Govt probes incidents of electric scooters catching fire in Pune, Vellore

Govt probes incidents of electric scooters catching fire in Pune, Vellore

The central government is learnt to have deputed a team consisting of independent experts to probe multiple recent incidents of electric scooters – those made by Ola and Okinawa – catching fire. The team will probe the incidents and submit a report on their findings.

Last week, an Ola S1 Pro electric scooter, a top of the line vehicle the company makes, caught fire in Maharashtra’s Pune while it was parked on the roadside of a busy commercial area. In another incident in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore, an Okinawa electric scooter went up in flames, claiming the lives of a man and his daughter. Both of these two-wheelers had been tested and had received their vehicle type approvals before they were launched.

The team formed by the government includes independent experts from the science and technology domain and is expected to travel to the two cities to probe whether any structural issues or manufacturing defects led to the abrupt fires in the vehicles.

Ola Electric said that 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 have cited the thermal runaway of the Lithium-ion battery as the reason behind the fires. “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.

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Author: Shirley