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Centre orders investigation into Tata Motors EV fire incident

The Central Government on Thursday ordered a probe into a fire incident involving a Tata Motors electric vehicle after the automaker described it as an “isolated thermal incident”.

A clip on social media platforms has gone viral showing one of the firm’s electric cars engulfed in flames. The video showed firefighters trying to extinguish the fire in a Nexon electric vehicle (EV) in a suburb of the Maharashtra capital.

According to reports, the government’s Defence Research and Development Organisation would lead the probe.

Responding to the incident that has been widely shared on social media, Tata Motors in a statement said, “A detailed investigation is currently being conducted to ascertain the facts of the recent isolated thermal incident that is doing the rounds on social media.”

The firm said this was the first such incident, having sold more than 30,000 EVs, the bulk of which are its Nexon model.

A spate of e-scooter fires resulting in death and causing severe injuries to people have triggered an investigation by the government.

Initial findings of the federal probe into three e-scooter makers, including SoftBank-backed Ola Electric, found faulty battery cells and modules to be the leading cause of fires.

An expert committee set up by the road transport ministry to investigate cases of electric two-wheelers catching fire and suggest remedial measures will submit its report this month.

“The expert committee (formed on battery standards and certification) is likely to submit it’s report this month,” an official said.

Electrification is the cornerstone of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s climate change and carbon reduction agenda. EVs are also seen as a way to help the country to cut its oil import bill and reduce pollution in major cities.

India wants electric models to make up 30% of total passenger car sales in the country by 2030, up from about 1% today, and e-scooters and e-bikes to account for 80% of total two-wheeler sales, up from about 2%.

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