The lithium-ion batteries, provided in the EVs, mainly fail due to two different reasons – manufacturing defect or overheating.(Shutterstock) (HT_PRINT)


With the launch of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in India, the automotive sector was proud of it as a new revolution that will change the future. However, several incidents of fires in electric vehicles in recent months have put a dent in the celebrations and the government has had to set up a panel to address the issue.

The Tata Nexon EV caught fire on June 22 after several cases of electric scooter catching on fire. While the reputed automaker has claimed to have investigated the cause of its vehicle fire, questions are being raised on how safe EVs are in India and how EV fires can be prevented.

Read also: Fire in Tata Nexon EV, Tata Motors says detailed investigation underway

Let us first see what happened in the Tata Nexon EV case:

Earlier on June 22, a fire was reported in a Tata Nexon EV car from Mumbai’s Vasai West (near Panchavati Hotel). The Nexon owner noticed a flash of warnings on the dashboard after driving about 5 kms towards his home and then stopped his vehicle.

The Nexon EV car was reportedly charged with a normal slow charger installed at the owner’s office. After receiving a warning from the vehicle’s instrument cluster, the car owner called the service center and received instructions from the Tata Motors service staff to exit the vehicle immediately and stand at a safe distance.

Following the fire incident, Tata Motors issued a statement saying, “A detailed investigation is currently being conducted to ascertain the facts of this isolated incident. We will share a detailed response thereafter. and are committed to protecting their users.”

  Watch: Another E-scooter Catches Fire In Hyderabad. Video Goes Viral

Government’s take:

Meanwhile, the government has ordered an independent inquiry into the fire in a Nexon electric vehicle in Mumbai.

“Center for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES), Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam have been asked to investigate the circumstances that led to the incident and also suggest remedial measures. ” a government official said.

Now the question arises why EV battery catches fire?

The lithium-ion batteries provided in electric vehicles fail mainly for two different reasons. The first is due to a manufacturing defect of the battery, while the second is usually the result of several factors, including stress on the battery such as vibration, an electrical short or simply a fluke.

In general, a manufacturing defect can result in a fire, but too much vibration – beyond the handling capacity of a lithium-ion battery – can also pose a fire risk.

Read also: EVS fire controversy: Government-appointed panel to submit report by June-end

Warning signs of a fire in an EV battery:

Signs of a fire in a lithium-ion battery can be experienced by EV owners and require regular monitoring. If the battery is overheating, or swells, the chances are high that it could catch fire. In addition, discoloration, damage, blistering and smoke can also lead to fire incidents.

How to avoid EV fire incidents?

1) The EV battery should not be charged immediately after the EV is running, as the lithium-ion battery may still overheat. Let it cool down first and then charge with the original charger.

2) Use only the battery designed for the vehicle. Also, use the charging cable that came with the lithium-ion battery.

  Now the wait is over, Tata is bringing a new electric car, will run 450KM once charged!

3) Avoid placing the batteries in direct sunlight or in hot vehicles. Also, keep the battery in a dry place with adequate ventilation if it is detachable.

4) Remove the battery from the charger when it is fully charged.

5) Final, inspection for damage is mandatory before use at regular intervals. If found defective, do not use and report to manufacturer. Do not use if the battery feels extremely hot and shows damage.

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