According to two government sources, faulty battery cells and modules have been identified as the major cause of electric scooters catching fire in India in recent weeks, according to the findings of an early federal investigation.
Reason Behind the E-scooter Fire
The investigation focused on three businesses, including Ola Electric, which was the country’s top-selling e-scooter maker in April and is funded by Japan’s SoftBank Group (9984.T).
According to one of the people with firsthand knowledge of the research, the battery cells as well as the battery management system were deemed to be a problem in Ola’s situation. After a series of e-scooter fires, including one in which a man and his daughter died when their e-bike “went up in flames,” India initiated an investigation into safety concerns in March.
By 2030, India wants e-scooters and e-bikes to account for 80% of total two-wheeler sales, up from roughly 2% currently. Consumer confidence is jeopardized by safety worries, which might delay the expansion of a sector critical to the country’s carbon reduction aspirations.
“The government has taken samples of cells from the three companies to make further checks,” the source said, adding that the full inquiry report should be available in about two weeks.
Ola, which gets its cells from LG Energy Solution (LGES) (373220.KS) in South Korea, says it’s cooperating with the authorities on the problem and has hired an outside expert agency, in addition to completing its investigation.
Investing the Root Cause of the Fire
In a statement, a company spokesperson said: “As per the preliminary assessment of these experts, there was no fault of the Ola battery management system at all and it was likely an isolated thermal incident.”
LGES in Seoul said: “The Indian government’s report has not yet been released or shared with us. We cannot comment on the report as we have not yet identified the root cause of the Ola scooter incident in March.”
On April 18th, Prashant Kumar, an executive at LGES in India, told that the company and Ola are working together to investigate an unfortunate situation.
Fires involving scooters produced by Indian firms Okinawa and PureEV were also investigated by the government. As per the first source, there was an issue with the cells and battery modules in Okinawa’s case, and the battery casing in PureEV’s case.
PureEV and Okinawa did not reply to emails seeking comment, but they have previously stated that they are looking into the incidents and that some scooters have been recalled.
As per the second source, the investigation’s preliminary findings have spurred the government to consider testing the battery cells of e-scooters before they are authorized to be launched. India tests battery packs but not cells, which are mostly supplied from South Korea or China.