Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Electric Scooter Fire Because Cheaper Parts – Ola, Okinawa, Pure EV Summoned

Pure EV, Boom Motors, Ola Electric, Jitendra EV and Okinawa are the companies under the spotlight for EV fires and related hazards

Pure EV Electric Scooter catches fire
Pure EV Electric Scooter catches fire

How many electric two-wheeler startups can you count? 5? 10? Nope. There are over 22 such companies and every one of them wanna offer an electric two-wheeler to the Indian audience. But not every startup has the financial backing, manufacturing expertise, manufacturing efficiency and ethics to offer a fool-proof product to customers. Especially Indian customers, most of whom are new to EV technology.

Where the market is immature in EV tech and there are no proper guidelines and interventions by the Government, manufacturers lean towards profitability a little too much. This is reflected in the slew of EV fires that are taking place across the country. But, times are changing and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had ordered the Centre for Fire, Explosives and Environment Safety (CFEES) to investigate the fire hazards of the electric scooters.

DRDO Report On Electric Scooter Fire

Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), which is a part of the Union Consumer Affairs ministry, sent legal notices to Pure EV and Boom Motors earlier this month. The notice demands Pure EV and Boom Motors provide an explanation as to why their products caught fire in April. Similar notices have also supposedly reached Ola Electric, Jitendra EV and Okinawa Autotech.

The CFEES of the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) has done a thorough investigation by also roping in Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. The joint probe examined all the EV fire cases in India and has come up with a shocking report. According to the report, DRDO has stated that in every EV fire incident, the manufacturer might have used lower-quality cheap materials resulting in faulty battery cells and battery modules.

Ola Electric Scooter New Colour Launch
Ola Electric Scooter

The Ministry has supposedly summoned representatives from Pure EV, Boom Motors, Ola Electric, Jitendra EV and Okinawa Autotech demanding an explanation regarding the matter. Nitin Gadkari has also said that the Indian Government would issue quality-centric guidelines for all the existing and upcoming electric vehicle manufacturers.

Future Of EVs

In the light of EV fires, Ola Electric has recalled over 1400 units of S1 Pro electric scooters, Pure EV recalled over 2000 units of the ETrance+ and EPluto 7G scooters and Okinawa recalled over 3250 units of their electric scooters.

Mishaps like these create a lot of confusion among people regarding safety of EVs in general. A lot of EV two-wheeler manufacturers have been producing electric scooters for many years without a fire hazard. We have seen multiple startup EV motorcycle manufacturers providing solid EVs since day one. But the inevitability of a startup remains unless mainstream manufacturers like Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp and others jump into the EV bandwagon.

If the Indian Government mandates quality guidelines across EV platforms, it will streamline India’s EV vision while controlling EV fire hazards. This also raises an ethical question regarding manufacturers’ profitability at the cost of product safety. In a young market like India, buyers should be aware of what they’re getting into.

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