Electric scooter fires are catastrophic, and the need of the hour is a huge improvement in battery management systems
No doubt, all new processes have niggles that are sorted sooner or later. However, electric vehicles aren’t altogether new. With electric scooter sales on the rise, a major concern that comes to the fore is fire. With multiple videos of such incidents having surfaced, there’s no doubt that such fire incidents need scrutiny.
Auditing vehicle fires is a complex and time-consuming process. Especially when determining if a critical flaw has led to the fire. This requires manufacturers to rectify known flaws on all models with a faulty part as an immediate corrective measure.
With electric scooter sales only just beginning to gain any real momentum, it’s a crucial time for the growing industry. As such, a fire scare can do more damage than imaginable. While customers today are keen on EV knowhow, a lot is still left to imagination. And the current spate of fire incidents isn’t good for customer sentiment. Government policy must pave the way for better battery management systems.
Okinawa Praise Pro recall
In a first, Okinawa Autotech a topselling electric two-wheeler company has announced a recall. This extends to 3,215 units of its Praise Pro scooters. The company will ‘check and fix any issue related to batteries with immediate effect’. This is part of the company’s comprehensive power pack health check-up camps.
Batteries are to be checked for loose connectors or any damage. Repairs will be carried out at Okinawa dealerships at no cost to the customer. Dealerships will contact customers and carry out checks and repairs at customer convenience. ‘This voluntary campaign is in the wake of the recent thermal incident and in line with the company’s long-standing commitment to customer safety,’ the company said.
Electric Scooter Fire – How To Save
In most videos of e-scooter fires seen recently, vehicles have burnt to the ground. Chances are it’ll be a rapid fire owing to a catastrophic battery failure. This puts focus on lithium-ion batteries in use in most e-scooters sold in India. And lithium ion batteries without cooling systems sound grave. Putting out a battery fire isn’t easy.
A raging fire is next to impossible to put out with water. A foam extinguisher or other alternatives are rarely at hand, which results in vehicles being burnt to a crisp. And while battery units are removable, it isn’t likely one would be able to remove a rogue unit in time. With such dangers attached to an e-scooter battery fire, it’s high time manufacturers and fire departments issue safety warnings around such untoward events.
The Okinawa scooters website does have a blog regarding care of a li-ion battery. Among a range of things to do’s and don’ts is point number 3 – ‘Please do not charge the li-ion batteries within 1 hour after use of the scooter.’ The write-up even elaborates on what to do in case of battery exposure to water, but ain’t no mention of what to do in case of a fire.
There’s obviously a rigorous process of extensive development and testing before such products are approved for the market. However, the focus must shift to the unregulated battery cell manufacturing process on priority. The Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES) has already been tasked with probing the number of growing e-scooter fires, and suggesting remedial measures. In recent years, India has set targets on an electric push where personal mobility is concerned.