The deadliest incident involving electric cars in India occurred on Tuesday, when a fire that started at an electric scooter store left at least eight people dead and 11 injured.
The government is concerned about a recent spike in electric scooter fires since it wants to encourage the usage of such two-wheelers in the fight against pollution. Early investigations have identified faulty battery cells and battery modules among the main causes. read more
In the southern city of Secunderabad, the most recent fire started late on Monday in a hotel basement holding the showroom with about two dozen electric scooters, according to the police. They said that it had been brought under control and that an investigation had been opened.
Most of the dead were occupants of the hotel, which was engulfed by smoke.
“There were electric scooters parked where the fire started,” city police official Chandana Deepti told Reuters.
“We don’t know if it started because of overcharging and then spread or whether it started elsewhere. That is still being established.”
The identity of the dealer and the make of the scooters being sold were not immediately clear.
Police and firefighters used cranes and other equipment to pluck stranded hotel guests from the upper floors of the four-storey building as smoke billowed out of its windows, media images showed.
“Those staying on the first and second floors were overpowered by smoke and the maximum casualties are from those floors,” C.V. Anand, the police chief of the neighbouring city of Hyderabad, told Reuters' partner ANI.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the deaths and promised compensation for the casualties in the fire.
In March, India launched an investigation over safety concerns after a string of e-scooter fires, including one in which a man and his daughter died when their e-bike “went up in flames”. read more
India wants e-scooters and e-bikes to make up 80% of total two-wheeler sales by 2030, from about 2% now.