- An Ather Energy scooter recently caught fire in Bengaluru
- The company has now confirmed that the issue was an isolated one
- Electric scooters faced a phase of fire scares due to battery issues last year
Electric mobility firm, Ather Energy, blamed a “rare human error” as the causing factor behind a fire incident reported against one of its flagship 450X electric two-wheeler scooters. While the incident, which occurred a few weeks ago in Bengaluru and the video of which went viral, did not involve any human fatality, the company reinstated that its safety standards for the battery — a key point of contention among EVs in India since last year — continue to remain intact.
Ather Energy: what it says about the incident
While confirming that the customer in question was safe, and there were no further damages, a statement published on Ather’s official Twitter account said, “Our teams investigated and identified the root cause of the issue in the wiring harness assembly. One of the connectors to the motor controller was torqued incorrectly, which unfortunately resulted in sparking around the controller terminals.”
The company statement added that while safety redundancy systems kicked in at this point to cut off further power supply and cause any fatal harm, by then, the wiring harness in question had caught fire.
“The battery, BMS (battery management system) and the dashboard remained completely unaffected during the incident. The incident had nothing to do with a battery thermal runaway event and the battery continued to operate normally post the incident.”
Addressing the issue as a “rare human error”, the Ather Energy statement added that the company has accordingly “updated manufacturing operations” and “equipment”, and added a “two-step verification process” to prevent further such occurrences.
What the explanation means
The battery harness issue in question appears to be an isolated issue, caused by a faulty wiring on a single unit. This, to be sure, does not cast immediate doubt on the battery safety standards followed by Ather Energy. However, it is important to note that assembly chain products, which are manufactured at scale, are largely automated and involve human supervision only, instead of being a fully manual process.
Going forward, it will be important to understand if further issues occur, which may suggest that the company may have had a single line of product that had such issues. Until then, Ather Energy remains to be among the most trustworthy and safe EV brands in the country.