The automotive industry across the world is presently undergoing a paradigm shift in trying to switch towards more energy efficient alternatives for mobility. Given the burden of oil imports, rising pollution, as well as international commitments to combat global climate change, India is also striving towards ensuring a transition to electric mobility by switching to alternative and less energy intensive options.
In an effort to address the issue of sustainability and reduce reliance on conventional modes of fuel intensive mobility, the policymakers in India are keeping pace with the global economy for developing a mobility option that is "Shared, Connected, and Electric" and have projected an ambitious target of achieving 100% electrification by the year 2030 ("Target 2030"). In order to meet Target 2030, the electric vehicle ("EV") industry in India is surely picking pace by undertaking multiple measures such as setting up of manufacturing hubs, allowance of subsidies and incentives by the Central and the State Governments, introduction of e-mobility policies and an increased push towards expanding and improving the charging infrastructure.
In 2020, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, Mr. Nitin Gadkari, while addressing a webinar on 'India's Electric Vehicle Roadmap Post COVID-19', stated that India will become the manufacturing hub for EVs within the next 5 years. He also urged the Indian automotive companies to boost their EV technology and focus on finding alternatives to the lithium-ion battery technology to help make India the next global manufacturing hub for EVs.1 India is also proactively working towards promoting the EV market, which is aimed to boost not only domestic consumption, but also open the Indian markets for exports abroad. The EV market in India is predicted to hit over 6.3-million-unit mark per annum by the year 20272.
Given the Government's increased focus on adopting EVs and to take advantage of opportunities that the EV sector offers in India, Indian start-ups have also identified the merits of EVs and its related services. Over the last two years, start-ups in this sector, especially electric two-wheeler segment, have raised more than USD 600 million in investment. Ola Electric for instance, has received a funding of over USD 307 million from investors such as Softbank, Kia Motors, Matrix Partners India etc. Similarly, Ather Energy has raised a funding of over USD 126 million from investors such as Tiger Global Management and Hero MotoCorp.3
This article aims to briefly analyze the current legal landscape governing the manufacturing of EVs (including its batteries) in India to achieve the Target 2030 and the homologation process for approvals and certifications of EVs and its batteries.
1. Current trend
With the objective of attracting investments in the manufacturing sector and to create large scale manufacturing ecosystem in the country, the Government has launched the production-linked incentive schemes ("PLI Schemes") as part of its Make in India initiative, pursuant to which incentives are provided to the selected investors under various sectors, including manufacturing of EVs. A detailed analysis of the PLI Schemes for EVs has been covered in our previous article titled 'Electric Vehicles: Driving India Towards Sustainability' and can be accessed at https://www.mondaq.com/india/rail-road-cycling/1146374/electric-vehicles-driving-india towards-sustainability.
(a) Supply of EVs
As per the information available at the website of Niti Aayog, Government of India, there were about 380 EV manufacturers in India till July 31, 2021.4 Further, the sale of EVs in the country is expected to grow annually at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35% till 2026.5 With the increase in investment in this sector as stated above, the leading players such as Ola Electric, Ather Energy and Mahindra Electrics are rapidly growing their market presence.
(i) Two-wheeler segment
The electric two-wheeler category has more than 20 manufacturers currently operating in the country. Notably, all major electric two-wheeler companies operating in India are of Indian origin.
(ii) Three-wheeler segment
As regards the electric three-wheelers, over the last decade, the low-speed, electric three-wheeler market in India has grown rapidly with more than 600 registered market players (such as Mahindra Electric, Kinetic Green, Atul Auto, Piaggio, Clean Motion India, Terra Motors, etc.) in the market currently in the segment.
(iii) Four-wheeler segment
The four-wheeler segment in India currently has the lowest EV penetration of 0.12% but is projected to grow to 10%-15% by 2030 based on projections by KPMG and CII.6 The four-wheeler segment is a high-end market and due to several gaps, such as limited number of products, high prices and an underdeveloped charging ecosystem, the growth of the EV four-wheeler segment is lagging behind other segments. Currently, some of the prominent four-wheeler EV manufacturers in India include Tata Motors, Mahindra Electric, Hyundai and Kia Motors.
