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Government asks EV makers to suspend two-wheeler launches

The instruction has come following several instances of battery related fires across the country.

April 28, 2022 / 09:38 PM IST
Screen grab from a widely shared video of a PureEV scooter catching fire in Chennai in late March 2022. More such videos featuring electric scooters by different companies have emerged in the last few weeks. (Representative Image credit: Screengrab from video tweeted by @sumantbanerji)

Screen grab from a widely shared video of a PureEV scooter catching fire in Chennai in late March 2022. More such videos featuring electric scooters by different companies have emerged in the last few weeks. (Representative Image credit: Screengrab from video tweeted by @sumantbanerji)

In light of the recent spate of battery-related fires occurring inside electric two-wheelers across the country, the Union government has asked all e2W (electric two-wheeler) brands to refrain from launching any new products in the market. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways held a meeting in the capital recently, to discuss the rise in battery-related fires that have become something of a public health concern.

While e2W makers are free to sell current models, several have issued recalls to further investigate the cause of these fires. Okinawa issued the biggest recall with 3,215 scooters going back to base, Pure EV, which has been mired in fire-related incidents since last year, also forms a major portion of the number of recalled scooters with Ola Electric having recalled 1,441 scooters.

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It should be noted that Ola did this after a singular incident of battery fire occurred in Pune. But the actions are in-line with the government’s instructions that an entire batch of scooters be recalled, even if a single scooter malfunctioned. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari threatened brands with penalties if they failed to recall the scooters in time.

In accordance with this directive, even brands which have seen no battery-related fires will not be launching any e-scooters this year. How brands react to what has only been a verbal suggestion so far, remains to be seen.

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The move has been made to provide the government more time to set up the right body of authority and take a closer look at the cause behind these incidents, while it does prevent brands from launching faster, bigger and potentially more dangerous versions of these scooters, it also prevents brands from launching improved versions of lackluster products. What happens to EV brands waiting to make their debut in the Indian market, remains to be seen.

ALSO READ: EV two-wheelers fire: Centre to seek explanation from Ola, Okinawa



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Parth Charan is a Mumbai-based writer who’s written extensively on cars for over seven years.
first published: Apr 28, 2022 09:38 pm
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