According to Tarun Mehta, CEO of Ather Energy and co-founder said that electric two-wheelers have become mainstream. The fire incidents will help manufacturers focus on quality and allow the industry to mature, Tarun said.
Ather Energy, which is backed by Hero MotorCorp, expects that India will sell 30 million electric two-wheelers by the end of this decade. The company would also invest “a lot more” to increase its capacity in the next few years.
“I believe that what has happened in recent years has resulted in maturing the industry. This will encourage more manufacturers to concentrate more on reliability and quality,” Mehta said.
His response was to a question about how fire incidents in electric two-wheelers from various manufacturers including Okinawa, Ola Electric, and PureEV would affect the growth of EVs within India.
These incidents are forcing more players to put more emphasis on quality, he stated. He also said that EVs are becoming mainstream regardless of their quality, but with better quality products this will be a no-brainer.
Reports of electric two-wheelers from manufacturers such as Ola Electric and Okinawa Autotech catching on fire in April of this year were made. The government formed a panel to investigate.
Nitin Gadkari, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister warned companies about the potential penalties for being negligent. He also stated that they would be required to recall defective vehicles.
Ola Electric then recalled 1,441 units of its two-wheelers. Okinawa also recalled 3,215 units of its Praise Pro scooter due to battery problems. Pure EV recalled 2,000 units of its ETrance+, EPluto7G models.
Mehta stated that the Ather electric scooter caught fire and was an accident vehicle. Screws were replaced, and water was poured in, but it wasn’t a real situation.
“We have never had a fire in an operational vehicle.” He said that they are extremely proud of this record.
Ather Energy has been focusing on quality and reliability since day one, Mehta stated, adding that “We’ve never rushed to get through a launch.” We have never skipped a test step. Over the past seven-eight year, we have been steadily building up and staying extremely focused.
Mehta spoke out about the potential Indian market for electric two-wheelers and said that 20-30 million of them will be sold by the end of the decade.
He stated that in order to keep up to the demand, “we will be investing a lot of money over the next few years in capacity growth.” These two plants are only a start.
However, he declined to comment about the company’s future investments.
The company announced last November that it would invest Rs.650 crore in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, to establish its second manufacturing facility. This will increase its production capacity by 4 lakh units annually from 1.2 lakh units.