Poor Quality Cells, Lack Of Basic Safety Systems Behind E-Scooter Fires, Finds Govt Probe Panel

Swarajya Staff

Jun 29, 2022, 10:50 AM | Updated 10:50 AM IST

An electric scooter on fire.
An electric scooter on fire.

A government probe panel has reportedly found that electric two-wheelers involved in recent fire incidents did not even have 'basic safety systems'.

The Road and Transport Ministry had earlier this year formed an expert committee to probe the causes of the fire incidents reported in electric two-wheelers.

The panel found there was no 'venting mechanism' for overheated cells to release energy and that the 'battery management system' was 'not even basic', an official privy to the findings was quoted in a Economic Times report as saying.

A battery management system (BMS) is an electronic system that manages a rechargeable battery (cell or battery pack), such as by protecting the battery from operating outside its safe operating area, monitoring its state, calculating secondary data, reporting that data, controlling its environment, authenticating it or balancing it.

Further, the panel reportedly pointed out that several of the e-scooters came with only 'minimum functionality and 'shortcuts' were taken instead of prioritising safety of the vehicle.

"Companies have already been told that many of the EV two-wheeler manufacturers have taken shortcuts. Their cells have failed the tests. In several cases, the venting mechanism is not there. They are bursting and catching fire. They are mainly poor-quality cells," the official was quoted as saying in the ET report.

"Secondly, the battery management system is not even basic. A particular battery, when it's getting overheated, must be identified and cut off. This is, in fact, what even a minimum functional BMS will do. These vehicles didn't even have that basic identification system for failed cells," the official added.

The panel has also found that no mechanism was in place in the electric two-wheelers to identify failure of overheating of cells and isolate failed battery cells.

The expert panel's final is likely to be out within a week. However, the government has shared the recommendations of the panel with EV makers for correction action.

The government has also sought to know why it should not proceed against the EV manufacturers legally.

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