Centre Plans To Penalise Companies After EV Scooter Fires: Nitin Gadkari

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Centre Plans To Penalise Companies After EV Scooter Fires: Nitin Gadkari

There have been cases of e-scooters catching fire, including one made by Ola, sparking safety concerns.

New Delhi:

India plans to impose heavy penalties and mandate recalls if electric vehicle (EV) companies are found to be negligent, as part of new “quality-centric” rules, the country’s transport minister said, after a spate of fires involving e-scooters.

In the meantime, companies may take advance action to recall all defective batches of vehicles immediately, Nitin Gadkari said on Twitter on Thursday, adding that the safety of every commuter is a priority for the government.

“Several mishaps involving electric two-wheelers have come to light in last two months. If any company is found negligent in their processes, a heavy penalty will be imposed and a recall of all defective vehicles will also be ordered,” Gadkari said.

In recent weeks, there have been close to a dozen cases of e-scooters catching fire or being involved in them, including one made by SoftBank Group-backed Ola Electric, sparking safety concerns among some buyers.

Scooters involving Indian start-ups Okinawa and PureEV have also been involved in fire incidents, in what some say could be an early setback for a nascent sector that is key to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s carbon reduction and climate goals.

India wants electric scooters and motorbikes to make up 80% of total two-wheeler sales by 2030, compared with about 2% today, and Modi’s administration is offering companies billions of dollars in incentives to make EVs locally.

The government has already launched an investigation into the fires and Gadkari said a committee of experts has been formed to make recommendations on remedial steps.

“Based on the reports, we will issue necessary orders on the defaulting companies,” he said.

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