A 40-year-old man was killed when the battery of his new electric bike exploded causing fire in his bedroom in Vijayawada city in the early hours of Saturday. His wife suffered burns and was in a critical condition in hospital, police said.
Their two children also suffered from asphyxiation but were stable, the police added.
The incident was similar to the one that happened three days ago in Nizamabad town in neighbouring Telangana where an electric vehicle battery exploded killing an 80-year-old man.
These were the two major incidents involving EV batteries in the two Telugu states, while similar mishaps were reported from other states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu in recent days.
The victim K Siva Kumar, who was a self-employed DTP worker, purchased the electric bike only on Friday.
The detachable battery of the vehicle was kept on charging in his bedroom on Friday night and it suddenly exploded in the early hours when all were fast asleep, Suryaraopet Inspector of Police V Janaki Ramaiah said.
The explosion caused a minor fire in the house gutting the air-conditioning machine and some household articles.
Neighbours who saw smoke billowing out of the house broke the doors open and pulled out the family trapped inside.
Sivakumar died while being shifted to hospital in an ambulance.
His wife was admitted to a private hospital for treatment, where she was kept under 48-hour observation, police added.
"The exact cause of the explosion is not known. Fire services personnel also visited the scene to determine the cause. We have also spoken to the EV company to check whether electric short circuit could be the reason for the battery explosion," the Inspector said. A case has been registered and investigation taken up.
Incidentally, government think tank Niti Aayog had two days ago come out with a draft battery swapping policy for electric vehicles and suggested incentives as well as a rigorous testing protocol for swappable batteries.
It came amid rising concerns over safety issues around the electric vehicles.
Further, Union minister Nitin Gadkari had on Thursday said companies found negligent will be penalised and a recall of all defective EVs will be ordered after receiving the report of an expert panel that has been formed to enquire into the matter.
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