that are found to be at fault or negligent in these matters. The government had ordered a probe after an e-scooter launched by ride-hailing operator Ola's Electric caught fire in Pune.
The Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES) has been asked to probe the incidents of EVs catching fire and also suggest remedial measures, according to the Road Transport and Highways Ministry.
Recent EV fire incidents have also led to deaths and injuries. "Battery technology is an evolving technology. India does not manufacture battery cells at the moment.... we should set up our own cell manufacturing plants at the earliest. We should make sure that whatever cells we manufacture are suitable for Indian conditions of high temperature," Saraswat told PTI.
He added that the fires could be caused due to poor quality of cells which are not designed for high temperature and tropical climate. "What (battery) cells India is getting may not be suitable for Indian conditions... so what is important is when we import cells, we should do our own screening and rigorous testing system," he said. He also noted that there are certain countries that have developed cells which can operate at high temperatures.
(with inputs from PTI)