Ola, Okinawa E-Scooters Catching Fire: Fault In Battery Is The Reason, As Per Govt (Initial Findings)

Ola, Okinawa E-Scooters Catching Fire: Fault In Battery Is The Reason, As Per Govt (Initial Findings)
Ola, Okinawa E-Scooters Catching Fire: Fault In Battery Is The Reason, As Per Govt (Initial Findings)

A government investigation into the multiple instances of electric scooters catching fire has found faulty battery cells and modules to be the cause.

Background

The investigating committee was constituted last month in the wake of EV fires and battery blasts in e-scooters belonging to Okinawa Autotech, Boom Motor, Pure EV, Jitendra EV, and Ola Electric.

In one such incident a man and his daughter died.

They probed fire incidents involving three companies, including Ola Electric which was the country’s top-selling e-scooter maker in April.

The Ola Case

A source with direct knowledge of the report said that in Ola’s case, the battery cells and the battery management system were found to be an issue.

They said that the government has taken samples of cells from the three companies to make further checks.

The final report is expected in about two weeks.

In Denial

Ola sources its cells from South Korea’s LG Energy Solution (LGES).

It said that it is cooperating with the government and has appointed an external expert agency, in addition to its own probe.

An Ola spokesperson said that as per preliminary assessment there was “no fault of the Ola battery management system at all” and was likely an isolated thermal incident.

LGES in Seoul said that it is awaiting the Indian government’s report and cannot comment since the company has not yet identified the root cause of the Ola scooter incident.

Okinawa And PureEV

Executive at LGES in India, Prashant Kumar, said that the company and Ola are working together over the incident and want to understand the root cause.

The government probe also looked into Indian startups Okinawa and PureEV whose scooters were also involved. 

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 said earlier that they would investigate and also recalled some scooters.

Measures Being Considered

These initial findings may make the government require manufacturers to test the battery cells of e-scooters before they are allowed to launch.

India currently tests the battery packs but not the cells which are mainly imported from South Korea or China.

If it does begin to test the cells, it will have to build the infrastructure and expertise.

Bump In The Road

Apart from this, there are also consequences for India’s vision of having e-scooters and e-bikes make up 80% of total two-wheeler sales by 2030, from about 2% today.

The fires have tainted consumer confidence and could potentially halt the growth of a sector that is key to the country’s carbon reduction goals.

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