The government probes multiple fires in electric two-wheelers, and only 1 percent of household consumers plan to buy an e-scooter in the next six months amid safety and performance concerns, a new report showed on Monday.
Around 32 percent of respondents are not convinced about the safety and performance of electric scooters in August while in March this year, the number stood at 17 percent – as more than two dozen electric two-wheelers caught fire in March and April, according to data provided by community social media platform LocalCircles.
After more than two dozen electric two-wheelers caught fire in March and April, around 7,000 units were “voluntarily” recalled by electric scooter makers such as Ola, Pure EV, and Okinawa.
The government set up a committee of experts from the Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES) and the Indian Institute of Science to carry out a detailed investigation and frame ‘quality-centric’ guidelines for EV manufacturers, which are expected to be released soon.
The fallout of EV fires is that just 1 percent of over 11,000 respondents said they plan to buy an e-scooter in the next 6 months. Nearly 5 percent said they are keen to buy but “were not convinced about the infrastructure available for e-scooters where I live/work” and 7 percent said they do not have funds for buying e-scooters.
The survey also revealed that the appetite for e-scooters is not high as 31 percent of households do not drive them and an additional 9 percent shared that they had enough vehicles at home so had no plans to buy a two-wheeler.
“The fire incidents, which resulted in injuries for some along with loss of vehicle, adversely impacted consumer sentiments leading to declining in electric vehicle two-wheeler sales for two months,” the survey said.
Ather Energy and Ola Electric have suffered the biggest drop in sales as customers delay purchasing EVs amid battery fire incidents. There are currently over 1,640 operational public EV charging stations in India, of which more than 940 are in nine megacities. Of these, 678 EV charging stations were installed between October 2021 and January 2022. The current capacity is geared to power about 1.8 lakh new electric vehicles.
While there are people keen to buy e-scooters, concerns over safety and performance are rising. “It is critical for the government and industry to win consumer confidence,” the report mentioned.