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Explained: Why the govt is working on quality guidelines for EVs after surge in scooter fires

In the last few weeks, over a dozen electric scooters have caught fire including those manufactured by Ola Electric, Okinawa, Pure EV and Jitendra EV. Here's how the government is responding

Written by Soumyarendra Barik , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |
April 22, 2022 11:50:13 am
A man checks his mobile phone as he waits while recharging his Ola electric scooter at an electric vehicle charging station in New Delhi. (Reuters Photo: Aditi Shah, File)

Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari Thursday cautioned electric vehicle manufacturers, asking them to take “advance action” in recalling all defective batches of vehicles immediately and said the government would soon issue quality-centric guidelines for EVs. His comments came in the wake of over a dozen instances of electric scooters erupting into flames across the country, claiming at least four lives so far.

How many instances of EV fires have there been?

In the last few weeks, over a dozen electric scooters have caught fire including those manufactured by Ola Electric, Okinawa, Pure EV and Jitendra EV. In March, an Ola Electric scooter in Pune burst in flames while parked on the roadside of a busy commercial area. Later that month, an Okinawa scooter erupted into flames claiming the lives of a man and his 13-year-old daughter.

Earlier this month, more than 20 electric scooters made by Jitendra EV caught fire while they were being transported from the company’s factory in Nashik, in what was potentially the biggest such incident of fire yet. On Wednesday, an electric scooter made by Pure EV caught fire in Telangana’s Nizamabad after its battery exploded claiming the life of an 80-year-old man.

The companies have said they are currently investigating the reasons behind the possible causes of the scooter fires. Apart from that, Pure EV has initiated a recall of 2,000 of its electric scooters while Okinawa has announced it is recalling more than 3,000 of its EVs to check them for potential safety issues.

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How has the government responded to the incidents?

Gadkari’s remarks were the first time he publicly acknowledged the mishaps involving EVs in the country. “Several mishaps involving Electric two-wheelers have come to light in (the) last two months. It is most unfortunate that some people have lost their lives and several have been injured in these incidents,” Gadkari tweeted.

Last month, the Road Transport Ministry ordered a probe into the incidents and roped in the Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES) to investigate the incidents and suggest remedial measures. On Thursday Gadkari said if any EV makers were found ““negligent in their process”, the government will impose a heavy penalty, and order a recall of all of their defective EVs.

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