Electric fires caused by the explosion of electric scooters have killed at least four people in India since March, as the government pledges to intervene to ensure the safety of vehicles.
A 49-year-old man and his daughter died in March in the state of Tamil Nadu after his electric scooter, which was plugged in to charge, exploded at 1 a.m. as the couple slept.
In similar circumstances, an 80-year-old man died in Telangana, followed by a 40-year-old man in Andhra Pradesh in April.
In all three cases, electrical fires occurred while electric scooters were charging overnight inside homes.
After the Telangana incident involving a Pure EV scooter, the Hyderabad-based start-up announced that it would voluntarily recall 2,000 of its ETrance Plus and EPluto 7G models.
It’s not the first electric vehicle company to do so, as Okinawa Autotech also decided to recall 3,215 Praise Pro scooters after reports of fires across the country.
In response, the Indian government announced an investigation, with a committee of experts looking into the incidents.
Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Roads, Transport and Highways, tweeted: “We have formed an expert panel to investigate these incidents and make recommendations on corrective action. Based on the reports, we will issue the necessary orders on the failing companies. We will soon be releasing quality-focused guidelines for electric vehicles.
“If a company is found to be negligent in its processes, a heavy penalty will be imposed and a recall of all defective vehicles will also be ordered.”
While these fires were initially thought to be caused by faulty batteries, some are now beginning to wonder if the extreme temperatures in India are having an impact.
the India time reported: “Lithium-ion batteries used in almost all electric vehicles sold in India perform optimally in a temperature range of up to 38 degrees + five degrees. However, our summer temperatures could soar up to 50 degrees especially when exposed to direct sunlight while simmering, which can lead to thermal runaways and even fires.
“The Indian climate and road conditions are harsh and contribute to faster battery degradation if not handled properly.”
In related news, India experienced its hottest April ever, with northwestern and central parts of the country recording average temperatures of 35.9 and 37.78C beating records since 1900.
Photo by Jonas Jacobsson