E-scooter fires rare but can happen in future: Ola Electric CEO Bhavish Aggarwal

Ola Electric CEO Bhavish Aggarwal has said that fire safety in the automotive industry is a broader issue beyond electric vehicles (EVs) and that petr
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Ola Electric is investigating the incident of its electric scooter catching fire in Pune and will take appropriate action. (HT_PRINT)
Ola Electric is investigating the incident of its electric scooter catching fire in Pune and will take appropriate action.

There have been several reports of electric scooters catching fire lately, triggering an uproar on social media and an investigation by the government. Addressing the safety concerns of electric scooters including one from Ola Electric having caught fire in Pune in March, the company's CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said that there may be more EV fires in the future but such incidents are very rare, Reuters reported.

Speaking at a private event, the entrepreneur replied to a question on EV fires, saying, “Will there be occurrences in the future, there might be. But our commitment is that we will make sure we analyse every issue and if there are fixes to be done we will fix them," the agency reported. Aggarwal added that the EV fires are "very rare and isolated".

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At the event, Ola Electric previewed a new operating system for its e-scooters. Aggarwal added that fire safety in the automotive industry is a broader issue beyond electric vehicles (EVs) and that petrol-fuelled vehicles have greater need of quality control regulations than the EV industry. Comparing the two, he said, more gasoline-based scooters have caught fire when compared with electric models, and this issue pertains to the two-wheeler industry as a whole.

On the other hand, initial findings of the government investigation of the e-scooter fires revealed that there is an issue with Ola Electric's battery cells and battery management system, though the firm said its battery management system was not at fault.

Also Read : Imported EV cells not suitable for Indian conditions, says Niti Aayog member

The EV maker imports its cells from South Korea's LG Energy Solution. "There will be, sometimes, some minor defects in, maybe the cell, maybe something else, which will cause some internal short circuit," Aggarwal said at the event, adding that Ola had just one incident among its 50,000 e-scooters on the road.

The company has, however, recalled more than 1,400 e-scooters and appointed external experts to investigate the cause as a preventive measure. Other EV fires incidents involve e-scooters from Okinawa Autotech and PureEV, and these cases are also being investigated.

First Published Date: 11 May 2022, 11:13 AM IST
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