EV fire: Govt to revise testing norms for batteries, battery management & cells

EV fire: Govt to revise testing norms for batteries, battery management & cells

India’s fledgling EV industry is facing the heat after a number of electric two-wheeler vehicles went up in flames. Even as the government has ordered a probe into how the vehicles caught fire abruptly, and the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are trying to figure out what caused the fires, the government is all set to revise all the testing norms for batteries, battery management, and cells.

A CNBC-News 18 report quoting sources said that government is planning to have a “dialogue” with the companies of the electric two-wheelers that recently caught fire. Also, the government will if necessary give directions and advise the companies whose EVs caught fire – Ola, Okinawa, Jitendra Electric, Pure EV – on the steps required to be taken to prevent such fires in the future, said sources. And, shall revise standards for quality assurance and quality control at the manufacturers’ end.

EVs are powered by lithium-ion batteries, of the kind used in cellphones and smartwatches, which are generally considered to be efficient and light compared to their counterparts. However, they may also pose a fire risk, as seen in the case of the two-wheeler EVs. All lithium-ion cells are imported into India as of now.

What’s behind the fire?

The actual reasons behind the Ola and Okinawa EVs catching fire are currently unknown as the companies have said they are investigating the matter. However, Okinawa, said that from its preliminary observations, based on “credible sources, the media and local authorities”, the fire in its scooter was a result of short circuiting due to “negligence in charging the vehicle”.

But, soon after, the EV manufacturer had recalled 3,215 units of its ‘Praise Pro’ scooters on April 16, its dealership went up in flames in Tamil Nadu due to a fire from an e-scooter.

Also read: Truck loaded with 40 electric scooters of Jitendra EV catches fire in Nashik

The EV maker is yet to make a statement on the latest EV fire at its dealership. No casualties were reported and the fire was extinguished with the help of locals but the entire showroom was gutted. This was however the sixth EV fire incident since the onset of summer this year.

Manufacturers of EV two-wheelers under fire

On March 26, a Ola S1 Pro electric scooter burst into flames while it was parked by a roadside in Pune. While there were no casualties in the first incident, a second similar incident on the same day took the lives of a father and daughter. This time an unknown model Okinawa electric scooter caught fire in Vellore, Tamil Nadu.

A few days after these two incidents on March 30, an EV manufactured by PureEV went up in flames in Chennai.

On April 11, forty electric scooters of Jitendra Electric Vehicles (EV) caught fire after being loaded in a transport container in Nashik. The incident took place close to the company’s factory. The scooters were being transported to Bengaluru, but no one was injured. Jitendra EV is said to be conducting a probe to determine what caused the fire.

Also read: An ordeal by fire for new electric vehicle makers and users

These fire incidents are being seen as a wake up call for the industry to get its act together, said a prominent manufacturer of EVs. While some experts are blaming the poor battery design for the incidents, Tarun Mehta, founder of Ather Energy, blamed manufacturers for not taking enough time to design products. Testing standards laid down by government bodies may not be enough to test all real-life situations accurately, he had said.

Also read: Centre, police launch probes into Pune, Vellore electric bike fires

Also read: Indian EV makers beat the odds to post bumper sales in FY22

Also read: Electric bike catches fire in Chennai, in fourth EV mishap in 10 days

Read More
Next Story