In the past year, about 100,000 new electric vehicles have been released and registered in the US. As the number of electric vehicle owners grows day by day, a larger number of people are more concerned with their safety when it comes to battery overheating and electrical fire.
Although electrical cars have a lot of benefits to the environment and the owners themselves, it is also an undeniable fact that there are some dangers when it comes to fire safety. Electric vehicles are powered by lithium-ion batteries, and we all know that any item powered by li-ion batteries is prone to thermal runaway or a process in which heat builds up and causes the battery to catch fire.
This combustion has happened with smartphones and laptops, and it has also been the major factor for a lot of EV fires. Because of this, modern EV developers have designed a thermal system that protects the battery from overheating and combusting.
Here is everything you need to know about EV car fires and whether or not you should be concerned about it.
What Causes Electrical Fire in Cars?
Many people think that the main cause of electrical car fires are overheating batteries related to thermal runaway. Other factors include car crashes where damaged electrical wiring may lead to a short circuit, as well as flash floods, and many more.
The difference between EV car fires and other types of cars is that EV fires do not break out immediately after an accident. Another safety measure added to electric vehicles are the warning lights that send a signal to the driver that they need to pull over immediately or evacuate the car.
Although there have been a lot of reports relating to electrical car fires very few have recorded any casualties resulting from the accidents. The majority of EV fires reported have also proven that the battery is rarely the main cause of fire.
Other factors that contribute to EV fire include:
- Overcharging or over discharging results to electrical short
- Cumulative abuse
- Errors in the manufacturing process
- Too much exposure to high temperatures
- Errors in operation and maintenance
- Excessive shock or impact caused by accidents
These factors occur due to carelessness and under preparedness. That’s why we are advised to be mindful and prepared when driving electric cars to avoid such accidents.
How Often Do EV Car Fires Occur?
EV fires are dangerous and should always be looked out for, but these instances happen very rarely. Data comparison for petrol fires and electrical car fires states that in 2019, there are 54 reported EV fires, whereas petrol and diesel cars have 1,898 fire incidents.
These reports just prove that electrical vehicles are less likely to catch fire than petrol cars. Petrol and diesel cars carry a lot of flammable fuel, which makes them much more dangerous.
Electrical Car Fire Risks
Although electrical car fires are proven to happen very rarely, it is still very dangerous when they occur. When EV fires occur, a lot of organic chemicals are produced. Some of these are toxic gases that are fatal to the human body when inhaled.
Fire services have knowledge about this occurrence and are prepared with full PPE respiratory equipment whenever they have to go on missions that include electric vehicle fires. Although this may be very effective in protecting professional rescuers and fire services, full PPE are not readily available to the majority. That’s why, when there are risks of EV fires, we are expected to leave the vehicle and go as far away as possible.
As of now, professionals and manufacturers are still observing the behavior or EV fires and how we, as a community, can be prepared to handle it safely when it occurs.
Preparing for EV Fires
With the goal of the majority’s safety in mind, fire services are working hard to know more about EV fires to be prepared for such accidents on the road. There are training programs for fire services and car manufacturers that teach them the basic information and how to deal with car fires safely.
A lot of manufacturers have been researching for other options to prepare for and extinguish EV fires. There are some good examples like battery submersion, but it is still under observation and study.
To ensure safety and to avoid electrical car fires it is important to have your vehicle checked and maintained on a regular basis. Northwest Collision Center is one of the best auto body repair shops in St. Petersburg FL. We offer services such as maintenance and repair to make sure that your electric vehicle is always in good condition and safe to use on the road. We are always ready for all your automotive and professional service needs!