The curious case of Electric Two wheelers – Test

Electric scooters are on Fire, quite  literally

just like in the movie IRON MAN 3, where some random humans were turning into spontaneous human bombs due to an experiment gone, something similar is occurring here in India, where electric two-wheelers, especially the Scooters are bursting into a huge ball of fire at random.

So, the reason is fairly unknown except for some EV manufacturers and experts claiming it to be related to the batteries in the electric scooters.

Now, I am no expert but I am fairly certain if an electric vehicle catches fire it always has something to do with the batteries.

Neither government nor the manufacturer of such failed scooters can pinpoint the exact source of the problem. And recalling mere 1000s of those scooters without actually having the solution to the problem is a lost cause.

One thing is for certain, the Indian climate has played a bigger role in the incidents but could it be all down to the rising temperature or more?

My family has to been using an electric scooter for more than a year and we haven’t encountered such issues so far. This begs the questions are manufacturers finding fast and low cost but with questionable quality solutions to meet the rising demand for EVs’ in the last few months courtesy of rising fuel prices?

This could very well be the case, I mean if the temperature was an issue, then why apart from some manufacturers other electric scooters and bikes from other brands have not been engulfed in the fire. And more so, why haven’t we heard of multiple incidents of electric cars going up in flames.

Since the start of April every other day we are bombarded by news of another electric two-wheeler catching fire. All the electric manufacturers are it a 2 wheeler or a 4, have to adhere to UL2272 standards, but there is no confirmation yet that the vehicles that have caught fire, followed UL2272 standards for their Batteries and other equipment.

According to Sohinder Gill, CEO of Hero Electric and Director General of the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, one reason for such fires could be that some newer players have rushed their vehicles to the market without spending proper time on R&D. Established automotive players, he says, take time in bringing EVs to the market and don’t do “R&D on the road but in their backyard”. In a chat with Business Today TV, Gill says: “There is certainly a need, especially on the battery side, of simulating the end-of-life conditions because deterioration can happen any time between 0-7 years… Simulation techniques, testing techniques are available and they have to be deployed properly on a large base.”

What does this mean for the prospective EV buyers?

It does seem like only select thousand are equipped with such faulty unspecified batteries, which seems pretty clear by companies like ola, Okinawa and pearl EV are recalling only a handful of these scooters which they suspect are or could be  the faulty ones.

My family has owned Okinawa praise pro for more than a year now and so far we haven’t encountered any such issues reported by the new owners.

And, at least in my mind this clearly shows that due to recent surge in demand for these vehicles has forced the manufacturers to cut corners to keep up with the demand.

In an interview with Bussiness Today Sohinder Gill, CEO of Hero Electric and Director General of the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles said, one reason for such fires could be that some newer players have rushed their vehicles to the market without spending proper time on R&D. Established automotive players, he says, take time in bringing EVs to the market and don’t do “R&D on the road but in their backyard”. 

But it’s not just the issue with these EV’S going supernova, is it?

Ola s1 scooters are reported and caught on cam to have several reliability concerns.

Poor built quality, faulty motor, computer with a mind of its own etc.

Such incidents have surely created a cause of concern and a reason to not go ahead with EVs for time being.

And the statistics do prove this theory, as many companies have reported between a 10% to 55% drop in sales after these incidents.

Should consumers stop purchasing EV’S for time being?

In my opinion, No, absolutely no. We haven’t heard such issues occurring with brands like Ather and Revolt.

And it’s been over 3 years since TATA, MG and Hyundai launched their Electric cars and none of those has been engulfed in flames.

Sure, these recent incidents have created a stigma for the EVs among people but we have to understand that the reason behind this was not the technology or idea of electric vehicles, but the cause of these issues is the lack of monitoring and standardisation from the government, which has also been taken care of as of yesterday government has promised to standardise test for ev platforms for the country and find the guilty manufacturers as well.

As for ola and its reliability issues, I think it’s just down to their CEO THE Wannabe Elon Musk of India’s impatience to launch the product before it was heavily tested under every possible situation and climatic condition.

The EV revolution is coming whether we like it or not maybe they won’t take over the transport industry as suggested by many experts they are here to stay and became a major part of our transportation needs.

And with the rising fuel prices with no sign of slowing down any time soon, purchasing an EV makes sense now more than ever.

Yes, our country’s charging infrastructure is still lacking, which does hinder EV’ ability for long distance travelling and feasibility.

But we are catching on with BPCL setting charging stations at a very competent pace in the country.

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