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How safe are EVs?

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaSep 15, 2022 | 09:00

How safe are EVs?

A fire that broke out at an e-bike showroom in Telangana's Secunderabad, claimed at least 8 lives this week. The incident has brought the spotlight back on electric vehicles in India. How safe are they?

The fire was caused due to a short circuit triggered by the batteries of the e-bikes that were being charged.

This is, however, not the first EV-related incident in the country.

E-vehicles for climate change? Automobiles are one of the leading causes of air pollution, and in order to reduce this, India is seeing a major push towards electric vehicles.

In countries like the US and UK, people are already swapping their regular vehicles for electric vehicles. California recently took a decision to ban all gasoline vehicles by 2035. The move away from gasoline, according to them, will likely speed up a wider transition to electric vehicles because many other states follow in California's footsteps.

Other companies such as Tesla or Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles are also planning on expanding their electric car business by founding charging stations all across the globe. 

However, while the world is moving toward this revolution, Indians are quite spooked about electric vehicles and are hesitant on making the move to e-vehicles. A recent survey by Local Circles shows that how in India, less than 1% are convinced about buying electric scooters within the next 5 months. A majority of them were concerned about their safety while admitting they were not keen on buying electric scooters. 

Photo: Local circles

The case with electric cars is even worse. In total, electric cars have a market of only 1% in India. Even though people believe that the market for electric vehicles is rising, which might be the case, but it holds true only for some elite sections in India. 

Safety concerns are a major obstacle here. 

The survey shows a total of 32% of respondents had safety concerns, a big jump from 17% in 2021. This could potentially derail India's march towards electric vehicles.

What is the government's stand on this? In order to promote the transition to more electric vehicles on the road, the government has developed multiple schemes like FAME-India, which gives direct subsidies to EV buyers, and production-linked incentives (PLI) for EV manufacturing.

But since last year, more than two dozen electric vehicles have caught fire. Some incidents were more shocking than others. 

 

India has had high heat and humidity all through this year, accompanied by varying temperatures across the country, which can also be the reason behind such incidents. 

BUT,

One also needs to keep in mind that not everything about electric vehicles is "unsafe".

First, we need to remember that all electric cars are required to meet the same strict design and manufacturing regulations as their petrol and diesel counterparts. 

They go through the same processes, with an almost obsessive amount of time spent on making these vehicles as safe as possible. 

Most manufacturers (in Europe) are then subjected to Euro NCAP assessment, which ensure strong structures, extensive crumple zones and multiple airbags so that passengers are safe in case there is an accident. 

Last updated: September 15, 2022 | 09:00
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