Electric scooters have had a tumultuous past in the country, given their history of dangerous incendiary incidents. In the height of summer, several electric scooters caught fire across the country, most of which were suspected to be from poor thermal management of the battery system or substandard batteries.
Government sends show cause notice to e-scooter makers
The government has given electric vehicle manufacturers one month to respond to the show cause notice. EV manufacturers should provide an explanation of the causes of the fires and also suggest reasoning to exempt them from criminal prosecution. The government has also indicated that failure to respond to notices by the end of July will result in heavy penalties.
The survey was conducted in collaboration with Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) as directed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Subsequent reports indicated that manufacturers often resorted to using substandard components in batteries to control prices. With the battery being one of the most expensive parts of an electric vehicle, it was an obvious place to start cutting costs in order to keep the price of the vehicle low.
However, these incidents also led to the formalization of new standards that would keep the performance of lithium-ion battery packs at the required level. Jhe Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has recently proposed new standards that manufacturers must comply with. Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari also made it clear in a recent statement that failure to meet the required standards will result in heavy penalties for defaulting companies.
More than ten fires have been reported so far, and several lives have also been lost as a result in India, involving Okinawa and other manufacturers.