Secunderabad Inferno: Why EV charging is turning risky?

Rajeev said that many people do not install a proper charging outlet. "At least a moderate/level 2 charging outlet needs to be installed. Often people blame EV batteries for fire accidents. EV batteries can indeed overheat and catch fire but it is important to note that faulty charging stations can cause a fire as well," he said.

By Amrutha Kosuru  Published on  13 Sep 2022 6:21 AM GMT
Secunderabad Inferno: Why EV charging is turning risky?

A major fire at an electric bike showroom left eight people dead and seven injured in Secunderabad on Monday.

Police have booked the owners of Ruby Motors and Ruby Lodge. Police suspect that there were 40 electric bikes parked in the cellar and all of them were being charged at the same time. All the bikes have been reduced to ashes. It is also suspected that the fire may have been caused due to a generator.

What can go wrong with an EV?

Charging an EV

An EV can be charged pretty much anywhere- with the right outlet. Indian EVs use a Lithium-ion battery. The charging is divided into three levels- slow, moderate, and fast.

"Many people do install a proper charging port. Without the right fuse and the right industrial connectors which help withstand the electricity, a fire can start. The damage will become non-containable. The fire that might originate at the charging port will eventually reach the highly flammable batteries," said Rajeev YSR, Founder and CEO of EV Masterclass.

EV Master class is an advisory and strategic consulting firm for governments and industries. Rajiv is currently an advisor to the government of Andhra Pradesh.





Rajeev said that many people do not install a proper charging outlet. "At least a moderate/level 2 charging outlet needs to be installed. Often people blame EV batteries for fire accidents. EV batteries can indeed overheat and catch fire but it is important to note that faulty charging stations can cause a fire as well," he said.

"We can't always blame the vehicle's battery," Rajeev said.

However, EV batteries in India have their share of shortcomings.

To date, 92 EV Charging Stations are available in Hyderabad with 111 EV Chargers. Out of 111 EV Chargers, 65 are under Fame-1 installed by REIL and TSREDCO. Close to 9000 EV Vehicles were sold with Rs.35 Crores given as incentives in the form of exemption of road tax and registration charges.

EV Batteries:

Indian EV manufacturers are largely dependent on neighboring countries for components. The cells (a component of the battery) are not manufactured in India. They are imported and welded into the battery pack that's installed in the EV.

"EVs go through multiple checks before hitting the market. But these checks need to be more stringent. Most of the time, no one is aware of where the batteries are manufactured. The quality standards of the battery need to be higher to avoid EV fire accidents," Rajeev opined.

Rajeev said that even if everything is right- the battery is of perfect quality, an issue arises with the Battery Management System (BMS).

The Battery Management system is the brain of the EV and is meant to maintain and contain the safety of the Battery. The software is used to monitor the rise and fall in temperature of the batteries. Its primary function is to alert the vehicle user before the battery overheats.

"In multiple Indian EVs, the BMS is compromised in an attempt to reduce cost. Very few companies install good BMS," Rajeev said.

Additionally, he said that EVs need to have an active cooling system. However, Indian EVs only have a passive cooling system. "An active cooling system such as fans being triggered immediately and liquid nitrogen to cool the battery need to be installed for minimizing the accident and damage," Rajeev said.

To avoid accidents:

Rajeev suggests always going for reputed brands where a step-by-step quality check is done. He also suggests not being dissuaded by prices while buying an EV. He further suggested installing proper charging ports and never charging swappable batteries in the houses.

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