1 in 3 households concerned over safety & performance of electric scooters, claims study

But data shared by Union Minister of Heavy Industries in Parliament show EV sales have boomed in the last three years.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Sep 15, 2022 | 10:38 AMUpdatedSep 15, 2022 | 12:28 PM

More than a dozen of electric vehicles have burnt to ashes this year in the country.

The death of eight people in a fire in a Secunderabad hotel that started in an electric scooter showroom in the same building has once again raised concerns over the safety of electric vehicles (EVs).

A senior police officer who is part of the investigation into the 12 September incident told South First on condition of anonymity: “We have learnt that the fire started because of a short circuit during the charging of the electric scooters.”

The police have so far arrested four people in connection with the fire, including the building’s owner Ranjeeth Singh. His son and owner of the e-scooter showroom, Supreet Singh, is, however, absconding.

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has ordered a probe into the incident.

Survey highlights safety concerns

According to data shared by Union Minister of Heavy Industries Krishna Pal Gurjar during the 2022 monsoon session of Parliament, EV sales have boomed in the country in the last three years.

However, a recent survey states that one in every three households is concerned over the safety and functioning of electric scooters. The reason why EV scooters go up in flames can be accessed here.

The survey, released by a community social media platform, Local Circles, said the percentage of households concerned over the safety of these eco-friendly scooters has doubled in the last five months.

According to the survey, the safety of electric scooters is a major concern as more than two dozen vehicles have been reported as catching fire over the past few months in the country, including in Karnataka, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.

The sample size of the survey was over 11,000 households in over 292 districts of the country, said Local Circles.

According to Local Circles, 50 percent of the respondents who participated in the survey resided in metropolitan cities while the rest live in tier-two, tier-three, tier-four cities, and in rural areas.

Findings of the survey

According to the survey, 32 percent of the responses expressed concerns over the “safety and performance of the electric scooters”.

The numbers stood at 17percent in March this year and two percent at the end of August 2021, when many electric vehicle manufacturers opened bookings for customers.

“Consumers are still wary of the safety and performance of electric scooters and 32 percent highlighted this as their concern for not even giving consideration to electric scooters on buying their next two-wheeler,” the Local Circles survey said.

Another highlight from the findings was that only one percent of those surveyed — around 110 — were likely to buy an electric scooter in the next six months.

What the Centre’s figures show

The survey findings do not quite match with data shared by the Union government in July this year, which show that the registrations of electric vehicles climbed to 4.19 lakh till 14 July this year, from just 1.61 lakh in 2019.

Data gathered from the VAHAN dashboard portal on the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways shows that the number of registrations rose in 2022.

It rose only further in August, outpacing sales in all the other months of this year.

Uttar Pradesh topped the national figures with 3.37 lakh EV registrations, followed by Delhi (1.56 lakh), Karnataka stood in the third position with 1.20 lakh EVs registered.

Electric scooter incidents

More than a dozen of electric vehicles have gone up in flames this year in the country. According to reports, the vehicles caught fire due to a faulty battery or over-charging of batteries.

As recently as last month, 10 electric scooters were gutted after a fire broke out at an electric vehicle showroom in Nadakkavu town of Kozhikode district. Reports suggest that the cause of the fire was a battery explosion during charging.

Electric scooters of Pure EV scooters, Okinawa Autotech, Ola Electric, and Jitendra EV have been reported to catch fire due to battery issues in South India.

In one of the incidents, an 80-year-old man died and two others were injured in Telangana’s Nizamabad after a Pure EV electric scooter exploded at their house.

After multiple instances of electric scooters catching fire, the Union Transport Ministry asked all of the two-wheeler manufacturers not to launch new models till the investigations is over.

Soon after the Union Transport Ministry's order, Telangana-based Okinawa Autotech recalled 3,215 vehicles, Pure EV recalled 2,000 vehicles and Bengaluru-based Ola Electric recalled 1,441 vehicles.