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Indian Investigation Faults Battery Cells in E-Scooter Fires

The incidents involved three companies, including Ola Electric, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group and was the country’s top-selling e-scooter maker in April


A man waits while recharging his Ola electric scooter in New Delhi. Photo: Reuters

 

An investigation by Indian safety authorities has identified faulty battery cells as the main cause of a spate of electric scooters bursting into flames.

The incidents involved three companies, including Ola Electric, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group and was the country’s top-selling e-scooter maker in April.

“In Ola’s case, the battery cells were found to be an issue as well as the battery management system,” a person who has direct knowledge of the report told Reuters.

In March, India launched an investigation over safety concerns after a spate of e-scooter fires, including one where a man and his daughter died when their e-bike “went up in flames”.

India wants e-scooters and e-bikes to make up 80% of total two-wheeler sales by 2030, from about 2% today.

 

Consumer Confidence Jeopardised

But concerns over safety jeopardise consumer confidence and could derail growth of a sector that is key to the country’s carbon reduction goals.

“The government has taken samples of cells from the three companies to make further checks,” the person said, adding that the final investigation report is expected in about two weeks.

Ola, which sources its cells from South Korea’s LG Energy Solution (LGES), says it is working with the government on the issue and has appointed an external expert agency, in addition to conducting its own probe.

“There was no fault of the Ola battery management system at all and it was likely an isolated thermal incident,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Indian government’s report has not yet been released or shared with us. We cannot comment on the report as we have not yet identified the root cause of the Ola scooter incident in March,” LGES in Seoul said in a statement to Reuters.

 

  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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