(b) Supply of EV batteries
The growth of the EV sector in India naturally means an increase in the requirement for manufacturing of its batteries as well. The India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) forecasts that the EV battery market in India will grow at a CAGR of 32% over 2020-2027 to reach a demand of 50 GWh where 80% of demand is expected to be for superior quality lithium-ion batteries. In terms of value, this translates to a market of USD 580 million by 2027.7 Currently lead acid-based batteries account for over 75% of EV battery sales for two-and three-wheelers, however it has been witnessed that original equipment manufacturers for EV batteries have started shifting towards lithium-ion batteries in part, to meet the Government's 'advanced battery' criteria to access incentives under the second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme. According to Avendus Capital, the current battery manufacturing capacity in India is estimated to be around 2GWh.8
Some examples of recent partnerships aiming to develop a local supply chain for EV batteries include the partnership of Suzuki Motor Corporation with Toshiba and Denso to develop a lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Gujarat for an estimated investment of INR 11.5 billion. Further, Exide Industries Ltd and Amara Raja Batteries Ltd have also formed joint ventures with foreign companies to start assembling EV batteries.9
In the next section, we aim to highlight some of the important licenses, consents and authorizations that would be required for the purposes of setting up an EV/battery manufacturing unit.
2. Consents and authorizations required for setting up of EVs/ battery manufacturing unit
Geographical location of the manufacturing unit and land acquisition: At the outset, every manufacturer desirous of setting up an EV/battery manufacturing unit will be required to determine the geographical location where such manufacturing unit is proposed to be established. Such a decision will need to account for multiple factors such as availability of raw material, road/rail/port connectivity for logistics, availability of skilled and unskilled labour, feasibility for construction of required infrastructure, business policies and incentives prevalent in the concerned State, amongst others. The geographical location of the manufacturing unit plays a pivotal role in determining the future sustainability of the business.
Given that the subject matter of 'mechanically propelled vehicles' falls under the concurrent list as per the Constitution of India, both the Centre and the States have the power to frame laws. Accordingly, along with the policies framed by the Central Government for promotion of EVs, it is also pertinent to note that various States provide different incentives to manufacturers of EVs (and its batteries). We note that the EV policies formulated by States such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab offer more supply-side/manufacturer driven incentives. Therefore, an important consideration, while setting up a manufacturing unit, would be to first decide the State in which such a manufacturing unit may be set up.
Another important aspect to consider is that the proposed land on which such a unit is to be set up, should have a clear title and all land related approvals from various authorities should be in place. Companies are advised to undertake a title diligence on the land to verify the ownership of title over the property and ensure that the land is free from all encumbrances such as mortgages and legal disputes. It is pertinent to note that an agricultural land cannot be used for setting up a factory, unless the same is converted to industrial use. Acquisition of private land also would require addressing issues such as land fragmentation and compliance with local land ceiling laws. To overcome these issues, the concept of industrial parks was introduced. Industrial parks consist of land which is ready for industrial use and are equipped with basic amenities like power, water, internal roads, etc. Therefore, it is preferable for companies to either enter into a lease arrangement or buy the land in an industrial park rather than acquire from private sources.
We note that various States EV policies offer incentives such as procurement of land for setting up manufacturing facilities in the concerned States at subsidized rates. Most States have also proposed setting up of manufacturing hubs and industrial parks for EV manufacturers. It would therefore be relevant for the companies intending to set up such facilities to assess the EV policies notified by the States to determine the best set of incentives and subsidies.
Set out below are the primary legislations that govern manufacturing of EVs and batteries in India, and the various permits/approvals required under such legislations.
(a) The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 ("EPA") and the rules and regulations framed thereunder
In India, the EPA is as an umbrella legislation enacted with a view to control, prevent and abate environmental pollution. It lays down the standards of discharge of environmental pollutants through various rules and notifications particularly in the areas of controlling chemical and hazardous waste management, noise pollution, costal development amongst others. As per the provisions of the EPA, no person carrying on any industry, operation or process can discharge or emit any environmental pollutant in excess of the standards as prescribed.
