Scary fires rock the electric vehicle industry – The New Indian Express

Express press service

Electric scooters that catch fire have become a big headache for India’s electric vehicle industry. At least four videos of burning electric scooters have gone viral in recent days, raising concerns about the safety of eco-friendly two-wheelers. In one case, two people were killed.

According to experts and industry executives, these incidents could lower the growth rate and supply of electric vehicles in the short term. Electric two-wheeler sales in India are expected to be 330-350,000 units in FY22. While the industry is sure to reach one million units in FY23, it is certain that in the first six months of FY23, sales and production will be lower than in the second half, as most OEMs have decided to take corrective measures.

“It seems that the start of the summer season has revealed the haste with which many players in the new era have started selling battery-powered electric vehicles. It now gives a bad name to players who have done or are doing a thorough research before launching their EV,” a senior executive at a major two-wheeler company told TNIE.

He added that importing components/batteries and assembling them here without proper testing of national conditions will retard the EV revolution in India. “Once fear has taken hold of consumers’ minds, there is no environmental or economic benefit that will attract them to showrooms,” he said.

Rohan Kanwar Gupta, Vice President and Sector Head – Corporate Ratings, ICRA, said the recent spate of fires is likely to play on the minds of consumers as they rate different powertrain vehicles. As this is a priority for EV OEMs, they are likely to strengthen processes and implement corrective actions where necessary and simultaneously strive to clarify doubts in the minds of consumers, he added.

Potential consumers already have doubts. Sushil Kapoor, a Delhi-based businessman, who was about to book an Ola S1 Pro, has now decided to postpone his purchase as he wants to see if these incidents happen and if the electric vehicle maker guarantees safety measures. additional security. “The trigger point for me was the video of the Ola EV going up in flames in Pune. Until everything improves, I will continue to use my Honda Activa,” he said. form of social media Twitter is full of similar messages.

According to industry experts, there is no single cause of fires in electric vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries, which power everything from electric vehicles to smartphones, can catch fire if they are improperly made or damaged. It can also catch fire if the software that operates the battery is not designed correctly.

It is assumed that most recent incidents have occurred due to thermal runaway phenomena, where a chain reaction occurs inside a lithium-ion battery when the battery’s internal temperature and pressure due to from overheating increase at a much faster rate than can be dissipated.

Mustafa Wajid, IET Future of Transport and Mobility panel member and Meher Group CEO, said: “First of all, adequate electrical protection must be provided at the connection point when charging adequate EV cars, the absence the same with serious consequences. Chargers must also be compatible with power supply and EV batteries. Second, internal battery issues can also be a cause. Rigorous practices must be followed by the electric vehicle manufacturer in design, engineering and manufacturing. Additionally, real-time diagnostics and cloud-based analytics must be in place to detect anomalies before an accident occurs.

Speaking about the future way forward, Sohinder Gill, chief executive of the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, said vehicles and batteries that are on the road should be checked by OEMs for signs of deformation. . He added that the new generation must take enough time to test their vehicles in Indian conditions.

“The battery is supposed to last 6-7 years. Although players can’t test the battery/vehicle for that many years, there are simulation techniques that reduce the time to 2-3 years, which should be the bare minimum… If they continue to launch a half-baked product, these incidents will happen in the future,” Gill said.

He also talked about consumer awareness. “Consumers should avoid charging immediately after a long journey, especially in summers, because the battery temperature goes from 60 degrees Celsius to 100 degrees Celsius in no time. This may endanger the safety of the vehicle” , Gill said.Following the wave of incidents, the government has launched an investigation.

Role of lithium-ion batteries in fires
Electric vehicles are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which are considered safer, more efficient and lighter than their counterparts. However, these pose a fire hazard if improperly made.

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