Stop electric scooter launches till cause of fires is investigated: govt tells companies

Transport Ministry pulls the plug on new EV launches after two deaths in EV fire last week.

Highlights
  • Government issues verbal directive to halt launches of new EVs till investigations into EV fires are not completed
  • Manufacturers have been asked to voluntarily recall an entire batch even if one out of the batch has caught fire
  • Voluntary recalls are being promoted at this stage for companies to verify the health of batteries

The government has issued a verbal directive for EV manufacturers to halt the launches of new vehicles until investigations on the current EV fires are complete, as per a report by ET. This new order was communicated by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on Monday at a meeting with manufacturers over incidents of EV fires being recorded across the country. While over two dozen scooters have burned down, many people have unfortunately lost their lives owing to such accidents. 

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Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had earlier issued a string of directives on Twitter which warned manufacturers of heavy penalties and full recall if found guilty of negligence. The ministry had also assured the common public of the Indian Governments concerns over public safety in this respect. 

Transport Ministry issues order to halt new EV launches

In the light of the recent events, the Transport Ministry on Monday issued a verbal order and told manufacturers to halt launches of new EVs until the investigation into battery fires is completed. The Ministry is looking forward to conclusively finding out the causes of the fires and also placing firm steps to prevent reoccurrence. 

Earlier, all electric two-wheeler manufacturers were directed to voluntarily recall vehicles from batches that could have possible defects and could pose a threat to the safety of consumers. An official privy to this discussion between the Ministry and manufacturers, also commented that most companies have already started the recall procedure.

A week after Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s tweet, Ola Electric, Okinawa Autotech and PureEV started recalling their vehicles and it is estimated that over 7,000 units have been taken back. Companies are likely to conduct thorough health diagnoses of the battery conditions in the e-scooters. EV manufacturers have been instructed to call back an entire batch even if one out of the batch has caught fire. 

The official also mentioned that “Manufacturers who did not have incidents of electric two-wheelers catching fire have also been cautioned to take corrective actions on their sold vehicles.” The Motor Vehicle Act allows the government to impose heavy penalties and force manufacturers to recall defective products. Additionally, the manufacturers have also been instructed to educate consumers about charging safety and how to prevent fire incidents.