It is important to highlight that while EVs may cause minimal pollution, the concern of rising pollution lingers on account of setting up and running of charging stations which ultimately depend on the highly polluting coal utilizing thermal power plants and recycling and disposal of batteries. A substantial portion of used batteries usually end up in backyard smelters, that use highly polluting mechanisms to extract metal. The EPA, therefore, seeks to reduce such concerns by regulating/ restricting the pollution emissions, e-waste disposals, water contamination etc. by industries. The EPA and the rules and regulations framed thereunder demand strict compliance with their provisions and any non-compliance under EPA, are punishable with penal and pecuniary liability.
Further, courts in India have wide powers to award damages for violation of environment laws and stringent actions are often taken against violators. In the past, courts in India have closed down industrial establishments and levied penalties based on the degree of the damage caused to the environment, nature of the violation, magnitude of the industry and its profitability. In this regard, in order to provide effective and expeditious remedies relating to environment protection, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has been established since 2010, as a specialized judicial body equipped with expertise solely for the purpose of adjudicating environmental cases in India. The NGT's orders are binding and it has powers to grant relief in the form of compensation and damages to affected persons. Accordingly, in a nutshell every industry in India is required to observe strict compliance with the EPA and the rules and regulations framed thereunder in order to sustain its business.
In light of the above, some of the preliminary consents/clearance that would be required for setting up a manufacturing unit for EVs and its batteries is as follows:
(i) Consent for establishment and Consent for operation under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 ("Water Act") and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 ("Air Act")
The Water Act and the Air Act are the primary legislations enacted to combat some major environmental issues that the country has been grappling with. Authorities such as the Central and State Pollution Control Boards ("SPCB") have been set up under the Air and Water Act to govern the implementation of these legislations. The Water Act prohibits the discharge of sewage or trade effluents into a stream, well or sewer by an industry, operation or process without the approval of the concerned SPCBs. The Air Act, on the other hand, empowers the SPCBs to notify standards of emission of air pollutants by industrial plants and automobiles. Industries are required to obtain the 'Consent to Establish' before the construction of a new project from the SPCB and upon inspection, the operator is required to obtain the 'Consent to Operate' to commence operations.
As per Section 25 of the Water Act, prior consent of the concerned SPCB is required to establish an industry, process or operation or any discharge system which may discharge sewage or trade effluent into a stream or on land for the discharge of sewage or make any new discharge of sewage. Similarly, under Section 21 of the Air Act, prior consent of the concerned SPCB is required to establish or operate an industrial plant10 in an air pollution control area. Therefore, an EV manufacturer would be required to obtain a consent to establish and consent to operate for setting up its manufacturing unit in accordance with the Air Act and the Water Act.
Although there is no pollution when it comes to usage of EVs, however, the process of manufacture of EVs remains the same as that for a conventional automobile. As such the manufacturing facilities set up by the companies may discharge e-wastes and hazardous wastes during the process of manufacturing. In particular, as mentioned above, due to the chemical nature of the batteries, the disposal of such batteries would cause several environmental damages. As a result, a number of waste management regulations would be applicable on manufacturers of EVs in general as well as the EV batteries in particular. Set out below is an overview of some of these regulations which will become applicable:
(ii) Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 ("Hazardous Waste Rules")
In terms of the Hazardous Waste Rules, every person who is engaged in the generation, processing, treatment, package, storage, transportation, use, collection, destruction, conversion, offering for sale, transfer or the like of the hazardous waste shall be required to obtain an authorization from the SPCB.
In this regard, 'hazardous waste' inter-alia includes any waste which by reason of its physical, chemical, reactive, toxic, flammable, explosive or corrosive characteristics causes danger to health or environment, whether alone or when in contact with other wastes or substances.
After scrutiny, the SPCB may grant an authorization to the applicant, which is valid for a period of 5 years. Considering that an EV facility would be dealing with hazardous waste at the time of disposal of batteries, it would be essential for an EV manufacturer to obtain authorization from SPCB.
(iii) E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 ("E-waste Rules")
The E-waste Rules aim to reduce the e-waste generated in the country by channelizing it to authorized dismantlers and recyclers in order to reduce the toxicity caused by such waste. In terms of the E-waste Rules, 'e-waste' means waste electrical and electronic equipment, whole or in part or rejects from their manufacturing and repair process, which are intended to be discarded. The E-waste Rules are applicable to every producer, consumer or bulk consumer involved in the manufacture, sale, purchase and processing of electrical and electronic equipment or components, collection center, dismantler and recycler of e-waste. As a result, a duty would be cast upon the EV manufacturer to ensure that e-waste generated by them, if any, is channelised to authorized collection center(s) or registered dismantler(s) or recycler(s) or is returned to the pick-up or take back services provided by the producers.
