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Ola S1 Pro catches fire; Company launches a probe

A video of an Ola S1 Pro scooter on fire has become viral on the Internet. The incident happened in Lohegaon, Pune. This is not the first time that an electric scooter has caught fire in India. In the past, several videos of electric scooters on fire have become viral.

In the small 31 second clip, the Ola S1 Pro scooter parked on a roadside is on fire. While the exact reason for the fire remains unknown, Ola has launched a probe and will find out the exact reason for the fire according to a statement.

In a statement Ola Electric said,

We are aware of an incident in Pune that happened with one of our scooters and are investigating to understand the root cause and will share more updates in the next few days. We’re in constant touch with the customer who is absolutely safe. Vehicle safety is of paramount importance at Ola and we are committed to the highest quality standards in our products. We take this incident seriously and will take appropriate action and share more in the coming days.

How does an EV catch fire?

Ola S1 Pro catches fire; Company launches a probe

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.

Many manufacturers face EV fires

In India alone, many other electric scooters have caught fire in the past. Last year, two electric scooters from Pure EV caught fire. Even an Okinawa scooter caught fire in October while an HCD India scooter caught fire and caused a tragic death to a 60-year old man.

A lot of fire incidents have triggered mass recalls as well. Last year, General Motors recalled as many as 73,000 Bolt EVs. In South Korea, Hyundai recalled as many as 82,000 Kona EVs after 13 fire incidents. With the rising number of electric cars on the roads, such incidents are only expected to rise in the future.