Just days after reports of Ola Electric and Okinawa scooters catching fire, a video has emerged showing a red colour Pure EV scooter on fire. This appears to be the Pure EPluto 7G, and it can be seen emitting smoke while on fire on the side of a busy road in Chennai. This is fourth such video of an electric scooter catching fire to have gone viral in the past few days.
Let’s quickly take a look at what has been reported with regard to electronic vehicles (EVs) catching fire in India so far, and how the government has responded.
Pure EV scooter on fire
The video shared by ETAuto journalist Sumant Banerjee on Twitter shows thick fumes rising from the red coloured scooter. The fire itself is also visible in a few frames in the video.
The Hyderabad-based company has issued a statement on the ETAuto stating that it is examining the incident, and it would conduct more analysis once it receives the damaged vehicle. Incidentally, some videos of Pure EV’s scooters catching fire had also gone viral in October last year.
Ola Electric S1 Pro
In a separate incident reported on March 27, a dark blue Ola Electric S1 Pro scooter parked on the sides of Porwal road in the Lohegaon area of Pune caught fire. “We are aware of the incident in Pune that happened with one of our scooters and are investigating to understand the root cause, and will share more updates in the next few days,” said the company in a statement tweeted by Ola Electric CEO and co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal at the time.
Okinawa electric scooters
One of the first incidents happened on March 25, when a 45-year-old man and his daughter died in Tamil Nadu after their new Okinawa scooter caught fire when left to charge overnight, as reported by CNBC TV. In a company statement, Okinawa had claimed that the fire was an “evident case of short circuit due to negligence in charging the vehicle,” and said that the company was waiting for the complete investigation to unfold.
In another incident documented on March 28 in a tweet by Tamil Nadu-based automotive media outlet MotoWagon, a red coloured scooter with a green number plate can be seen billowing smoke, presumably due to a fire. According to MotoWagon, it was an Okinawa electric scooter that was seen in the video, and the incident took place in Manapparai in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirappalli district.
The company has not issued a response to this particular incident so far.
The government response
The spate of viral videos showing electric scooters catching fire has sparked concerns and prompted a response from the government as well. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has ordered a probe into the incidents Ola Electric and Okinawa electric scooters caught fire. The Ministry also reached out to the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES) to carry out investigations into these incidents. It will examine whether there is some structural defect causing this.
There’s no clear reason why these scooters are catching fire. As the Indian Express noted, industry experts are blaming the thermal runaway of the Lithium-ion battery as the likely caused behind these fires.