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Explained: Why has EV maker Okinawa recalled its scooter units?

This was the first instance of a voluntary recall by an electric vehicle manufacturer in India.

The development comes weeks after an Okinawa scooter burst into flames claiming the lives of a man and his thirteen-year-old daughter. (Photo: Okinawa Autotech)

Two-wheel EV maker Okinawa Autotech has said it was recalling 3,215 units of its Praise Pro scooter to fix any issues related to batteries, in what is the first instance of a voluntary recall by an electric vehicle manufacturer in India.

Why the recall and what did the company say?

In a statement, the company said: “The batteries will be checked for loose connectors or any damage and be repaired free of charge at any of the Okinawa authorised dealerships pan India.”

“The electric 2W maker is working closely with the dealer partners to ensure that the repair experience is as per the convenience of its customers, for which the vehicle owners will be contacted individually,” Okinawa added.

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The development comes weeks after an Okinawa scooter burst into flames claiming the lives of a man and his thirteen-year-old daughter.

At the time, the company had claimed that the fire in its electric two-wheeler was an “evident case of short circuit due to negligence in charging the vehicle”. The company said it was waiting for the complete investigation to unfold.

The recall also comes in the backdrop of Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant urging manufacturers to voluntarily recall EV batches involved in fire incidents.

Okinawa, which was established in 2016 out of a manufacturing facility in Rajasthan’s Bhiwadi, sold more than 46,000 electric scooters in 2021-22, according to data by the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA), and had a market share of 0.39 per cent. In March this year, the company sold more than 8,000 electric scooters.

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Why is there an increase in fire related incidents?

In the last few weeks, over a dozen electric scooters have caught fires including those manufactured by Ola Electric, Pure EV and Jitendra EV, aside from Okinawa. The companies have launched respective investigations into the instances.

The Road Transport Ministry, meanwhile, has also ordered a probe into the incidents and roped in the Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES), a unit of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), to constitute an independent team and carry out an investigation into the incidents.

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While conclusive reasons behind these incidents are yet to be clear, industry experts have said that the rising temperatures in the country and manufacturing defects – both in hardware and software – could be possible causes behind the fires.

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First published on: 17-04-2022 at 05:43:17 pm
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