EVs and fires

Old 10-05-23, 05:26 AM
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Question EVs and fires

I am considering an EV (or PHEV) purchase but I am a bit concerned about the headlines highlighting the supposed dangers of the batteries that can catch on fire pretty quickly during an accident. Is it accurate data - are EV batteries more of a fire hazard than the gasoline in regular cars?
Old 10-05-23, 06:22 AM
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If it fits your needs I would not let that stop you from buying one while they may make the headlines but manufacturers can only do so much to protect the battery or fuel tank in a collision and occasionally there will be fires and the fact that they may be very difficult to extinguish may give them a lot more attention than a gas vehicle that was extinguished quickly and towed away from an accident.
I think I would be more concerned about the ones that catch fire charging due to a defective battery myself.
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Old 10-05-23, 06:24 AM
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I'll tell you one thing, I would never park one in my attached garage.
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Old 10-05-23, 06:31 AM
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I am not a firefighter, nor an expert. So do you own research and come to your own conclusions. Here is an article from Family Handyman that discusses the rates of fires for different vehicles. It might be a good place to start.

Yes, lithium fires are very hot and EXTREMELY difficult to put out. This summer a car carrier caught fire near the Netherlands. Even after a month burning and fire fighting efforts some of the electric vehicles were still burning. They brought in a dunk tank and submerge the entire car to extinguish the fire. When they burn there isn't much gray area. It generally goes straight to very bad.

That said gasoline and diesel powered vehicles also catch fire sorta frequently. The fire is much easier to put out, if you can believe a gasoline & oil fire is easy to extinguish, but it's still a hot, intense fire. The root cause of fires for traditional vehicles and electrics is different but they both catch fire. I'm sure you've seen a burning car by the highway at some time or at least on the news and it most likely was gasoline or diesel powered.

One thing I've always believed is that maintenance is important. Things properly maintained and operated rarely catch fire. Use it improperly and don't take care of it and the chance of fire increases.
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Old 10-05-23, 08:53 AM
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I have a number of friends and neighbors that have EVs (mostly Teslas, but also Volvos, Lexus & BMW) and I think 99% of what we see in the news about EV fires is purposely hyped up to attract interest. On any given day where I live I can see about 30 Teslas just out driving to a restaurant for dinner and back.

There's lots of stories out there to intentionally cause raised eyebrows, added discussions and hits for websites whether it's about EV fires, various brands of gas powered vehicles having recalls and instructions to park outside, or stories about broccolli or ice cream that is contaminated or talcum powder that will kill you.

I personally would have no problem owning an EV if it met my needs.

I've got a Lexus Hybrid that is wonderful; 33+ mpg with 5 second 0-60mph acceleration and I don't have to worry about charging.

Last edited by Kooter; 10-05-23 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 10-06-23, 09:46 PM
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Gas and diesel vehicle can usually be controlled pretty fast with dry chemicals or foam to smother the flames. A lithium fire cannot be smothered.

As mentioned... I wouldn't charge one in my garage.
Probably not even keep it in my garage.

Not to get to far off topic......
I cannot understand why hybrids aren't even discussed today.
I can see them bridging the gap for the next ten years.

I'm concerned about shortened battery run time due to heating in the northern cold.
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Old 10-09-23, 08:33 AM
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Saw a video of an EV lawnmower suddenly bursting into flames at a lawn equipment show.

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