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FAQ: How to Minimise Risk of EV Fires? Experts on What To Keep In Mind

But is there anything you can do as an EV user? Here's all you need to know based on answers from experts.

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FAQ: How to Minimise Risk of EV Fires? Experts on What To Keep In Mind
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How to ensure that your Electric Vehicle, especially two-wheelers, does not catch fire?

Over the past few weeks, electric scooters catching fire have made news headlines across the country, multiple times – bringing to light the safety concerns about these vehicles.

Amid several incidents, Okinawa Autotech has recalled over 3,000 units, while PureEV has recalled around 2,000 units. On 24 April, Ola Electric announced that it will voluntarily recall 1,441 units.

But is there anything you can do as an EV user? Here's all you need to know based on answers from Samrath Kochar, Founder & CEO of Trontek and Rajat Verma, Co-founder & CEO of Lohum Cleantech – two companies that work in the battery manufacturing space.

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What can you do to minimise the risk of EV two-wheelers catching fire?

"Any battery or any vehicle, like the human body, will give some signals. So your battery will not behave normally before a blast. Whenever your battery shows signs that are not normal, people must take it to the dealer. They should not continue riding it," Samrath Kochar told The Quint.

Rajat Verma too echoes this. But he also listed other points that people must keep in mind:

  • Do not start charging your vehicle immediately after you are back from a ride. Give it the rest needed.

  • Anytime you notice that the scooter is not performing as per requirements – like not running the normal range, or is discharging fast – consumers should consider this as a 'high alert.'

What should I keep in mind while charging the battery?

The following are the tips given by both the experts:

  • One has to be careful about following the instructions given by the company.

  • Use only the designated battery and charging cable. Replacing this with a cheaper cable will damage the vehicle.

  • Do NOT charge the battery inside your house, at a regular plug point.

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How often should you check the battery?

According to Verma, the older generation EVs must be checked for battery condition once every quarter. However, he also added that there is no fixed time and one must get it checked as soon as the vehicle shows signs like – not giving enough mileage, or engine showing signs of overheating.

This onus must be on the manufacturer and not the customer, he further said.

Can I wash my vehicle with water?

"People have a tendency to use jet sprays on vehicles or pour buckets of water in the name of cleaning. Do not do this with an electric vehicles as it will damage the parts," Kochar told The Quint.

Why do such incidents of fire occur in EVs?

Four types of lapses can be responsible for EV batteries catching fire, according to Verma:

1. Poor quality cells

2. Poor quality battery pack design

3. Poor quality battery pack production setups

4. Poor integration between battery pack and vehicle

If the cell is not very well designed, its potential to catch fire increases manyfold. One of the problems plaguing Indian industry, he said, is that a lot of poor quality cells have been imported from China.

Is extreme heat a cause for such fires?

While both Verma and Kochar refused to speculate on the exact reasons behind the incidents, they said that the fires could be due to batteries being unable to process the excess heat – which is a sign of poor quality or bad design.

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What can EV manufacturers do to gain trust of consumers?

Import norms should be made stricter to ensure that only high quality parts are brought into the country. The cost will go higher, but that is a part of the process.

Battery assemblers in the country should follow high standards – like those set for the automotive industry. Lot of relevant audits and certification is needed.

Integration of battery back with the scooter – this process needs to follow better standards.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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