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Fire in Electric Vehicles: Government Constitutes Expert Panel


Fire Risk in Electric Vehicles: Relevance

  • GS 3: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Fire in electric car: Context

  • Amid increasing cases of fire in electric vehicles, the Union Government has recently constituted an expert panel to probe the recent series of battery explosions in electric vehicles (EVs).


Battery fires in electric vehicles

  • Manufacturers like Okinawa and Pure EV have recalled some batches of electric scooters due to fire incidents in the electric vehicles.
  • Recently, an old man died at his home in Telangana after the battery of an electric scooter exploded while being charged.
  • A Tata Nexon EV caught fire in Maharashtra last month, which is being seen as the first major instance of a passenger vehicle catching fire in India.
  • The committee will suggest ways to ensure the right quality of the product. They have to come up with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for testing and validation of key components and formulate a certification standard for the battery used in EVs.


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Reason for opting for electric vehicles

  • Climate change: The growing concern over climate change has led to global efforts to electrify the transportation sector, so that dependence on fossils could be reduced.
  • Cost of battery: The cost of Li-ion (Lithium-ion) battery technology has decreased by a staggering order of magnitude in the last decade.
  • Government incentives: Various governments are providing incentives to usher in the transition and private industry ramping up plans for capturing the market.


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Reasons for fire in electric vehicles

  • The world is racing towards electric vehicles, with vehicle companies, battery manufacturers, and material suppliers vying with each other for market share.
  • However, Li-ion batteries are complex devices requiring a level of sophistication that can takes years to perfect.
  • Hurrying the development of this complex technology without careful safeguards can lead to increasing safety incidents, as evidenced recently on Indian roads.
  • The reasons for fire may include manufacturing defects, faulty charging, external damage, or faults in the deployment in the battery management system, which could result in these batteries becoming a fire risk.
  • Issue in battery: Battery fires, like other fires, occur due to the convergence of three parts of the “fire triangle”: heat, oxygen, and fuel.
  • If an adverse event such as a short circuit occurs in the battery, the internal temperature can raise as the anode and cathode release their energy through the short.


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