Amid the fire incidents involving electric two-wheelers in the country, the government says it has issued show-cause notices to the CEOs and MDs of the two-wheeler electric companies, asking why legal actions should not be taken against them.
The electric two-wheeler companies have come under scurtiny after a series of fire incidents, in which some people also lost lives. "MoRTH has issued a show cause notice to the CEOs and MDs of the concerned two-wheeler electric scooter manufacturers, to explain the reasons as to why the relevant sections of the Motor Vehicles Act should not be invoked against them, says minister of heavy industries Krishan Pal Gurjar, while answering questions in the Lok Sabha today.
He also says that as per the Centre's Vahan portal, there has been no downtrend in the sale of EVs amid these fire incidents in the country. "Testing of components for EVs is done as per relevant standards, as specified in Rule 126 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rule, 1989 to ensure compliance," he adds.
The ministry says after receiving information from the ministry of road transport and highway, an expert committee was constituted with independent experts from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bengaluru, and Naval Science & Technological Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam.
So far, the auto companies have recalled over 6,500 electric vehicles, shows the government data. "Okinawa has recalled 3,215 units of vehicles on 16th April, 2022. Pure EV has recalled 2,000 units of vehicles on 21st April, 2022. Ola Electric has recalled 1441 units of vehicles on 23rd April, 2022," says the ministry.
Taking a strong note of such incidents, transport minister Nitin Gadkari in June 2022 had said it's most unfortunate that some people lost their lives and several have been injured in these incidents. “We will issue necessary orders to the defaulting companies. We will soon issue quality-centric guidelines for electric vehicles,” he says.
The industry leader Ola Electric launched an inquiry into the fire incidents involving its EVs in June. After conducting a detailed diagnostic and health check of its EVs, it recalled 1,441 units. Similar actions were taken by other erring EV companies as well.
To expand infrastructure related to electric vehicles in India, the Centre under phase 1 of its FAME India Scheme has sanctioned 520 charging stations for Rs 43 crore. Of this, 479 EV charging stations have already been operational since July 1, 2022, says Gurjar.
Under FAME India Scheme Phase-II, the government has sanctioned 2,877 EV charging stations for about Rs 500 crore across 68 cities in 25 states/UTs. Of these, 50 have been installed and commissioned as of July 14, 2022, so far. Additionally, the ministry has also sanctioned 1,576 charging stations across 9 expressways and 16 highways under Phase II of FAME India.
To make e-vehicles more affordable, the Centre had approved a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing advanced chemistry cells in the country. The EVs are covered under the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for automobile and auto components, which was approved on September 15, 2021, with a budget of Rs 25,938 crore for five years. Besides, the government has also cut GST on electric vehicles from 12% to 5%, while GST on chargers or other stations has been reduced from 18% to 5%.