(iv) Battery (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001 ("Battery Management Rules")
The Battery Management Rules apply to, inter alia, every manufacturer, importer, re-conditioner, assembler, dealer, consumer involved in manufacturing, processing, sale, purchase and use of batteries or components. We understand that while primarily batteries which are utilized in EV's are made out of lithium-ion cells, however, the Battery Management Rules prescribe for a lead acid battery that contains lead metal.
Under the Battery Management Rules, any importer who imports new lead acid batteries or components containing lead for the purpose of sale, must register with the CPCB for a period of 5 years.11 In addition, the Battery Management Rules, also prescribe for the registration for recyclers of used lead acid batteries. Such a registration is valid for a period of 2 years.
In addition to the existing rules for waste management, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had published the draft Battery Waste Management Rules, 2020 in February 2020. It is important to note that unlike the Battery Management Rules which deals with lead acid batteries, the draft rules take into consideration a wide range of batteries, from disposable ones like alkaline and mercury batteries to the rechargeable ones such as lithium-ion and nickel-cadmium batteries. The draft rules further propose detailed responsibility of the manufacturer of EV batteries which include the obligation of setting up of battery-waste collection centres and take-back systems and affixing of targets for battery-waste collection from 2 to 7 years. While the draft rules have not been notified yet and are currently in the draft phase, it is expected that India would prove to be a global leader in establishing a regulatory framework for safe disposal and recycling of batteries, once the proposed amendments come to force.
With the intent to strengthen the EV industry, the Central Government has recently announced the introduction of a 'battery swapping' policy in its union budget for financial year 2022-23. As per the proposed policy, the owners of EVs will be able to swap their drained batteries with charged ones at designated stations. Such a proposal is exciting, given the constraint in space in urban areas for setting up charging stations. This would further ease the use of EVs, which otherwise takes hours to recharge. The proposed policy would also assist in recognizing 'battery' or 'energy' as a service and help in further developing the EV infrastructure and increasing the use of EVs in public transportation. The battery swapping policy aims to create new avenues and encourage companies to migrate into the business of battery swapping.
(b) Labour legislations
In addition to the above, every manufacturer of EV (and its batteries) would also have to obtain registrations and ensure compliance with various labour law legislations. We have set out below some of the key labour law compliances12 that every manufacturer will be required to comply with:
(i) Factories Act, 1948 ("Factories Act")
The Factories Act and the rules framed thereunder embodies the law relating to regulation of labour in factories. The statute prescribes, inter alia, terms of health, safety, working hours, benefits, overtime and leave. The statute is enforced by State Governments in accordance with the state specific rules framed under the Factories Act. As per the Factories Act read with the relevant rules framed thereunder by the concerned States, every 'factory' is required to obtain a license for its operation. A 'factory' in terms of the Factories Act, means:
"any premises including the precincts thereof-
- whereon ten or more workers are working, or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on with the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on, or
- whereon twenty or more workers are working or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on without the aid of power or is ordinarily so carried on."
Accordingly, any manufacturer operating a 'factory' for manufacturing of EVs or EV batteries and/or their components in terms of the Factories Act will be required to procure a license to operate such a factory in terms of the applicable State rules. In addition to the license to operate a factory, a manufacturer is also required to obtain ancillary permits and consents, which vary from State to State, depending on the location of the manufacturing premises. These usually relate to building plan and site approval, consents for obtaining electricity and water connections, approval for factory plan, license to operate a lift, no-objection certificate from the State fire department, amongst others.
