The recent incidents of electric scooters catching fire have caught the attention of many. While many blamed it on the poor build quality of the electric scooters, Ather, which is one of the first brands to launch electric scooters in India came out and blamed the substandard battery quality used by the other manufacturers. Recently an Ather 450X scooter caught fire and the manufacturer has released an official statement.
A video showing the Ather 450X on fire became viral on the Internet. The company issued a statement saying that they have checked the issue and concluded that one of the connectors to the motor controller was incorrectly torqued. It resulted in sparking around the controller terminals. When this happened the onboard safety systems kicked in and limited the power flow. However, by then the wiring harness had caught fire. The fire erupted quite quickly and engulfed the scooter.
Ather says that despite the fire, the Battery Management System or the BMS remains unaffected and the company stresses the fact that this was not a thermal runaway instance that we saw with the scooters of many other brands.
The Bengaluru-based start-up has further added that it was a rare human error and the brand has already incorporated and upgraded and updated the manufacturing process as equipment to rectify the same. There is also a two-step verification process to prevent such issues in the future.
While the statement from Ather raises a few questions. It is good to see an electric vehicle manufacturer taking proactive steps to make the vehicles safer in the future.
Our official statement on the recent incident. pic.twitter.com/6Rsdx9ukoR
— Ather Energy (@atherenergy) February 8, 2023
A lot of EV fires last year
The last few months have not been good for the new electric vehicle startups, as their scooters are facing incidents of fire blasts due to reasons which are yet to be known. Since October 2020, three Okinawa electric scooters have caught fire, and in the past month, scooters from Ola Electric, Pure EV and Jitendra EV have caught fire. In one of the incidents, even a casualty was reported. Among all the electric scooter makers, Ola Electric is yet to make an official statement on the issue of one of its S1 Pro scooters catching fire in Pune.
It is not the first time that the Government has not noticed this serious issue of electric vehicles catching fire. A few days ago, the CEO of NITI Aayog, Amitabh Kant, requested all the electric vehicle makers to buckle up their quality standards and if any manufacturing defect is found, voluntary recalls were suggested for them.
As a result of this request made by NITI Aayog, Okinawa recently recalled 3,215 units of its electric scooters to find out any loose connections or potential damage to their batteries. In addition to this, Pure EV has also issued a voluntary recall of 2,000 units of its electric scooters such as ETrance+ and EPluto 7G. Ola Electric has yet to take any such action for its S1 Pro but is said to be working on the root cause for the same.