Why electric car fires are staggering but thankfully rare

On May 22, 2022, a Tesla Model Y spontaneously caught fire. The occupant of it panicked and broke the window to get out quickly. We wonder why electric car fires are so impressive, and whether these fires are more common than those in internal combustion cars.

A new Tesla fire has made headlines in various media. A situation that can quickly become stressful. The video below is even more impressive when we see the driver smashing the window of his Tesla Model Y on May 22, 2022. He didn’t know how to open the door manually, a reminder. it’s always interesting.

There’s no need to look far, the fires of electric cars They are highly publicized, we see them everywhere. They are often very powerful and ultraviolent since lithium ion batteries are very energy dense. They burn violently and persistently. The growing popularity of electric cars is forcing firefighters to deal with fires of unprecedented and spectacular violence and tenacity.

rare fires

It is still difficult to find figures that correctly reveal the reality of things. According to the calculations ofEZ car insurancewho compiled the figures for a large study of the National Transportation Safety Board as well as two other statistical databases from two US government agencies, hybrid vehicles (3.5% fire rate) are twice as likely to catch fire as internal combustion vehicles (which have a rate of fire of 1.5%), and 140 times more than all-electric vehicles (which have a rate of fire of 0.025%).

Explained another way, there are 1,530 gasoline and diesel car fires per 100,000 units. For electric cars, this figure goes up to just 25.1that is, a risk of combustion divided by more than 60. On the contrary, hybrid cars register 3,474 fires per 100,000 units.

Flash and persistent fires

What explains the significant media coverage of electric car fires is not only tied to the very virulent groups of electric car haters. Electric car fires are sudden, stubborn, and impressive. Although the data shows that the fires electric are not as common as fires gasdoes not mean they are less dangerous.

(…) fires from lithium-ion batteries in electric cars are much more difficult to put out

In fact, lithium-ion battery fires in electric cars are much more difficult to put out than gas fires, and most firefighters don’t know how to put out relatively new EV fires. Since plug-in vehicle batteries are essentially their own fuel source, they can burn for hours and be extremely difficult for firefighters to cool down.

Even when an electric vehicle fire appears to be out, it can reignite, which is why it is so important that firefighters are trained to put out fires in new hybrid and electric vehicles.

Where do the fires come from?

What makes a car catch fire? Although a fire can be caused by just one thing, such as a battery exploding, it is more likely that several factors caused the fire.

In older vehicles, the wiring and batteries begin to deteriorate, putting them at greater risk of catching fire in the event of an accident. Since most electric vehicles are not yet as old as older ICE vehicles, there is currently no data on whether they will be at increased risk of electrical and battery explosions as they age.

However, electric vehicles present a risk of battery fire due to overcharging and high temperatures, a risk gasoline car owners need not worry about.

Some defects are attributable to battery suppliers rather than manufacturers. It is still necessary to identify the source of the fire… Unfortunately, very often, it is difficult to clearly identify the origin of these fires because the battery is located on the floor of the car. When it starts to catch fire… the traces of the origin of the fire have disappeared.

What to do in case of fire

It is best to avoid trying to put out the fire yourself. Instead, simply get out of the vehicle and move a safe distance away in the event of an explosion. Call for help and let the professionals take care of it, especially if it is an electric vehicle fire.

The first thing is to check where the manual opening system is located in the vehicle user manual. For Model 3 and Y doors, the command to operate is similar. The trigger is placed at the level of the window openings, then it is enough to lift the plastic block so that the door opens manually.

Source: Numerama

However, be careful, the user manual specifies that this solution should not be used outside of power cuts, repeated use damages the entire opening system. The Tesla community has even made some videos to give advice in an emergency.

It is also important to know where the vehicle’s emergency stop system is located. Check the presence of this option in your vehicle, always in the manual. On the Tesla touchscreen, tap “Controls” > “Security” > “Power Off”. Wait at least two minutes without interacting with the vehicle. If you ever started it by mistake… After two minutes, press the brake pedal or open the door to activate the vehicle.

Source: Frandroid


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