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Explained: Why has Ola Electric recalled over 1,400 scooters? – The Indian Express

Ola Electric has recalled over 1,400 of its electric scooters in the wake of dozens of incidents of two-wheelers catching fire, claiming at least four lives to date.

The firm’s response comes just days after Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari cautioned EV makers to take “advance action” in recalling all defective batches of their vehicles.

Why has Ola Electric initiated the recall?

Ola Electric has said that it is recalling 1,441 vehicles from a specific batch of its scooters, one of which had burst in flames while parked on the roadside of a busy commercial area in Pune last month.

However, the firm, while downplaying the incident, said: “Our internal investigation into the March 26th vehicle fire incident in Pune is ongoing and the preliminary assessment reveals that the thermal incident was likely an isolated one”. It added, “As a pre-emptive measure, we will be conducting a detailed diagnostics and health check of the scooters in that specific batch and therefore are issuing a voluntary recall of 1,441 vehicles.”

Ola Electric further informed that the scooters will be inspected by its service engineers and will go through a thorough diagnostic check across all battery, thermal and safety systems. The firm claimed that its battery pack already complies with and is tested for AIS 156, the latest proposed standard in India, in addition to being compliant with the European standard ECE 136.

How many instances of EV’s catching fire have been reported?

In the last few weeks, over a dozen electric scooters have caught fire, including those manufactured by Ola Electric, Okinawa, Pure EV and Jitendra EV. Besides the incident with the Ola scooter last month, an Okinawa one also burst into flames, claiming the lives of a man and his 13-year-old daughter.

Earlier this month, more than 20 electric scooters made by Jitendra EV caught fire while they were being transported from the company’s factory in Nashik, in what was potentially the biggest such incident yet. On Wednesday, an electric scooter made by Pure EV caught fire in Telangana’s Nizamabad after its battery exploded, claiming the life of an 80-year-old man.

Have other EV makers issued a recall?

The companies have said that they are currently investigating the reasons behind the possible causes of the fire. Pure EV has initiated a recall of 2,000 of its electric scooters, while Okinawa has announced recalling more than 3,000 over potential safety issues.

What has been the government’s response?

Earlier this week, Gadkari said that if EV makers are found “negligent in their process”, the government will impose a heavy penalty and a recall of all of their defective EVs will be ordered. The government is also working on quality-centric guidelines for EVs which would be issued soon, he added.

Prior to that, the Road Transport Ministry had ordered a probe into the incidents and roped in the Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety to investigate it and suggest remedial measures.