Ola Electric scooter bursts into flames in Kerala, police probe underway

By | July 25, 2023

A customer of Ola Electric, the electric vehicle arm of ride-hailing giant Ola, had a shocking experience when his newly purchased Ola S1 Pro scooter caught fire in his garage in the wee hours of July 19. The incident took place in Panavoor village in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, where the owner had parked his scooter after charging it.

According to the First Information Report (FIR) filed by the owner, the fire damaged his television, refrigerator, washing machine and other household items, causing a total loss of INR 4.49 lakhs. The owner also claimed that he had received the scooter only on July 15 and had not faced any issues until the fire.

The local police have registered a case under section 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage) of the Indian Penal Code and are investigating the cause of the fire. They have also collected samples from the site for forensic analysis.

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Ola Electric has not issued any official statement on the incident yet, but sources told Inc42 that the company is looking into the matter and cooperating with the authorities. The sources also said that a preliminary probe revealed that the battery of the impacted scooter was still intact after the incident, indicating that the fire may have originated from some other source.

This is the second known incident of an Ola S1 range scooter catching fire. Earlier this month, another customer in Bengaluru had reported a similar incident on social media, alleging that his scooter caught fire while charging at an Ola Hypercharger station. The company had then said that it was an isolated case and that there was no risk to other customers or chargers.

Ola Electric, which launched its much-awaited S1 and S1 Pro scooters in August last year, has faced several challenges in delivering them to customers due to supply chain disruptions and technical glitches. The company had to postpone its delivery dates multiple times and also faced protests from some customers who were unhappy with the service quality and communication.

The latest fire incident could further dent the company’s reputation and customer confidence, especially as it competes with other players like Ather Energy, Hero Electric and TVS Motor in the fast-growing electric two-wheeler market in India.

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