Published: 21st May 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: Why are electric scooters going kaboom across the country? Let's explain it
The Central Consumer Protection Authority has sent a notice to notable e-scooter brands Pure EV and Boom Motors over the accidents
They say electric vehicles are the future of everyday commute. But based on recent evidence of e-vehicles, particularly two-wheelers, going up in flares in several parts of the country, one can't be too sure if it is a future many would want to experience. And, now, the Central Government has intervened as well. The Central Consumer Protection Authority, which operates under the ambit of the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry, has sent a notice to notable e-scooter brands Pure EV and Boom Motors. But what is the basis of these notices? Why have the vehicles been a cause for concern? What sort of action can be expected from the government's side? We decode this saga here in #WhatTheFAQ.
What has happened so far in various states?
In late March, a parked Ola S1 Pro caught fire in Pune. Another e-bike went up in flames which resulted in the deaths of two individuals in Vellore of Tamil Nadu. Last December in Gurugram, a man lost his life after his scooter exploded while being charged at home. Another incident was reported in Mumbai in the same month where an X1 scooter of the Super Eco brand caught fire. These mishaps have certainly caught the eye and raised many an eyebrows.
What has been the underlying cause of these accidents?
The e-vehicles contain lithium ion batteries which have to be kept within a defined voltage and temperature window. It is the fluctuation in these during different times of the day that is likely to have caused the incidents. Another possible reason could be the gaseous release which can get ignited, according to a report by the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. Besides these, manufacturing flaws can also result in an internal short circuit leading to fire.
What are some of the safety solutions?
The first suggestion given to customers is to adhere to the manufacturer's instructions. It is extremely important to not leave the scooter charging overnight. For precaution sake, the two-wheeler should not be left unattended while charging. The batteries should ideally be kept at room temperatures and especially away from direct sunlight.
What is the response by different brands?
In the Pune incident, Ola had launched an investigation to understand the root cause of it. It later recalled over 1,400 e-scooters. This move was replicated by Okinawa Autotech and PureEV which recalled over 3,000 and 2,000 units, respectively. Ola has also said that their batteries already comply with the European Standards ECE 136 and Indian AIS 156 standards.
How will the government intervene?
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has informed that the Centre will announce 'quality-centric' guidelines for manufacturers of EVs and that there would be penalties levied, in case of negligence. The CCPA has sent a notice to PureEV and Boom Motors. The government is also working on issuing new quality standards for electric vehicle manufacturers which are expected to ensure a closer watch on manufacturing defects that might cause accidents in the future.