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E-scooters catching fire: TransportMin orders investigation, ropes in DRDO arm

Last week, an Ola S1 pro electric scooter caught fire in Maharashtra's Pune, while an Okinawa electric scooter went up in flames in Tamil Nadu's Vellore.

Ola Electric said that it was investigating the root cause behind its scooter catching fire. (Photo: Twitter)

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has ordered a probe into recent incidents of electric scooters made by Ola Electric and Okinawa catching fire. The Ministry is learnt to have reached out to the Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES) to carry out investigations into the incidents.

Last week, an Ola S1 pro electric scooter, the top of the line vehicle the company makes, caught fire in Pune while parked on the roadside of a busy commercial area.

The CFEES, a unit of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has been tasked by MoRTH to probe this incident, investigate if any structural issues or manufacturing defects led to the abrupt fire, and propose remedial measures to prevent such instances in future.

In another incident in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, an electric two-wheeler manufactured by Okinawa went up in flames, claiming the lives of a man and his daughter. Both of these two-wheelers had been tested and received their vehicle type approvals before they were launched.

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Ola Electric said it was investigating the root cause behind its scooter catching fire. “We’re in constant touch with the customer who is absolutely safe. Vehicle safety is of paramount importance at Ola and we are committed to the highest quality standards in our products. We take this incident seriously and will take appropriate action and share more in the coming days,” the company said in a statement.

Okinawa, however, 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.

Industry experts are blaming the thermal runaway of the Lithium-ion battery for the reason behind the fire. “Owing to the onset of summers in India, the ambient temperature of the Lithium-ion batteries in the EV can go up close to 90-100 degree celsius and could result in a fire in some cases,” an industry expert said.

First published on: 29-03-2022 at 01:26:49 pm
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