Ola E-Scooter Founder Says Fires Can Happen In Future; Describes These Fire As Incidences As ‘Rare’

Ola E-Scooter Founder Says Fires Can Happen In Future; But Describes These Incidences As 'Rare'
Ola E-Scooter Founder Says Fires Can Happen In Future; But Describes These Incidences As ‘Rare’

There might be more electric scooter fires in the future but such incidents are extremely rare, said the chief executive of India’s Ola Electric at a private company event, after safety concerns were highlighted by a fire in one of the company’s scooters in March.

Ola’s e-scooter fire was among a cluster of similar recent incidents that provoked an outcry on social media and an investigation by the government of India. 

Ola has recalled many e-scooters

The Japan SoftBank Group backed company has recalled over 1,400 e-scooters and designated external experts to investigate the cause. 

“Will there be occurrences in the future, there might be,” said Chief Executive Bhavish Aggarwal in a reply to a question about the fires at a private event on Sunday.

“Our commitment is that we will make sure we analyze every issue and if there are fixes to be done we will fix them,” he said, in the event at which the company previewed a new e-scooters operating system. He described the EV fire incidents as being “very rare and isolated”. 

Is fire safety just an EV issue?

Fire safety in the automotive industry was a bigger issue beyond just electric vehicles (EVs), Aggarwal said and added that petrol-fuelled vehicles had greater need of quality control rules and regulations than the EV industry.

Many more gasoline-based scooters have caught fire in comparison to their electric counterparts, and this issue relates to the two-wheeler industry as a whole, Ola Group’s chief financial officer Arun Kumar said.

Government investigation findings

Initial investigation findings of the e-scooter fires by the government have revealed an issue with Ola’s battery cells and battery management system. However, the firm had stated its battery management system was not at fault. There is an ongoing investigation on incidents of fires involving e-scooters from Indian start-ups Okinawa and PureEV.

“There will be, sometimes, some minor defects in, maybe the cell, maybe something else, which will cause some internal short circuit,” Aggarwal stated, and added that the company only had one incident amongst the 50,000 Ola e-scooters on the road.

Ola imports its cells from South Korea’s LG Energy Solution. Kumar stated that all companies must source components responsibly and not from “unqualified Chinese suppliers”, for example.

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