You are here: Home » Automobile » News
Business Standard

Faulty battery cells and modules likely caused e-scooter fire, probe finds

India wants e-scooters and e-bikes to make up 80 per cent of total two-wheeler sales by 2030, from about 2 per cent today

Electric Vehicles | Electric Vehicle

Reuters  |  New Delhi 

electric scooter fire
Safety concerns jeopardise consumer confidence and could derail growth of a sector that is key to India’s carbon reduction goals

Faulty battery cells and modules have been identified as the leading cause of electric scooters catching fire in recent weeks, according to the findings of an initial investigation, two government sources told Reuters.

The probe looked into fire incidents involving three companies, including Ola Electric, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group, and was the country’s top-selling e-scooter maker in April. “In Ola’s case, the battery cells were found to be an issue as well as the battery management system,” said one of the sources, who has direct knowledge of the report.

In March, India launched an investigation over safety concerns after a spate of e-scooter fires, including one where a man and his daughter died when their e-bike “went up in flames”.

India wants e-scooters and e-bikes to make up 80 per cent of total two-wheeler sales by 2030, from about 2 per cent today. But concerns over safety jeopardise consumer confidence and could derail growth of a sector that is key to India’s carbon reduction goals.

“The government has taken samples of cells from the three companies to make further checks,” the person said, adding that the final investigation report is expected in about two weeks.

ALSO READ: As EVs catch fire, lithium ion batteries remain at the heart of the problem

Ola, which sources its cells from South Korea's LG Energy Solution (LGES), says it is working with the government on the issue and has appointed an external expert agency, in addition to conducting its own probe. “As per the preliminary assessment of these experts, there was no fault of the Ola battery management system at all and it was likely an isolated thermal incident,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Indian government's report has not yet been released or shared with us. We cannot comment on the report as we have not yet identified the root cause of the Ola scooter incident in March,” LGES in Seoul said in a statement to Reuters.

On April 18, an executive at LGES in India, Prashant Kumar, told Reuters that the company and Ola are “collaborating on an unfortunate incident and seeking to understand the root cause.”

In Okinawa’s case there was an issue with the cells and battery modules and for PureEV it was the battery casing, said the first source. PureEV and Okinawa did not respond to an email seeking comment but have previously said they are investigating the fires and have issued a recall of some scooters.

The initial findings of the investigation have prompted the government to consider testing battery cells of e-scooters before they are allowed to launch, said the second source.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sat, May 07 2022. 01:18 IST