March 25, 2022, was a dark day in the history of electric vehicles in India. A fire broke out in an Okinawa electric two-wheeler in Vellore. Unfortunately, the incident claimed the lives of a daughter-father duo. The incident was the beginning of a series of accidents in electric scooters across the country.
The very next day, an Ola electric two-wheeler S1 Pro caught fire in Pune. Two days later, on March 28, another Okinawa electric two-wheeler went up in flames in Trichy city of Tamil Nadu state. The next day another EV of Pure EV caught fire.
Recently, a truck carrying Jitendra EVs caught fire in Nashik. More than 35 electric scooters were gutted in the fire.
And these recent fire accidents caught the attention of the entire EV community. People are starting to doubt the reliability and safety of electric vehicles. Buyers are reconsidering whether to buy an electric scooter or stick to a petrol motorbike.
so, What is the reason behind these fire incidents?
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What are the reasons for these recent EV Fire Accidents?
The government of India has set up a committee to investigate the reasons for the accidents in the recent electric two-wheelers. There are no definitive reasons for the accidents as far behind the accidents. However, experts state reasons like poor quality batteries, faulty design, and carelessness as the main culprits of the fire accidents.
let’s understand these reasons in brief
Manufacturers are focusing on increasing the efficiency of batteries as much as possible to achieve long-distance travel. The number of tests performed is not sufficient to prove the safety of such changes. India faces extreme weather ranging from scorching hot summers to freezing cold winters with heavy rainy days.
This is an additional challenge for the battery manufacturers to create a battery capable of performing well in all types of weather conditions throughout the year.
- Poor Built Quality
The road infrastructure in Indian cities is not too good. The Evs’ parts need to be compact to not get damaged during operations. The manufacturers should also not compromise on build quality to achieve better looks. The lack of standardization forces the manufacturers to set the standards according to their needs.
They follow no specific guidelines; hence they need to do safety tests on all their new models. This increases their budget due to which the lab tests are neglected.
- Lack of Stringent Regulations
The government has no specific guidelines for the standardization of types of equipment for EVs. The government needs to create strict rules for the manufacturing of EVs and their spare parts. This will ensure that the right parts are used in any vehicle if there is a need to replace them. Even a slight loose alignment may lead to accidents.
Lack of Awareness
This cause constitutes the majority of accidents. Electric vehicles are new to people. They are oblivious to the limitations and precautions while using an electric vehicle.
Charging an EV is a critical process. People are unaware of the measures that need to be ensured during charging. Overcharging damages the battery and continuous abuse may lead to it catching fire.
It is necessary to ensure that the EV does not heat up too much. Companies provide relevant tools to measure the temperature of the vehicle while charging. Continuous overheating issues need to be immediately conveyed to the company and should be repaired accordingly. While transporting of EV by the manufacturers, the batteries should be disconnected to prevent any short circuits.
What are the Solutions?
To avoid the possibility of any accidents, several measures can be taken-
- EV Manufacturers need to use high-quality batteries and materials.
- Customers need to charge their EV with the original charger provided by the company with the vehicle.
- Avoid parking the electric vehicle in direct sunlight.
- Keep an eye on thermals and keep them under specified limits.
- Be careful when swapping the battery and avoid hitting any object.
- Keep the charging time under control and strictly never overcharge.
- Protect the battery from contact with water.
Growth of the Electric Vehicles Industry
With several accidents related to electric vehicles, people are beginning to question whether they are rushing to switch to an electric vehicle. Extensive Research and Developments are happening in all related fields to make EVs as efficient and cost-effective as possible.
EV has picked extreme growth in the past decade. Governments all across the globe are promoting the switch to electric vehicles. The markets are expanding rapidly and new markets are opening. In India, the continuous surge in fuel prices has pushed people toward buying electric-powered vehicles.
The government schemes have reduced the price of EVs and made them affordable to all buyers. Manufacturers are rushing to come up with new models to attract as many customers as possible. This has led to issues related to the quality of the products sold. Due to the hurry to serve more customers, the companies are not doing extensive safety checks before launching the vehicles.
Start-ups have grasped the opportunity of explosion in demand to establish themselves in the market. They have limited exposure to vehicle manufacturing and they go through several trials and errors to come up with feasible designs.
Due to the pressure from increasing demand, they are unable to do appropriate quality and safety checks. This may lead to accidents. These accidents are also a reminder to the companies to avoid negligence and pay special attention to the quality and safety of their vehicles.
Disruption or Opportunity for the EV Industry?
Although there may be some short-term setbacks for the electric vehicles segment where people will hesitate before buying an EV. However, in the long run, the market will return to normal and continue to grow rapidly.
Electric vehicles are the need for the future and will become more common with the advancement in technology. It should be noted that there may be some repercussions for the start-ups in the EV manufacturing field. People are questioning the dependability of the new start-ups in vehicle manufacturing.
This is an opportunity for leading manufacturers like TVS, Bajaj, and Hero to make the most of this opportunity. These giants are delayed in the race for EVs and this may be the time for them to leap. They have their brand image of being reliable and a long history of excellent services.
This is a chance for these firms to create a loyal customer base and increase their market capture. They can use their image as a reliable brand to attract the attention of the buyers towards them by ensuring quality services. People will believe in them more as these companies have served tons of millions of satisfied customers.
However, it is still a matter of debate whether these companies are ready to use this opportunity to their advantage. Companies need to move fast to make the most of it.