Guide to Battery Safety Standards in India – compiled by ARAI

Last updated: Sep 28, 2022

For the OEMs to be better equipped to implement the updated provisions, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has decided to implement the latest amendments to AIS-156 and AIS-038 (REV 2) in two phases: Phase 1 from 1st Dec 2022 and Phase 2 from 31st March 2023.

Requirements such as traceability of packs, additional safety fuse, protection against regenerative braking, cell-to-cell spacing, and microprocessor-based BMS with all protections are in Phase-1, effective from 01-Dec-2022. Features like Earth leakage detection charger, EMC testing of BMS as per AIS 004, IS 16893 testing from NABL accredited lab for cells, thermal propagation test, audio-visual warning in case of a thermal event, four temperature sensors in BMS and active parallel circuits are moved to Phase-2 which is effective from 31-Mar-2023.

This write-up on Battery Safety Standards in India has been contributed by ARAI.

The below image shows the Automotive Industry Standards in India under CMVR.

Battery safety standards in India

M category [motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying passengers]

N category [motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying goods which may also carry persons in addition to the goods]

L category [motor vehicles with less than four wheels and quadricycle]

Regulatory Standards Associated with Vehicle Battery Safety

1. AIS 038 Rev 1 (2015) – Vehicle Safety

Set-up by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways under Central Motor Vehicle Rules in February 2015, an amendment was later added to the standard in December 2017.

This standard prescribes the requirements only for the construction and functional safety of Electric Power Train Vehicles for L, M and N categories. The standard is prepared in line with the UN R100 Rev 2-Part 1 (A United Nations regulations requirement for electric vehicles). Specification and tests include protection against electric shock, protection against direct and indirect contact, protection against water effects, markings, functional safety etc.

2. AIS 048 (2009) – Battery Safety

According to the latest MoRTH notification issued on Sep 27, 2022, AIS 156 and AIS 038 Rev 2 standards (detailed below) will become mandatory in 2 phases. Phase 1 from 1st Dec 2022 and Phase 2 from 31st March 2023. This standard (AIS 048) will be cancelled.

This standard covers Traction Battery safety requirements for L, M & N category vehicles (Including E-Rickshaw/E-Cart). It mainly covers the following two types of testing:

Electrical Abuse Test (typically done at cell level)

– Short Circuit Test

– Over-charge Test

Mechanical Abuse Test (typically done at module or pack level)

– Vibration test
– Mechanical Shock Test
– Roll-over Test (open-type batteries, not applicable for Lithium-ion batteries) Penetration Test

In AIS 048, a single-cell nail penetration test is done at the cell level and sometimes it is difficult for high energy density cells e.g. NMC and NCA cells to comply with the nail penetration requirement. It was one of the main reasons, some changes were introduced to the regulation as described below.

3. AIS 038 Rev 2 (2020) – M&N Category [becomes mandatory from 1st Oct, 2022]

The latest amendment of AIS 038 for M and N Category Vehicles, issued in Sep 2022, mentions additional safety requirements which stand to come into effect in two phases: Phase 1 from 1st Dec 2022 and Phase 2 from 31st March 2023. These amendments include additional safety requirements related to battery cells, BMS, on-board charger, design of battery pack, thermal propagation due to internal cell short circuit leading to fire etc.

AIS 038 Rev 2 was prepared in September 2020 with an amendment added on July 2021. It was prepared with considerable assistance from GTR 20 (Global Technical Regulation) and ECE R100 Rev 3. This test is for M and N category vehicles and does not cater to the 2Ws and 3Ws.

This standard takes a system-level safety approach, i.e. the battery and the vehicle are considered a single unit. The standard is used to make an assessment from a functional safety point of view to ascertain the Automotive Safety Integrity Level and protection from thermal runaway.

4. AIS 156 (2020) – L Category

This standard prescribes the safety requirements with respect to the electric power train of motor vehicles and Rechargeable Electrical Energy Storage System (REESS) of L category vehicles (including 2W, 3W, quad cycles). It was prepared in September 2020 with considerable effects from UN R136 regulations. The standard takes a system-level approach and covers both vehicle electrical safety and REESS safety.

The latest amendment of AIS156 for L Category Vehicles, issued in August/Sep 2022, adds the following tests to the above list. These additional safety requirements recommended in the existing battery safety standards will come to effect in 2 phases. 1st phase from 1st Dec 2022 and phase 2 from 31 Mar 2023.

a. IPx7 rating test

REESS with 100% SoC shall be tested for water ingress protection IPX7 (as per IEC 60529). There shall be no fire or explosion during IP X7 testing of REESS.

b. Thermal Propagation Test

The purpose of the thermal propagation test is to ensure the user and bystander safety from a vehicle if a thermal runaway occurs in the battery system. This procedure is added to evaluate the ability of REESS to withstand thermal propagation triggered by an internal short circuit. During the thermal propagation test of REESS, there should be no evidence of fire and explosion triggered by a single cell thermal runaway. Plus, REESS should have audio-visual warning for early detection of thermal events/gases in case of thermal runaway of cells.

AIS – Automotive Industry Standards

REESS – Rechargeable Electrical Energy Storage System

CMVR – Central Motor Vehicle Rules

SoC – State of Charge

New vs Old Regulations

Compared with the previous regulation, AIS-048, the new regulations AIS-038 Rev 2/AIS- 156 were significantly changed in terms of the regulatory framework, technical requirements, and test methods. The previous regulation AIS-048 could test at the cell, module, and battery pack levels; however, no environmental test item was included. The new regulations AIS-038 Rev 2/AIS-156 are equivalent to EU standards and include environmental and thermal propagation tests. The test objects are the battery system, subsystem and the entire vehicle. Besides, the nail penetration was removed in the new regulations, which was the most concerning test item before.

Link to standard documents on ARAI website

MoRTH also has issued draft notification GSR 659 (E) dated 25th August 2022 to amend Sub-rule 4 of Rule 124 of Central Motor Vehicles Rule (CMVR) 1989, for mandating Conformity of Production (COP) for traction batteries used in electric power train vehicles. The proposed regulation will be applicable with effect from 1st October 2022.

We would like to thank Mr Manoj Desai, General Manager at ARAI, for providing the above information on the current regulatory standards for battery safety in India.

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