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Chinese EV battery firms told to meet new rules or lose subsidies

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 12:08 -- Paul Crompton
Chinese EV battery firms told to meet new rules or lose subsidies

China has announced it will only give state subsidies to Electric Vehicle battery makers who qualify for listing in a new directory.

Only firms that meet certain criteria will be included in the directory, which will go live in July 2017.

The criteria include agreeing to undergo extended inspections in which tests could be carried out on batteries and systems to ensure they and the facility are “consistent with the vehicle battery industry standard conditions... in addition to the scale of production and other aspects of the requirements” that were released in 2015.

These requirements were implemented on 1 August 2015 with a GB31241 standard, which brought together existing standards for lithium batteries, such as the UN38.3 transport regulation, the UL2054 safety standard for lithium battery packs and the UL1642 standard for lithium cells.

But as well as existing benchmarks a ‘washing machine’ test was required in China, which meant that manufacturers had to redesign products that were already compliant with other global standards.

Battery manufacturers only had to self declare they had met these conditions but they had to be able to provide documentation to prove it when required.

Under the new draft regulations, battery makers will have to meet all the 2015 conditions if they want to get listed.

Many of the major NEV battery makers have welcomed the directory, saying there was plenty of time to make sure their products qualified for inclusion in it.

In an interview with OfWeek, a Chinese web portal, CATL, BAK, Boston and others were quoted as saying it highlighted the massive growth in the battery sector, which had sparked a trend in the industry towards the manufacture of cheap, low-quality batteries by unregulated firms. 

“It encourages enterprises committed to technological research and development and will clear out non-compliant businesses, which in turn will help technical progress,” said the article. 

Chinese president Xi Jinping has already earmarked electric vehicles as a driving force in the future of the country’s auto industry, partly because of pollution fears and also to reduce China’s dependence on imported oil.

Subsidies for EVs were made in a bid to promote the technology and as a result, new-energy vehicle sales more than quadrupled last year, according to figures from Bloomberg.