(ii) Industrial disputes Act, 1947 ("ID Act")
The ID Act is a beneficial legislation applicable to "workmen" employed in an industry and inter alia aimed at regulating industrial disputes. Section 2(s) of the ID Act defines a 'workman' as any person employed in any industry to do any manual, unskilled, skilled, technical, operational, clerical or supervisory work for hire or reward. By a plain reading of the definition of 'workman', employees who are not 'workmen' would be those who: (a) are employed in mainly an administrative or managerial capacity; or (b) being employed in a supervisory capacity earns more than INR 10 thousand per month; or (c) exercises, either by the nature of the duties attached to the office or by reason of the powers vested in him, functions mainly of a managerial nature. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is important to note that there are enough judicial precedents now which set out that the financial benchmark of INR 10 thousand is not always the criterion to evaluate whether an employee is a workman. Effectively, even an employee earning more than INR 10 thousand can, therefore, be classified as a workman if his work does not comprise any supervisory or managerial responsibilities. The ID Act lays down the provisions relating to inter alia, the procedure to be followed for lay-offs, retrenchments, the consideration to be paid to workmen in case of lay-offs, retrenchments, transfer of undertaking and closure of business, etc.
Considering that there will be many 'workmen' employed by the EV manufacturer for working in the factory, it becomes imperative for an EV manufacturer to observe compliance with the ID Act.
(iii) Employees' Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 ("EPF Act")
The EPF Act is a social welfare legislation which seeks to create an investment fund in which contributions are made by both the employees and the employers, which is cashed out to the employees on their retirement. Under the EPF Act, every factory and establishment employing 20 or more persons, including those employed through a contractor, is required to contribute towards an employee's provident fund. All establishments to which the EPF Act applies, and the contractors engaged by them, are required to obtain a registration and allotment code from the designated authority to make these contributions, and file returns evidencing their contribution.
(iv) Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948 ("ESI Act")
Similar to the EPF Act, the ESI Act is also a piece of social welfare legislation which seeks to provide social security to the employees. The ESI Act is applicable to all factories and establishments with at least 10 employees and requires a company to make employer contributions to all employees drawing wages of up to INR 21 thousand per month. Factories and establishments to which the ESI Act applies are required to obtain a registration under the ESI Act. Further, the ESI Act also mandates that all employees in factories, or establishments to which the ESI Act applies are required to be insured in the manner as prescribed by the Government and to this end, the employers are required to make contributions in favour of the eligible employees to the Employees' State Insurance Corporation to secure such insurance for the employees.
3. Standards and specifications for manufacturing EVs and EV batteries
Based on several examples in the past such as that of Volkswagen, wherein it was alleged that the German car manufacturer attempted to cheat on emission tests by installing 'defeat devices' in its vehicles, it has become imperative to have a set of rules, regulations and approvals in place with regard to testing of automobile components and processes used in manufacturing of automobiles, to ensure safety and uniformity.
(a) General framework for standards and specifications for EVs and EV batteries
In this regard, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 ("MV Act") and the rules framed thereunder play a significant role. The MV Act governs the specifications for construction of motor vehicles, and other aspects for use of motor vehicles. It is pertinent to note that currently, there is no specific central legislation that solely governs EVs in India. However, since EVs also qualify as 'motor vehicles' under the MV Act, EVs are also governed by the provisions of the statute. The MV Act empowers the Central Government to notify any standard to be conformed by a manufacturer of motor vehicles and to make rules regulating the construction, equipment and maintenance of motor vehicles. Such notification may cover aspects with respect to, inter alia, width, height, length and overhang of vehicles and of the loads carried; size, nature and condition of tyres; brakes and steering gear; signalling appliances, lamps and reflectors; speed governors; standards of the components used in the vehicle as inbuilt safety devices; etc.13 The MV Act further empowers state governments to also make rules regulating construction, equipment and maintenance of motor vehicles with respect to matters which are not regulated by the Central Government, such as, inter alia, periodical testing and inspection of vehicles by prescribed authorities and fees to be charged for such test.14
In terms of Section 110 of the MV Act, the Central Government enacted the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 ("CMVR"). Chapter V of the CMVR lays down specifications and standards for construction, equipment and maintenance of motor vehicles, including but not limited to overall dimension of the vehicle, braking requirements, steering gears and safety standards. The CMVR identifies certain test agencies to issue type approval certificate for vehicles, which inter alia include the Automotive Research Association of India ("ARAI"), Vehicle Research and Development Establishment of the Ministry of Defence of the Government of India, Central Institute of Road Transport, International Centre for Automotive Technology, etc.15 The CMVR further specifies that every manufacturer of motor vehicles and its part /components / assemblies is required to submit the prototype of the vehicle and/or the part / component / assembly, as the case may be, to be manufactured by it for test by any of the above identified agencies.16
(b) Process of testing and certifications
In view of the broad framework for standards and specifications under the MV Act and the CMVR, it is important to understand the homologation process for approvals. Homologation refers to the approvals required for the vehicles prior to their marketing and sales. This is done to ensure that the vehicles meet the technical specifications and standards laid down by the concerned regulatory bodies. Technical standards ensure interoperability and compatibility of any 'Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)' with all EVs.
