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EV battery safety, decarbonisation, charging infra India’s key focus areas: Experts

Around 200 stakeholders from different ministries, R&D labs, academia, and the automobile industry brainstormed during a session organised by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) to discuss the road map for electric vehicle technologies in India. The key points of the discussion were the need to focus on acquiring capability in EV subsystems like the battery, motor, and power electronics and ways to overcome battery safety challenges, the need to develop battery-swapping technologies, and EV charging infrastructure.

The session was aimed at deliberating on the needs of the country to meet the government’s target of reaching 30 percent of the e-vehicle population by 2030.

All about EV batteries, charging infra

Several instances of batteries of 2-wheeler EVs catching fire have raised safety concerns. Dr K Balasubramanian, Director of Non Ferrous Materials Technology Development Centre (NFTDC) emphasised the need to develop appropriate battery systems like a solid-state battery that can withstand the high ambient temperature in tropical regions.

The various subsystems involved in the EV battery were also analysed and the importance of assembly and manufacturing processes involved in ensuring the safety of battery systems to avoid fire safety hazards was discussed. Dr Tata Narasingha Rao, Director, International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials (ARCI), explained the need for immediate action for ensuring high-quality and safe battery packs for EVs in India.

A comprehensive road map for technology development in India for the various electric vehicle components starting from basic research to applied research, application, engineering, and industrialisation, was presented by Prof Karthick Athmanathan of IIT Madras. He emphasised that there is an opportunity to work at all levels and gain technological capabilities, considering the diversity of electric vehicle platforms and models that will be in India.

Speaking on the greater goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2070, Dr Akhilesh Gupta, Senior Advisor, Department of Science and Technology (DST), said, “It would need de-carbonisation of the economy in several sectors. Transportation is one of them, where the transition to electric vehicles and green hydrogen will be of critical importance.”

The DST has helped develop the full set of Indian standards required for EV charging infrastructure and contributed to the draft standards for battery as a service (also known as battery swapping) for light EVs like scooters and autorickshaws in India.

What is the future of EVs in India?

Over the last decade, several policies, schemes, and initiatives for promoting and adopting electric mobility solutions in India have been launched by the government.

The PLI scheme has encouraged an increase in the manufacturing of affordable, reliable, and efficient EVs. Also, to promote consumer adoption by meeting price and performance expectations, through industry-government collaborations, providing subsidies to manufacturers, and improving the charging infrastructure, the FAME II scheme has been extended till 2024.

EV manufacturers have reported an increase in production and demand. The state governments are also taking steps to improve the charging infrastructure and provide subsidies to the public.

The EV ecosystem in India seems to have gained momentum and is ready to be a contender in the global EV race.

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