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EV fire: Government says safety paramount, experts on the job

As EV two-wheeler sales drop amid battery fire fears, Okinawa Autotech, PureEV and Ola Electric recalled 6,656 vehicles after the battery explosion incidents increased in the country, the government has informed, saying it is extra vigilant about the safety standards of EVs and experts are on the job.

Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Heavy Industries, Krishan Pal Gurjar, said that the government has taken a serious note of the battery explosion incidents in EV two-wheelers, and an expert panel is looking into it.

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The minister informed that out of 6,656 EVs recalled, Okinawa Autotech recalled 3,215 units, PureEV recalled 2,000 EVs and Ola Electric recalled 1,441 units.

“The expert committee has been given the responsibility to tackle the safety-related recent issues of electric vehicles. Testing of components for EVs is done as per relevant standards, as specified in Rule 126 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rule, 1989 to ensure compliance,” Gurjar informed.

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The expert committee was “constituted with independent experts from DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru and Naval Science & Technological Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam to tackle the safety related recent issues of electric vehicles,” the minister said in his reply.

He said that the government is vigilant about the safety standards of electric vehicles.

The data came as Ather Energy sold a mere 1,279 EV two-wheelers for the full month of July from selling 3,829 vehicles in June — a massive drop in numbers — followed by Ola Electric which sold 3,852 vehicles from 5,891 vehicles in June.

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The drop in EV two-wheeler sales, according to industry experts, is due to the fear among consumers regarding the safety of EV two-wheelers in light of several battery fire and explosion incidents in the recent past.

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari last month told Parliament that all those EV two-wheelers companies have been served show-cause notices whose vehicles caught fire owing to battery issues.

The Ministry constituted a committee of experts to suggest safety standards for batteries, battery components, and related systems.

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), which comes under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, said this week that it issued notices to four to five EV two-wheeler makers in the light of several complaints raised by the consumers over battery explosions and fire incidents.

The CCPA received several complaints from the EV two-wheeler buyers.

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