The process of testing and certification for conformance to technical standards is known as type approval. The homologation process for any automotive vehicle including EVs consists of several steps17:
- Component approval - whereby the components of automotive vehicles such as lamps, mirrors, tyres, etc. and component fitting to the vehicle (such as electric/ electronic sub-assemblies, car audio systems, etc.) are assessed as per specified standards and are subject matter of approval;
- Systems approvals - whereby the breaking system, exhaust emission from the vehicle, etc. are assessed for approval; and
- Whole vehicle type approval (WVTA)/ vehicle certification test - whereby it is assessed whether the motor vehicles intended to be placed in the market for consumers meet the relevant environmental, safety and security standards.
For each step of the above-mentioned steps, the concerned regulatory authority issues an approval according to the applicable rule under the CMVR. The approvals are based on test reports prepared by an officially recognized organizations. Similar to the system of testing and certifications for EVs, EV batteries also have to conform to specific standards and undergo testing through various processes before being approved for use in EVs. The tests ensures that the batteries fulfill the legal, industry and manufacture requirements. Typically, an EV battery undergoes the following test:
- Physical tests - whereby the dimensions of the battery and other constructional requirements such as electrolyte level indicator, terminal posts, connectors, and nuts and bolts, etc. are verified. The battery is also tested for any marking (such as source of manufacturer, year of manufacture, country of origin, etc.).
- Mechanical tests - whereby the batteries are tested to assess their insulation and wiring, assembly of cells into batteries, impact of continuous charging, vibration testing, temperature cycling, mechanical shock, thermal abuse, overcharge protection, forced discharge, fire resistance, hydrogen emission, amongst others. Batteries also have to undergo tests such as life cycle test, capacity test, etc.
(c) Testing agencies and applicable standards
ARAI is a premier automotive research, development and certification institute that aims to support automotive industry in the development, evaluation and certification of EVs.18 The ARAI develops standards for manufacturing of EVs and its components. In India, for every vehicle irrespective of its type, ARAI testing is mandatory. However, as per ARAI guidelines, EVs having maximum power less than 250 W and speed less than 25 kmph are exempt from type approval requirements. If the vehicle is above these limits, it will be treated as motor vehicle and hence would need to be type approved. Such approval is done vehicle model-wise.19
The ARAI provides approval certificates for all automobiles including battery operated vehicles and EV charging systems as per the technical standards specified by it. Some of the types of approvals include, amongst others, CMVR type approval for battery operated vehicles (as per AIS 049); CMVR type approval for hybrid electric vehicles (as per AIS 102), requirements for constructional and functional safety for battery operated vehicles (as per AIS 038), etc.20
For each vehicle prototype, the concerned authorized agency issues "Type Approval Certificate (TAC)" and/or "Conformity of Production Certificate (COP)" according to the applicable rules based on test reports. Once all approvals are collected, the testing organization issues the report for the approval as a basis for the homologation certificate. This certificate is recognized in all the countries as mentioned in the test report.
Additionally, the Bureau of Indian Standards ("BIS"), the national standards body of India, is responsible for formulating the standards for EV charging as well as batteries used in EVs. Some of the standards approved by BIS are as follows:
- Indian Standards for AC / DC charging21
The IS 17017 is the key EV charging standard in India comprising three parts and six sections. IS-17017- Part-1 provides the basic features of all EV charging systems. An AC EVSE must adhere to this standard, and specific AC connector standard in the IS-17017-Part-2. IS-17017-Part-23 describes the requirements for DC charging stations, with power output of 50kW to 200kW. Recently, the BIS has finalized the IS-17017-Part-25, which is specifically for providing low DC power of less than 7kW for light EVs. Both AC and DC EVSE need to conform to the technical standards IS-17017-Parts 21 & 22.
