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HomeTechTata Motors probing Nexon EV fire; Pine Labs acquires Setu

Tata Motors probing Nexon EV fire; Pine Labs acquires Setu


India’s nascent electric vehicle industry, already reeling from a spate of two-wheeler fires in the past few months, now has a four-wheeler fire to contend with. After a video showing a Nexon electric car on fire went viral on social media, Tata Motors said it was investigating the issue, adding this was the first such incident involving one of the 30,000 EVs it has sold to date.

Credit: Giphy

Also in this letter:
■ Pine Labs acquires API infra firm Setu for $70-75 million
■ Ex-BharatPe MD Ashneer Grover blasts RBI’s new mandate
■ Uber explored selling its Indian ride-hailing business: report


Nexon electric car catches fire, Tata Motors announces probe

Tata

Tata Motors has said it is investigating a fire apparently caused by one of its Nexon electric cars in Mumbai, which it termed an “isolated thermal incident”.

A video shared by Twitter user @KamalJoshi108, showing one of the company’s electric cars engulfed in flames, went viral on social media on Wednesday evening. It showed firefighters trying to extinguish the fire in a Nexon electric vehicle (EV) in a suburb of Mumbai.


Probe on: “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. We will share a detailed response after our complete investigation,” India’s biggest manufacturer of electric cars said in a statement.

Top-selling EV: Nexon is one of India’s best-selling electric passenger cars with 9,111 sold in 2021, up from just 2,529 in 2020.

Tata Motors said this was the first such incident involving any of its EVs, of which it has sold more than 30,000.

Two-wheeler fires: The incident follows a spate of electric scooter fires that have hampered sales and triggered an investigation by the Indian government in March.

Initial findings of the probe, conducted by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), suggested last month that most of the fires were down to faulty battery cells and modules.

The probe looked into fire incidents involving three companies — Ola Electric, PureEV and Okinawa. Ola Electric, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group, was the country’s top-selling e-scooter maker in April.

The initial findings of the investigation have prompted the government to consider testing battery cells of e-scooters before they are allowed to launch, a source told Reuters in May.

Ola CEO takes a dig: Ola founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal took a dig at the media after the video went viral.

“EV fires will happen. Happens in all global products too. EV fires are much less frequent than ICE (internal combustion engine) fires,” he said in a tweet, tagging Hormazd Sorabjee, editor of Autocar India.

Earlier this year, Aggarwal called an auto journalist “Petrol Media”, and shared pictures of Burnol in response to criticism on Twitter.


Pine Labs acquires API infra firm Setu for $70-75 million

Pine Labs Setu

Digital payments service provider Pine Labs has acquired application programming interface (API)-based infrastructure company Setu in a cash-and-equity deal for about $70-75 million.

Pine Labs chief executive Amrish Rau said the deal was significant but refused to disclose its exact size.

We reported on February 2 that Pine Labs was looking at acquiring Setu in a cash-and-equity deal in the range of $70-100 million.

New services: After the acquisition, Setu will work independently, retain its brand entity and continue to serve its existing merchants. Pine Labs will enter the embedded finance space, and gain access to Setu’s API infrastructure stack to introduce new services for its merchant partners.

Rau said the acquisition will help Pine Labs provide merchant services such as identity management and embedded fixed deposits, and allow merchants to release a line of credit to their customers.

Recent buys: In October 2021, Pine Labs announced its foray into the payment gateway segment for online merchants and new-age direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands with the launch of Plural.

Earlier this year, it acquired Mumbai-based online payments startup Qfix Infocomm. Last year, it bought Kuala Lumpur-based payments and discovery platform Fave in a $45-million all-cash deal.

Done deal: Neuron7.ai, an AI-powered customer and field service software firm, has raised $10 million in a funding round led by existing investors Battery Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners. The company, headquartered in San Jose, California, plans to use the funds to grow its product and customer success teams in the US and India.


Ex-BharatPe MD Ashneer Grover blasts RBI’s new mandate

Ashneer Grover

BharatPe’s former managing director Ashneer Grover, who isn’t one to mince words, has lashed out against the Reserve Bank of India’s recent mandate barring non-bank pre-paid payment instruments (PPI) from being loaded with credit lines.

Grover took to Twitter, calling the regulator’s move a way to protect “lazy” banks’ credit card business from the growing popularity of fintech firms’ buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services.

Quote: “Not allowing loading of pre-paid instruments through credit is aimed at protecting the banks’ lazy credit card business from fintech’s potent BNPL business. It’s a flex move by banks – rent-seeking. But, market is market and regulations will eventually come around to what market needs,” Grover wrote in the tweet.


Fintech founders upset: The one-page circular issued by the RBI on Monday has caused confusion and anger among fintech companies. A few, such as Jupiter, EarlySalary and KreditBee, have chosen to halt all pre-paid card transactions temporarily.

We also reported earlier today that top credit card challenger brands and lending firms are joining hands to petition the union government and the RBI over the new mandate.

Also read: RBI’s stance on fintech has government backing


Uber explored selling its Indian ride-hailing business, says report

Uber

Global ride-hailing giant Uber apparently explored options for selling its Indian ride-hailing business to companies but suspended potential talks after a worldwide collapse in tech startup valuations, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The report said Uber, which along with rival Ola has been struggling to make a profit in India, also pondered a complete exit from the country. It has previously exited markets such as China and Southeast Asia by selling its business to local giants Didi and Grab.

Uber denies report: After the story broke, Uber denied any potential sale talks for its India business. “Bloomberg’s reporting is categorically false. We have never explored exiting India — not even for a minute. Uber remains committed to India and continues to hire people aggressively,” said Ruchica Tomar, an Uber executive.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on Twitter there was “zero truth” to the report.


Uber launched in India in 2013 and currently offers rides in 100 cities across the country.

Tweet of the day


Twitter tests Notes feature with 2,500-word limit

Twitter

Microblogging site Twitter revealed on Wednesday that it’s testing a new feature called Notes to allow users to share long-form content – up to 2,500 words – on and off the social media platform.

Twitter said the move was a response to seeing people use the platform to post screenshots of longer announcements and steer followers to external newsletters.

The company revealed that its newsletter platform, Revue, will now be a part of Twitter Write, along with Notes, as it seeks new ways to engage users and boost revenue.

Say hello to Meta Pay: After rebranding Facebook to Meta last year, Mark Zuckerberg has now renamed Facebook Pay to Meta Pay as he continues to chase his metaverse ambitions.

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said, “Beyond the current features, we are working on something new – a wallet for the metaverse that lets you securely manage your identity, what you own, and how you pay”.

Tesla factories ‘burning cash’: Meanwhile, Elon Musk says Tesla’s new factories in Berlin and Texas continue to burn billions of dollars owing to battery shortages and port issues in China slowing down production.

Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter was curated by Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai and Ruchir Vyas in New Delhi. Graphics and illustrations by Rahul Awasthi.





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