In light of the recent incidents involving scooters from prominent electric mobility brands bursting into flames, the subject of electric vehicle (EV) safety has come under the spotlight.
As many as 20 electric scooters of Nashik-based Jitendra EV Tech caught fire after being loaded on a transport container.
While no one has been reported injured, the company said it is conducting an investigation to find the ‘root cause’ of the fire.
“An unfortunate incident took place on April 9 near our factory gate.
"The situation was immediately brought under control by our team’s timely intervention.
"Safety being of prime importance, we are investigating the root cause and will soon come out with the findings,” said a spokesperson for the company.
This is the sixth incident of fire in electric scooters since the onset of summer.
Government officials said that they are cognisant of the incident that has happened at Jitendra EV Tech and will call the company’s executives for a report on it.
The road ministry has already called senior executives of Ola Electric Mobility and Okinawa Scooters to give a detailed presentation on the issue and will take a call on it.
An Ola electric scooter and an Okinawa electric bike recently caught fire, leaving several customers concerned.
Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, while speaking in the Lok Sabha on the EV fire cases on March 31, had said that the incidents may have taken place due to higher temperature.
He, however, had said reports from an expert committee were still awaited.
“This is a very serious issue and we have ordered a forensic investigation into each individual event,” said Gadkari, adding that the government will take appropriate action after the exact technical reason behind the accident is known.
A government-appointed team — that includes experts from the Indian Institute of Science and the Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety — has been deputed to visit and investigate the accident sites in Vellore, Pune, and Trichy.
Asked whether the high recurrence of such incidents — particularly those involving models from the same companies — merits stricter action, such as mandatory recall of vehicles, a senior official of the road ministry said unless one knows the reason behind the accidents, it will be pure speculation to proffer a comment.
“Nobody called for such action when a popular car brand from a large automotive (auto) company saw several cases of its model catching fire,” he pointed out.
EV sales in the country witnessed over threefold jump last financial year, with two-wheeler offtake leading the segment, according to the data compiled by auto dealers’ body Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations of India.
Total EV retails reached 429,217 units in 2021-22 — a threefold rise from 2020-21.