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Govt To Follow A Three-Strike Policy For OEMs To Address EV Safety Issues

Govt To Follow A Three-Strike Policy For OEMs To Address EV Safety Issues

The ministry of road transport and highways has decided to follow a three-strike policy for electric two-wheeler manufacturers if they are found to put out defective products in markets

The policy will consist of a warning, imposition of a heavy penalty, and sealing of the manufacturing units of such OEMs that fail to rectify defects

The electric two-wheeler makers have already been asked to voluntarily recall vehicles, if any incident of fire has been reported related to their brands

Amid multiple incidents of thermal runaways in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, the ministry of road transport and highway has decided to follow a three-strike policy for electric two-wheeler manufacturers if they are found to put out defective products in the market.

The three-strike policy consists of a warning, imposition of a heavy penalty, and sealing of the manufacturing units of such original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that fail to rectify defects of their merchandise, as told to representatives of electric vehicles OEMs at a meeting with the ministry. 

A day before, the transport ministry asked all of the two-wheeler EV manufacturers to halt launches of new models till the investigation into the multiple instances of EVs catching fire is going on. The government has already constituted a committee to investigate the reasons behind those fire incidents and make recommendations on remedial steps.

The OEMs have been warned that they will face harsh penalties if they fail to handle and address critical defects in their equipment, the ministry has told the representatives. 

A couple of days back, electric two-wheeler makers were also asked to recall the entire batch of the vehicles if one vehicle from the batch was involved in a fire incident. Most of the OEMs have already started this process.

Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, on April 21, advised EV companies to take “advance action to recall all defective batches of vehicles immediately”

In a series of tweets, Gadkari warned EV manufacturers, saying, “If any (EV) company is found negligent in their processes, a heavy penalty will be imposed and a recall of all defective vehicles will also be ordered.”

Several mishaps, including fire incidents, involving EVs have come to light in the last two months, with some people losing their lives and several getting severely injured.

Earlier in April, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant also raised concerns over several fire incidents related to EVs. Speaking to a private news channel, Kant called on the OEMs to voluntarily recall the batches of EVs involved in recent accidents.

EV batteries needed special attention owing to their complexity in “terms of manufacturing and maintenance”, Kant said. 

While manufacturing of batteries was not regulated, a special focus needed to be on strengthening battery management systems, he added, calling to develop a clear “partnership between battery manufacturing and management”.

His statement holds significance in the wake of such fire incidents as most of the lithium-ion batteries used by the EV industry are usually imported. In fact, the Indian EV industry is largely dependent on Chinese imports for batteries and other powertrain components. The unavailability of core raw materials used in battery manufacturing also has plagued the ecosystem and the EV players are mostly dependent on China for supplies. 

It began in March 2022 when a video of an Ola Electric ebike on fire in Pune went viral on social media. Many were shocked, raising questions about the safety of EVs. Later that month, another incident involving an Okinawa EV was reported from Tamil Nadu’s Vellore that claimed the lives of two, including a 13-year old girl. 

Since then, a series of incidents have been reported across India, raising serious concerns over  safety of these electric scooters. Other players such as PureEV, HCD India, Jitendra EV, among others have always seen their ebikes burst into flames in the middle of roads.