EV Fire: 7 Electric Bikes Caught Fire in Pune, Raises Question of Safety After Serial Incidents

The fire may have started due to a short circuit during overcharging.

Electric vehicles parked inside an electric bike shop in Pune, Maharashtra, caught fire while being charged on Monday night. Reports emerging from the incident mention that a total of seven electric bikes were burnt down in the fire. Fortunately, there were no casualties recorded during the incident. Preliminary investigation by the emergency response team hint that the fire may have been started due to overcharging of the EVs.

The latest fire incident involving EVs took place at a shop located in the Gangadham area of Market Yard. At around 8 pm on Monday, the fire brigade was called in with reports of a fire that had started in the shop. Citing some reports, which have not been confirmed yet, 91Mobiles suggests that the fire broke out in a showroom of Komaki India that housed electric scooters and bikes.

Update: Komaki has now come out with a statement, saying that the fire incident in Pune “does not involve a Komaki vehicle and doesn’t contain a Komaki battery. The showroom is multi-branded,” the company says.

The company also mentions that “after going through our service record, we have proof that the vehicle being claimed as the cause of fire was subject to removal of batteries and didn’t contain company connectors.”

From what has been hinted at so far, there were several electric bikes kept on charging within the showroom. The bikes were meant to refuel their batteries from the plug-in charging overnight. It is being suggested that a short circuit was caused due to overcharging in one of these vehicles, which ultimately led to the dangerous fire breakout. However, note that the exact cause of the fire can only be known after a detailed investigation of the incident is concluded.

Upon response, the emergency team was able to douse the fire using four fire tenders. By the time the situation was brought under control, as many as seven electric bikes were burnt down inside the showroom. Fortunately, there was no loss of life or reported injuries during the incident.

Is EV overcharging the cause?

If you associate the term EV with the likes of Tesla cars and other high-end electric cars, the straight-up answer to this question is, No – you cannot overcharge your EV, even if you leave it plugged in throughout the night. The battery management systems or BMS in these vehicles have the facility of stopping the current flow as and when the EVs reach 100 per cent of their battery capacity during charging.

With that being said, there is a possibility that such checks used in smaller, more affordable EVs, are not foolproof. That is wherein electrons will continue to flow into the battery pack till the time the EV is plugged in, even after its battery is 100 per cent charged. If so, the battery would eventually overheat and thus get damaged, possibly starting a battery fire.

This might be the reason for the fire that broke out in Pune on Monday. However, there are other possible reasons too, and the exact one can be predicted only once a detailed investigation of the event is carried out. Till then, it would be unfair to blame EV overcharging as the cause for the fire, which, as it is, has negligible chances of happening with an EV’s BMS in place.

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