- Indian Standards for battery swapping22
Separate projects have been initiated for battery swapping standards for light EVs and buses. They will be two series of standards documents, covering the form factor of the battery pack, inter-operable connection systems, communication between the battery management system (BMS) and the EV and charging station, and network management. Any EV may utilize a battery pack conforming to these standards. The removable battery packs can be charged using AC or DC charging systems. The BIS is yet to develop Indian standards for EV roaming and grid-related management functions.
- Indian standards for EV Batteries
The Indian standard IS 16046 (Part 1) and the IS 16046 (Part 2) include safety requirements for secondary cells and batteries of nickel chemistry and lithium chemistry, respectively, containing alkaline or other non-acid electrolytes to be used in portable applications. The testing that batteries undergo under both these parts, include processes such as, inter alia, insulation and wiring, temperature cycling, thermal abuse in cells, crush test on cells, caution remarks for small cells and batteries, etc. as covered above.
While Indian standards for EV charging and batteries are compliant with global standards, local climate considerations and the difference in vehicle types available in the country necessitate modifications that are specifically applicable to India. The Ministry of Power has issued the revised consolidated guidelines and standards for charging infrastructure for EVs on January 14, 2022.23 The objective of the promulgation is to enable a faster adoption of electric vehicles in India by ensuring safe, reliable, accessible and affordable EV charging infrastructure and eco-system.
Although the EV transition presents itself as a massive investment opportunity, there exist several barriers to domestic EV adoption. There is a need to address the issue systemically and in a timely manner, which would enable a pivot in investments for the electric mobility sector in India.
In addition to the manufacturing of EVs and its components, we also note that battery manufacturing represents a huge economic opportunity for India. Ambitious goals, concerted strategies, and a collaborative approach could help India meet its EV ambitions while avoiding import dependency for battery packs and cells. However, with an increase in the push to manufacture EVs and its components locally, the probability of an increase in pollution due to the manufacturing activities and recycling/disposal of batteries cannot be ruled out. There is a greater possibility of India becoming a dumpsite for lithium-ion battery waste in the absence of consistent rules and clear policy guidelines directing the safe disposal of EV batteries. Thus, a lack of clarity in regulations and concerns regarding poor return on investments can prove to be a highly capital-intensive exercise and, therefore, a hindrance in setting up a battery recycling unit infrastructure in India. The recycling process, in itself, is also a complex exercise as it entails minimizing the waste generated by battery at the end of its life cycle and maximizing the recycling of components utilized in its manufacture.
It is pertinent to note that the existing legal regime in India does not specifically categorize manufacturing of EVs (and its batteries) and their components or management of wastes generated in the process. As more and more manufacturers and participants in the EV industry enter the Indian market, there is an apparent need to formulate clear policies on sustainable end-of-life and waste disposal practices, especially for disposal of the batteries.
* The current article is a part of the series of articles on electric vehicles ("EVs"). The previous article titled 'Electric Vehicles: Driving India Towards Sustainability' published in December 2021, aims to furnish the policy regime and legal framework around EVs and can be accessed here. To take this discussion forward, part II of this series aims to focus on the aspects of the legal landscape governing manufacturing of EVs and EV batteries in India and the process for approvals and certification of EVs and EV batteries.
3. Please refer https://e-amrit.niti.gov.in/new-e-mobility-businesses
4. Please refer https://e-amrit.niti.gov.in/Manufacturers
10. 'Industrial plant' is defined under Section 2(k) of the Air Act and reads as "means any plant used for any industrial or trade purposes and emitting any air pollutant into the atmosphere."
11. Please refer Rule 5 of the Battery Management Rules.
12. Please note that this is an indicative list and not an exhaustive list, and other applicable labour law legislations may also need to be complied with.
13. Please see Sections 109 and 110 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
14. Please see Section 111 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
15. Please see Rule 126 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.
16. Please see Rules 124 and 126 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.
17. Please refer https://evreporter.com/guide-to-homologation-of-electric-vehicles/
19. Please refer https://www.araiindia.com/faqs
21. Please refer https://e-amrit.niti.gov.in/bis-standard
23. Please refer https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1790136
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