Electric scooter fires trigger safety concerns, a setback for EV push: Report
In the last few days, multiple electric scooter fire incidents have been reported across India, including one made by Ola Electric. This is sparking safety concerns among some consumers, which is an early setback for a nascent sector the Indian government is bullish about. Making the case worse was the death of two people due to an electric scooter fire incident.
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The fire incidents took place at a time when the Indian government aims for electric scooters and motorcycles to make up 80 per cent of total two-wheeler sales in the country by 2030, from the current two per cent. The fire incidents could dent the growth prospect of EVs in India, claims Reuters.
Sales of the electric scooters driven by the low-speed models have more than doubled this year. However, the fire incidents are causing some prospective buyers to think twice before making their purchase decision.
Randheer Singh, director for electric mobility at government think-tank Niti Aayog said that the EV industry is a sunrise sector and anything negative is bound to have a detrimental impact. "How the situation is tackled will determine how consumer faith and confidence is maintained," he said.
Following the fire incidents, the government has reportedly launched an investigation into the matter to take appropriate action. But, the perception of the consumers would be dented because of the incidents. However, the negative sentiment may fade out with time.
Jasmeet Khurana, leader of the World Economic Forum's initiative on electric mobility in India and emerging markets, said buyers may forgive one-off incidents given the popularity of the cheap-to-run bikes. However, he also pointed out that the manufacturers must do more to address the concerns. "The market will continue to grow rapidly but it can grow faster without such incidents," he said.