In yet another instance of EV fire, an electric scooter from PureEV caught fire in Warangal in Telangana on Tuesday. With this, over two dozen electric scooters have gone up in smoke since the onset of summer this year in the country. This is also the fourth scooter from Pure EV to catch fire in the last seven months.
In the 36 second clip that has surfaced in social media, a red colour ePluto scooter can be seen parked by the side of the road totally engulfed in fire. Signs of a thermal runaway in the battery is evident from the occasional pop sound as fresh lithium ion cells inside the battery pack combust themselves.
In September last year, two Pure EV scooters similarly caught fire in Hyderabad. Similarly, another scooter went up in smoke near Chennai in March this year. ETAuto has reached out to PureEV for a reaction and the story will be updated soon with their response.
This is the sixth incident of fire in electric scooters this year. On March 26, an Ola Electric S1 Pro scooter was caught on fire in Pune. The same day, tragic reports of the death of a man and his 13-year-old daughter came from Vellore in Tamil Nadu due to a fire in the battery of his Okinawa scooter that was being charged. That was the second instance of a casualty due to fire in an EV. In December 2021, a 60-year-old man lost life after his room was engulfed in a blaze due to a fire that emanated from a cargo scooter that was being charged during the night. The scooter was made by Manesar-based HCD India.
Following these, another scooter in Tamil nadu caught fire on March 28, immediately followed by the Pure EV incident in Chennai. The biggest fire incident occurred when 20 electric scooters from Jitendra EV caught fire while in transit in a container truck on April 9 near Nashik.
With electric scooters regularly catching fire, it has triggered a furious debate in the country on the safety of electric scooters in India especially in light of the extreme heat in the summer.
Taking note of these incidents, the Road Transport Ministry has asked the Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES) to investigate the cause of the fires and submit a report by the end of this month. CFEES is the defence laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Last week, Niti Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant who has been championing the cause of electric vehicles over the last five years, expressed concern over the incidents and opined that manufacturers should proactively recall the entire batch of scooters that are catching fire. He added how companies like GM, Hyundai, Volvo and Ford have done the same in other parts of the world.
Following that, Okinawa Autotech, which has seen two of its scooters catch fire in the last six months, announced a recall of 3,215 units of its Praise Pro scooters on April 15, to inspect the connector and batteries and repair them if needed.
Not only scooters, but electric vehicle dealerships have also gone up in smoke in recent times. In December last year, an EV dealership of Hero Electric in Vizag suffered a fire incident. In January, an Ampere Electric showroom was similarly gutted in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. In March this year, another dealership of e-Ashwa automotive in Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh caught fire followed by fire at an Okinawa dealership in Tamil Nadu on April 13.
These instances of fire have cast a shadow over the EV industry in the country that has enjoyed a sustained period of tail wind due to high fuel prices and subsidies from state and central governments in the last 2 years. In fiscal 2021-22, sale of electric two wheelers jumped over five fold at 231,338 units against just 41,046 units in fiscal 2021, garnering a share of 1.9 percent over just 0.3 percent in the process.