A Tata Nexon electric vehicle burst into flames at a busy intersection in Vasai Road in Mumbai, making it the first case of an electric car catching fire in the country.

There were no reports of loss of life or injury due to the incident.

“A detailed investigation is currently being conducted to ascertain the facts of this isolated incident. We will share a detailed response thereafter. We remain committed to the safety of our vehicles and their users. This is the first such incident after more than 30,000 EVs have cumulatively covered over 100 million km across the country in nearly 4 years,” said a Tata Motors spokesperson.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has meanwhile set up a committee to look into the fire incident. Sources said that the Ministry has also asked Tata Motors to furnish details related to the incident. MoRTH has set up a committee of experts, including the Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environmental Safety, the Indian Institute of Science and the Naval Science & Technological Laboratory.

Largest selling EV

The Tata Nexon is the largest-selling electric vehicle in India and is one of two EV it sells. The company has sold more than 30,000 electric cars in the last four years, which have cumulatively clocked over 100 million kilometres. None of these cars have experienced any such incident so far.

The five-seater Tata Nexon EV is powered by a 30.2kWh high energy density lithium ion battery pack with a liquid cooled thermal management system. The vehicle has an IP67 rated protection for motor and battery pack, making it dust and waterproof.

Thermal management

In earlier interactions with Tata Motors officials, the company said it had focussed more on thermal management, the most critical aspect in an EV. It had even borrowed the technical expertise from its UK-based brands, Jaguar Land Rover, to make sure the temperature inside battery packs remains under control.

While fire incidents in EVs are common globally as it happened in Tesla models , such incidents in India could lead to setbacks in consumer confidence in electric vehicle technology. Over the past few months, there have been a rising number of incidents of electric two-wheelers exploding or catching fire across the country. This comes even as the Centre is trying to make India a hub for electric vehicles, including the production of cells and battery packs.

Priced at nearly ₹15 lakh, the Nexon EV has a certified drive range of 312 km to a full charge. A few weeks ago, Tata Motors launched another variant named Nexon EV Max with a better range of 437 km, priced at ₹17.74 lakh. 

(With inputs from Delhi Bureau)