Amid incidents of electric two-wheelers catching fire, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday urged companies to take advance action to recall all defective vehicles, even as he said there is some problem with EV batteries when the temperature rises in the months of March, April and May. The Road Transport and Highways Minister also acknowledged that the country’s EV industry has “just started” and emphasised that the government does not want to put up a hurdle.
“But safety is the highest priority for the government and there can be no compromise with human lives,” Gadkari said at the Raisina Dialogue.
His comments assume significance against the backdrop of multiple incidents of Electric Vehicles (EVs) catching fire and resulting in deaths and severe injuries to people.
During an interactive session, Gadkari reiterated that companies may take advance action to recall all defective batches of vehicles immediately.
“In March-April-May, the temperature rises, then there is some problem with the battery (of EVs). I feel that it (electric two-wheelers catching fire) is a problem of (high) temperature,” he said.
The road transport and highways minister noted that the government wants to make EVs popular.
“We understand that the EV industry has just started. We don’t want to put a hurdle. But safety is the highest priority for the government and there can be no compromise with human lives,” Gadkari asserted.
Last week, Gadkari, who is known for his frank views, had said that the companies found negligent will be penalised and a recall of all defective vehicles will be ordered after receiving the report of an expert panel that has been formed to enquire into the matter.
The government had ordered a probe last month after an e-scooter launched by ride-hailing operator Ola’s electric mobility arm caught fire in Pune.
The Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES) had been asked to probe the circumstances that led to the incident and also suggest remedial measures, according to the road transport ministry. The ministry had also asked CFEES to share the findings along with its suggestions on measures to prevent such incidents