In yet another incident related to an electric scooter, one person was killed and two others were injured in a house in Nizamabad, Hyderabad after the battery of an e-scooter exploded while charging. The unfortunate incident has happened after four similar incidents of e-scooters catching fire were reported in the past two-three weeks.
Police have lodged an FIR against the e-scooter company Pure EV. The incident happened when the victim, Ramaswamy, put the detachable battery of the e-scooter on charge in his room where he slept. A few hours later around 12.30 AM on Tuesday, the battery burst into flames. The victim was badly injured, along with his two family members, his son and daughter-in-law, who were trying to douse the fire, a new daily reported.
Pure EV has issued a statement on the incident, offering condolences to the family of the deceased. It said the probe is on to find the exact cause and that it will fully cooperate with investigators. The company said it does not have any record of the sale of this vehicle to the victim in its database but the probe is on to find if the vehicle was purchased via a second-hand dealership, the company was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, this is not an isolated incident. Social media has been abuzz with scores of videos that have surfaced in the past two weeks, showing electric scooters of different companies on fire, including some of the big ones like Ola and Okinawa.
Before this, an Okinawa e-scooter had also claimed the lives of two people in Vellore, Tamil Nadu. The incident happened around 1 AM on March 25. The deceased, 49-year-old Durai Verma and his daughter Mohana Preethi, had died of asphyxiation reportedly after they left their brand-new Okinawa scooter charging overnight. The scooter caught fire, while also subsuming the house in flames. The firefighters could not save the man and his daughter, and they were dead with minor injuries.
The company later issued a statement, saying the deceased had purportedly put his scooter on charge in an old socket, thereby causing a short circuit. In another incident, an entire Okinawak dealership in Tamil Nadu caught fire after an e-scooter parked on its premises caught fire. The footage widely shared on social media showed the entire dealership gutted in the fire.
On March 29, an Ola S1 Pro had caught fire in Pune, the video which went viral on social media. Ola issued a statement, saying "safety is its top priority". "We're investigating this and will fix it," said Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal, adding that his company would take this incident "seriously" and take appropriate action. Ola's S1 and S1 Pro e-scooters were launched amid much fanfare in August 2021.
On April 11, 40 Jitendra EV e-scooters caught fire all of a sudden, as they were loaded on a transport container. The government launched a probe to find the exact cause behind the incident. However, some claim the sweltering heatwave causing the batteries to overheat and catch fire is a misnomer.
NITI Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant on April 13 asked the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the country to voluntarily recall the electric vehicles involved in the recent fire accidents. He also vouched for stringent quality checks for batteries, saying they are “complex in terms of manufacturing and maintenance”. Kant also said that there’s no need to panic as the EV technology is evolving in India and there’s a learning curve.
Experts say the reason behind these e-scooter catching fire could be substandard battery management systems. The use of low-end lithium cells could be another reason the batteries are catching fire so abruptly.