Another day, another EV Battery Fire

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EV Battery Fire. Source Facebook, Fair Use, Low Resolution Image to Identify the Subject

Essay by Eric Worrall

Public awareness is growing of the apparent tendency of electric vehicles to spontaneously combust, and burn with a blazing hot, difficult to extinguish fire.

The video above discusses how normal fire extinguishers failed to put out the blaze, and also mentions the risk of thermal runaway, a new kind of vehicle fire hazard in which even an extinguished EV battery fire can spontaneously re-ignite, due to chemical processes in the damaged batteries.

But one thing really caught my eye – in this case the vehicle was burning near some trees. Urban trees in a carpark, so no harm done. But what if such a vehicle fire occurred in a less urban setting, in dry woodland?

Obviously fossil fuel powered vehicles can also catch fire. My vehicle once caught fire, the full fuel tank ruptured and produced an impressive blaze – I had just filled up 20 minutes before the fire.

But the fire didn’t spread – a few flames licked up around the sides of the vehicle, but the fire mostly stayed on the ground, under the trunk. And the blaze was controllable – when the fire truck arrived 20 minutes after the blaze started, the fire was extinguished within 5 minutes. If I had thought to carry a vehicle fire extinguisher, I could have probably put the fire out myself.

Electric vehicle fires seem much fiercer than the gasoline fire I experienced. They seem to burn hot, much hotter than the gasoline fire which scorched the rear of my vehicle. Worse, EV fires seem to be very difficult to extinguish, and damaged EV batteries remain dangerous even when you think the fire risk is over.

Are EV mobile fire hazards really the kind of vehicles we want to have driving around in sensitive, high bushfire risk areas like Australia and California?

I guess time will tell, whether the apparent enhanced fire-starting potential of defective electric vehicles has a noticeable impact on large scale forest fire risk.

via Watts Up With That?

October 17, 2022