ev fire: Electric vehicles go mainstream, fires help industry grow: Ather Energy CEO

Electric two-wheelers are becoming mainstream, and fire incidents will only help manufacturers focus on quality, thereby boosting the industry. Ater Energy co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Tarun Mehta. The Hero MotoCorp-backed firm expects up to 30 million electric two-wheelers to be sold in India by the end of this decade, and Ather Energy is investing “much more” in capacity expansion over the next few years.

“What happened recently, I think, has led to the fact that the industry has become more mature. This will force more and more manufacturers to focus more on quality and reliability,” Mehta told PTI.

He answered a question about how electric two-wheeled vehicles from various manufacturers ignite, such as Ola Electric, Okinawa, Pure EV and even the single case of Ater will affect the growth of electric vehicles in India.

The incidents are pushing more and more players to focus on “quality as the number one parameter,” he said, adding that in any case, “EVs are going mainstream anyway, but with better products, it’s going to be a no-brainer.”

In April this year, cases of electric two-wheelers from manufacturers such as Ola Electric,
Okinawa Autotek as well as
PureEV — fire reported. This prompted the government to form a commission to study.

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari warned companies of penalties if found to be negligent and said they would be ordered to recall faulty vehicles.

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Subsequently,
Ola Electric has recalled 1,441 units of its electric two-wheelers.. Okinawa also announced a recall of 3,215 units of its Praise Pro electric scooter to address any battery-related issue. Likewise, Pure E.V. recalled 2,000 units of its ETrance+ and EPluto 7G models.

In regards to the Ather electric scooter fire incident, Mehta said it was “an emergency vehicle that had screws replaced, water flooded … it wasn’t a real scenario.”

“We have never had a fire in a running car. We are very proud of this record,” he added.

Ather Energy has focused on quality and reliability since day one, Mehta said, adding: “We were never in a rush to launch. We never tried to skip the testing phase. We have been building up over the past seven or eight years. and we stayed extremely focused.”

Regarding the market potential for electric two-wheelers in India, Mehta said it will be huge, with “20-30 million electric two-wheelers sold in the country by the end of this decade.”

He said that in order to keep up with demand, “in the next few years we will be investing much more money in increasing capacity. The first two plants are just the starting point.”

However, he declined to comment on the company’s planned future investments.

Last year in November
the company announced an investment of Rs 650 crore open its second plant at Hosur in Tamil Nadu to increase its total production capacity to 4,000 units from 1,200 units per year.

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