June 20, 2023
Electric vehicles have gained significant fame over the past few years because of their environmental benefits, contribution to sustainability and potential to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. A transition from internal combustion vehicles to electric vehicles is approaching and as the transition to electric mobility accelerates, it is highly important to address the concerns related to EV safety, especially the risk of fires.
EVs offer multiple benefits but there have been occasional reports of fires involving these vehicles. These incidents have raised concerns amongst current and potential EV owners. Understanding the major causes of EV fires and implementing preventive measures is crucial for mitigating risks and ensuring EVs’ continued growth and acceptance. This article will explore the primary causes of EV fires and ways to avoid them.
Major Causes of EV Fires
Battery design, and packaging, in particular, can have a very large impact on EV safety. Packing refers to how you put the cells together and how you join them electrically and hold them mechanically.
When cells are packed too close to each other can create a risk of fire.
Another battery-related issue is Thermal Runaway. Thermal runaway occurs when the battery experiences a sudden and uncontrolled increase in temperature, leading to a chain reaction which can result in fire. Additionally, Overcharging the battery beyond its recommended limits can generate excessive heat and increase the risk of fire.
Electrical System faults
In addition to battery-related issues, faults with the electrical system of the EV can also contribute to fire incidents. One common issue is short circuits, which occur when there is a faulty connection between two points in the electrical circuit. This can be caused by damaged wiring, faulty connectors or physical damage to the electrical components.
These short circuits generate sparks and heat in the electrical system posing a risk of fire to flammable material close by.
External factors can play a very huge role in EV fires. Vehicle collisions or other accidents can damage the battery or electrical systems which can lead to the initiation of a fire. Bad maintenance practices such as neglecting the cooling systems of batteries or overlooking the warning signs of potential issues can also increase the likeliness of a hazard.
Ways to Avoid EV Fires
The vehicle must be charged in an appropriate way. An overheated battery pack is usually one of the main reasons for EV fires.
Choosing an appropriate vehicle
The best way to avoid an EV fire is to choose a good quality vehicle. It has been noticed that there are multiple companies in the EV market today and most of them are trying to gain a competitive advantage. In the pursuit of gaining a competitive advantage some of the companies tend to overlook the safety protocols and are launching vehicles without proper testing or research. And hence it is crucial to be conscious while choosing a vehicle.
Driving Awareness and Training
Drivers play a significant role in preventing EV fires through their behaviour and awareness. Promoting safe driving practices such as driving at a consistent speed and obeying traffic rules reduces the risk of accidents and hence reduces the risk of fire. Proper charging procedures including using approved equipment and following guidelines provided by the manufacturer also come under this.
Minimize Heat Exposure
Parking the vehicle in direct sunlight or leaving the vehicle in heated surroundings for an extended period of time can cause thermal runaways. At extreme temperatures, exothermic reactions can trigger and generate heat which can lead to fires hence it is advised to park in areas where there is shade and less heat in order to avoid fires.
In conclusion, Mitigating EV fire risks require a collective effort and a multi-faced approach. The selection of an appropriate EV model with good battery technology, adherence to manufacturer guidelines and regular maintenance are key steps. Through proactive measures and continued advancements, we can confidently embrace the benefits of EVs while minimizing the risks associated with fires.