Many imported battery packs for electric vehicles are not designed for Indian weather: Ather CEO

Tarun Mehta, Co-founder and CEO of Ather Energy said that many electric vehicle battery packs are not designed for Indian conditions. Mehta was talking about the recent electric scooter fires when he made the statement.

While talking to CNBC-TV18, Mehta said that many manufacturers buy entire battery packs from international markets like China. That is why the manufacturers do not have any control over the design or how the battery packs are made. These battery packs are not suitable for Indian weather conditions where the average road temperatures hover around 40 to 45 degrees Celcius.

He also pointed out that Indian customers look for electric scooters that perform better. In foreign markets, most electric scooters can do 30-40 km/h while the demand for speed is much higher in India. The same battery packs are used in scooters available in India that offer a higher speed.

Mehta explains that powering a higher grade electric motor with the same battery pack put more thermal load on the batteries. This causes the battery to heat up and especially in summers, the system can heat up.

He further explains that Ather spent about 5 years developing the battery packs. New manufacturers in the market are not doing that.

How do electric scooters catch fire?

Most electric vehicles catch fire due to the poor quality of lithium-ion cells used in the battery pack. Also, a poorly developed battery management system can get the battery heated up igniting the fire.

Batteries contain a cathode and anode in a sealed container. If these two come in direct contact or make a connection, the extreme heat can cause a fire. In many cases, the electrode materials start reacting chemically in cells. This causes the fire to start. Once the chemical reaction begins, it does not stop until the materials deplete. This is called a thermal runaway and is a common thing in lithium-ion batteries.

Once the thermal runaway starts, it is almost impossible to stop until all the materials are in the chemical reaction exhaust. That is why it is almost impossible to extinguish a fire in an electric vehicle.

Govt is probing the matter

Defence Research and Development Organisation’s CFEES laboratory will investigate the recent fires. The department has been directed by the government to investigate the Ola S1 Pro, Okinawa Praise and Pure EV scooter. The ministry has asked CFEES to come up with remedial measures for reducing such fires.

A man and his daughter died in an accident caused by Okinawa scooters. All other scooter fires did not cause any casualties.

Shantonil Nag

Shantonil brings a refined blend of expertise and enthusiasm to motoring journalism at With a career spanning over 11 years, he anchors Cartoq's insightful car reviews and test drives. His journalistic journey began as a correspondent at, where he honed his skills in content writing and scripting car reviews. Later, as Senior Editor for, his expanded role included curating and structuring web content. At, his expanded role includes assisting the video team to create high-quality car reviews. (Full bio)