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NXP CTO Lars Reger explains why Indian EVs were blowing up

Sumit Vishwakarma
New Update
NXP Semiconductors CTO Lars Reger

NXP Semiconductors CTO Lars Reger

Lars Reger, Chief Technology Officer at NXP Semiconductors, has pinpointed the use of inexpensive laptop chips in battery management systems (BMS) as the culprit behind electric vehicle (EV) fires in India.

According to Reger, the adaptation of these "cheap" solutions from consumer electronics to complex BMS has led to repeated failures.

In an interview with Moneycontrol, Reger emphasized, "Do not use consumer electronics in battery management systems." He highlighted the critical mistake of underestimating the demanding environment in which EVs operate, from extreme temperatures to varying weather conditions.

Compromising safety for affordability


The Indian EV market, which is known for its sensitivity to price, has seen manufacturers opting for the most affordable components to maintain competitive pricing. This approach, however, has compromised safety. 

Reger remarked on the irony of the situation, stating, "The cost of the battery management chips, as compared to the entire scooter or car that you are building, is a joke. It's a fraction." This decision to use cheaper chips has not only led to safety risks but also questioned the overall quality assurance processes within the EV supply chain.

Safety and performance at stake

The incidents of EV fires have raised alarms about the safety of occupants and the integrity of valuable assets like battery packs. The use of laptop chips, which lack the necessary durability and fail-safe mechanisms for EV applications, has been a significant concern.

The NXP CTO's comments shed light on the paramount importance of using automotive-grade components that meet stringent safety and reliability standards to prevent overheating, malfunctioning, and fire incidents.

Industry response and future directions

In response to these challenges, there's a push for collaboration among automakers, semiconductor manufacturers, regulatory bodies, and standards organizations. The goal is to establish guidelines and quality benchmarks for components used in EVs. NXP Semiconductors, among other industry leaders, advocates for the adoption of automotive-grade components and robust testing protocols. This collective effort aims to enhance safety, efficiency, and sustainability in the EV sector, building consumer confidence in EV technology.

The Indian EV ecosystem growth

Despite the setbacks, the Indian EV ecosystem continues to grow, with significant sales increases and government incentives to promote EV adoption. The recent allocation of Rs 500 crore by the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) for the Electric Mobility Promotion Scheme 2024 underscores the government's commitment to this sector. 

Additionally, initiatives like Zetwerk for Indian Oil's establishment of over 1,400 EV chargers at petrol stations across India highlight the ongoing efforts to support the EV infrastructure. 

As the industry evolves, addressing the challenges of component quality and safety standards remains paramount to ensuring the long-term success and sustainability of the EV market in India and beyond.