Government sends show cause notice to Ola, Okinawa, PureEV and others over EV fires in India

Safety standards will henceforth be regulated according to BIS guidelines.

Highlights
  • The Indian Government has sent out show cause notices to EV manufacturers.
  • Ola, Okinawa, PureEV and others will have to respond by the end of July and furnish possible reasons for the failure of safety.
  • BIS has already issued guidelines for lithium-ion battery packs.

Indian electric scooter manufacturers Ola Electric, Okinawa Autotech, Pure EV and others have been sent a show cause notice by the government. The show-cause notice comes as an aftermath of the investigation the government was conducting over the multiple EV fire incidents that took place around the country during the peak of summer. The Government has now issued a directive to report the causes of the fires. 

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Electric scooters have had a turbulent past in the country, given their track record of unsafe fiery incidents. At the peak of the summer, multiple e-scooters caught fire across the country, most of which were suspected to stem from poor thermal management of the battery system or inferior quality battery packs. 

Government sends out show-cause notice to e-scooter makers

The Government has given one month’s time to the EV makers to respond to the show cause notice. The EV makers are expected to furnish an explanation of the causes of the fires and also suggest reasoning to exempt them from penal actions. The Government has also indicated that failure to respond to the notices by the end of July would attract heavy penalties. 

The investigation was conducted in association with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as per directives from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The reports that followed stated that the manufacturers often resorted to the use of inferior quality components in the batteries to keep prices in check. Battery being one of the most expensive parts of an EV, was an obvious place to start cutting costs to keep the price of the vehicle down.

However, these incidents have also led to the formalisation of new norms that would keep the performance of lithium-ion battery packs up to the required mark. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has recently pitched new standards that the manufacturers need to adhere to. Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari also made it clear in a recent statement that failure to meet the required norms would call for heavy penalties for the defaulter companies. 

Over ten incidents of fire have been reported so far, and multiple lives have also been lost as a consequence in India, involving Okinawa and other manufacturers..