EV makers gets show cause notice over explosions, fires
The world may be in the middle of a mobility revolution but Indian government’s drive to push for the adoption of the more cleaner and efficient Electric Vehicles (EVs) in India seem to be hitting speed bumps.
After a spate of EV two-wheelers caught fire, a regulator under the ministry of consumer affairs has recently issued notices to four to five EV two-wheeler makers asking them to list the reasons behind the fire episodes and why the authority should not take action against them. This move by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) comes after many two-wheeler buyers complained about battery explosions and fire incidents.
CCPA chief commissioner Nidhi Khare told the media that the hearing on the matter will be heard once the EV manufacturers send in their responses.
Last month, the CCPA sent notices to Pure EV and Boom Motors after their e-scooters exploded in April this year. Further action would be taken based on the responses received from the EV manufacturers, said Khare, adding that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has also been informed.
A DRDO investigation into the fire incidents had revealed serious defects in the batteries, including designs of the battery packs and modules. The reason for this was because electric 2W manufacturers like Okinawa Autotech, Pure EV, Jitendra Electric Vehicles, Ola Electric and Boom Motors had used “lower-grade materials to cut costs”, said media reports quoting sources.
They had identified issues with battery cells or design in nearly all of the electric two-wheeler fire incidents in the country.
The government has appointed a committee of experts that has representations from the Visakhapatnam-based Naval Science & Technological Laboratory; the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras; the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru; and an expert of advanced chemistry, to work on new quality-centric guidelines for EVs that is expected to be unveiled soon.
The committee is expected to suggest ways to ensure the right quality of the product and will draw up a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for testing and validation of key components and formulate a certification standard for the battery used in EVs.
Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari told the Parliament last week that all the EV two-wheelers companies have been served show-cause notices after their vehicles caught fire owing to battery issues. Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha he said the CEOs and managing directors of EV manufacturers have been issued show-cause notices.
At least 12 electric two-wheelers have exploded until now and several EV makers have recalled the faulty batches amid the growing pressure from the government.