New Chinese safety standard for batteries of electric vehicles – GB 38031-2020 standard

On May 12, 2020, the Chinese government has published a new safety standard for batteries of electric vehicles, the GB 38031-2020 standard. It will come into effect on January 1, 2021 and shall be used from that date on.

This Standard specifies safety requirements and test methods for power battery units, battery packs or systems used in electric vehicles (hereinafter referred to as batteries).

While optimizing the safety requirements of the battery unit and module; the thermal safety, mechanical safety, electrical safety and functional safety requirements of the battery system are emphasized in the new standard. The test projects cover thermal diffusion, external fire, mechanical impact, simulated collision, humid heat cycle, vibration bubble water, external short circuit, overtemperature and overcharge, etc.

It is worth noting that the standard introduces a new particular test called the “thermal propagation test”. It is designed to verify that after the thermal runaway of a cell in a battery pack, the cell will not cause a fire or explosion for at least five minutes. This allows time for passengers to leave the vehicle in case of fire or explosion hazards.

China is the first country to make this requirement for traction batteries binding from January 1, 2021 onwards. Two more standards will become applicable on the same date:

  • GB 18384-2020 “Safety Requirements for Electric Vehicles”;
  • GB 38032-2020 “Safety Requirements for Electric Passenger Cars”.

It may be assumed that the requirement will also be imposed in this or in a similar way in other regions.

Sabrina Yu

Expert Consultant

Sales Department


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