E-Scooters Fire Incidents - Govt's Prelim Report Cites Faulty Battery Cells As Likely Reason

Faulty battery cells and modules have been identified as the leading cause of electric scooters catching fire across the country, in recent weeks. These findings is listed in the preliminary report of the inquiry committee formed by the government to find the reasons on why -e-scooters are catching fire across the India, reported several media outlets citing government sources.

Citing govt. sources, the media reports mention that the battery cell/design has been cited as the main reason for the fire in the report.

The initial findings of the investigation have prompted the government to consider testing battery cells of e-scooters before they are allowed to launch, said the Reuters report citing a source. Notably, the 
testing of the battery packs are done in India but not of the cells which are mainly imported from South Korea or China.

Currently, India do not have adequate infrastructure for cell testing.

Normally, around 12 cells go into a conventional battery module for any Electric Vehicle (EVs) and these EV batteries are composed of cells, modules and a pack. To safely and efficiently manage the countless battery cells mounted in one EV, the cells are installed in forms of modules and packs. Simply put, cells, modules are units of one piece of battery. A cluster of cells make up a module and a cluster of modules make up a pack.


Batttery cells, modules, and a pack
Image - Researchgate.com

The inquiry committee has found defects at the cell and module levels in all the fire incidents.

Setup in March, the enquiry committee looked into fire incidents involving three companies, including Ola Electric, which is backed by Japan's SoftBank Group , and was the country's top-selling e-scooter maker in April. Besides Ola, EV fires and battery blasts were seen in e-scooters belonging to Okinawa Autotech, Boom Motor, Pure EV and Jitendra EV.

The government has taken samples of cells from the three companies to make further checks," the person said, adding that the final investigation report is expected in about two weeks.

While Gurgaon-based Okinawa Autotech recalled 3,215 units of its Praise Pro Scooters voluntarily to fix any issues in the electric scooter, Ola has recalled 1441 e-scooters so that it can examine scooters, 

According to media reports, Ola Electric has said that its engineers are thoroughly examining these scooters, checking the battery system, thermal system to safety system. 

Ola sources its battery cells from South Korea's LG Energy Solution (LGES).


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