The Centre is “studying” the findings of a probe conducted by an independent committee into recent electric scooter fires.
“We are studying and analysing the report. These fires were related to cells,” said a senior official of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on condition of anonymity without sharing more details about the cause of the different fires or the recommendations of the committee.
In March, the Ministry appointed a panel of independent experts from the Defence Fire and Explosive Laboratory, New Delhi, the Naval System Development Laboratory in Visakhapatnam and the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru. This followed several incidents of electric scooters catching fire, involving Okinawa, Pure EV, Jitendra EV and Ola Electric.
The senior official also said that the Ministry had now constituted another committee to strengthen safety standards for electric vehicles on the basis of the probe report submitted. This panel includes IIT-Madras, International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Material apart from the three institutes that investigated the scooter fires. They have been given six weeks to submit their recommendations.
AIS 156 norms
The current Automative Industry Standard (AIS) 048 for battery operated vehicles lays down various tests that need to be carried out, including mechanical, vibration, overcharge, short-circuit and shock tests, among others. These will be replaced by AIS 156 norms which have been notified and will come into effect from December 2022 that also require tests for over-temperature protection and gaseous emissions.
Separately, the government is likely to frame guidelines for safety of electric vehicles.