Ather Says Fire at Electric Scooter Showroom Was Caused by Damaged Battery Pack, One-Off Incident

Ather says the e-scooter that caught fire had been involved in an accident earlier.

Recent incidents around electric scooters have been nothing short of a blot on their reputation, scaring many potential buyers away. The most shocking of these mishaps were those wherein the battery-powered vehicles caught fire. An Ather electric two-wheeler was involved in one such incident recently and the company has now come out with an official statement on the same.

In its statement, Ather has cleared that its e-scooter which caught fire and spewed out smoke was a one-of-a-kind incident. Reaffirming that its electric scooters are safe for everyone’s use, the company has found that the unit in question was involved in an accident earlier, due to which its battery pack had developed a crack in it which is then believed to be the reason for the fire.

For those unaware, the incident took place at an Ather Energy dealership in Chennai on Friday afternoon. It quickly went viral on social media through a video that showed smoke spewing out of the dealership. It wasn’t long after that the company came out with an official statement acknowledging that one of its e-scooters had caught fire inside the dealership. Following the investigation on why the scooter caught fire, it has now shared its findings with the public.

As per Ather’s statement, the smoke seen in the video indeed came from an electric scooter that had caught fire. The statement clarifies that the e-scooter had been involved in an accident earlier and was brought to the service centre for repair. In order to wash off the dust from the vehicle, the unit was subjected to a pressure-wash at the centre. This is where things went south.

Upon investigation, Ather found that the accident had led to a crack in the battery pack, exposing the 224 cells packed inside. The high-pressure water wash then led to water seeping inside the pack and onto the cells. Once the team was able to realise this, there was nothing that could be done to save the battery further. The Ather team at the dealership then isolated the unit from the rest of the vehicles.

As can be understood, this is a one-off incident that does not prove any persistent issue with Ather’s electric scooters. In fact, Ather says that this is the first time such an issue has come to light, in the 150 million km run that Ather e-scooters have recorded till now. It even mentions that its battery packs are IP67 rated, and hence are waterproof, but only till the time the integrity of the case is not compromised by physical damage.

Another important note that the company shares is that the battery was found to be using non-standard screws of varying lengths, seemingly replaced during an aftermarket service. This might have also aggravated the stresses on the top panel of the battery, compromising its structural strength. It urged users to only use on-spec components through this example.

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