New Delhi: With numerous reports of electric vehicles (EVs) catching fire, large manufacturing infrastructures have come under fire for using sub-standard materials. To prevent accidents, big manufacturing units are currently focussing on installing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies with alert systems and materials that will help reduce the heat produced by EVs and prevent mishaps. Speaking on AI to be used in EVs, an iVOOMi employee, on the condition of anonymity, told The Sunday Guardian, “We are developing AI to alert drivers when the batteries overheat, so the focus is on improvising the communication system as well. The driver will get a notification if there is anything wrong with the system of the EV.” Many EV manufacturing units have complained that the poor quality of cells leads to drastic effects. Due to the lack of manufacturing units in India, most of the lithium-ion cells are imported from China, which may be of poor quality ultimately leading to hazards.
Most EV drivers are also unable to maintain the quality of the cells leading to accidents. When The Sunday Guardian approached another manufacturing unit, the employee stated that due to expensive ‘fresh cells,’ most of the companies use “used cells.” The used cells that are usually imported from China bring the cost of the cells 30% to 40% down. “We need more home-grown technologies. It is important to reduce dependency on foreign products. Also, it is important that the local manufacturing companies need to maintain the proper storage of machinery and batteries,” he said.
The cooling pattern in imported cells is often managed by the Battery Management System or BMS which is often customised depending on the weather, driving styles and conditions of the roads and so on. “Currently, we are trying to introduce a cooling pattern in EVs that may reduce the heat generated in the EVs. Introducing fins, the extensions on the exterior surfaces of objects that accelerate convection to or from the object and thus accelerate heat transfer, in the EVs will accelerate the cooling pattern. The company is also working on wire insulation and its durability,” the iVOOMi employee told the paper. Hyderabad-based manufacturing unit, Godi India, has received certification from the Bureau of Indian standards for lithium-ion cells. The setting up of gigafactory for lithium-ion cells will be the first company in India to manufacture cells using homegrown technology. The establishment of the factory is expected to be completed by 2024.
The Sunday Guardian also approached Okinawa to check the steps taken by the company to reduce the EV hazards but has received no reply by the time the article was going to press. Presently, there are over 10 lakhs EV in India. Companies like Suzuki, Toshiba, and Denso have announced a joint venture unit in Gujarat to establish a lithium-ion battery plant. The Tata Group is developing plans to establish a battery business in India as it switches to producing more electric vehicles. Looking into the multiple EV fire accidents, Road Transport and Highways Secretary Giridhar Aramane pointed out that every EV fire accident would be probed and the expert panel that looks into the matter has not yet submitted the report. After the panel submits the report, a recall of all defective vehicles will be mandated, and companies found to be at fault will face penalties. This correspondent also reached out to MoRTH to check the steps taken by the ministry to prevent EV hazards but no response has been received so far.