Why Tesla, GM And Other EV Companies Have A Fire Problem

Electric vehicles provide a path toward a greener future, but they can be especially dangerous when they catch fire. While car fires are nothing new and internal combustion engine car fires are also a problem, lithium-ion battery fires are extremely volatile and challenging to put out, and there are few resources out there to help firefighters. In addition, car makers like GM, Ford, Hyundai and Tesla have had to do costly recalls due to fire risk. CNBC explores how automakers and firefighters are going to deal with EV’s fire problem.

With the future of automobiles undeniably electric, the while they provide a path towards reduced emissions, evs the united states, parking structures in europe and in if that vehicles in your garage and it’s charging and this problem occurs, it will likely take the car and the in 2020 alone, there were 173,000 highway vehicle fires, 1,500 injuries and $1.6 billion in

Property damage in the u.s. but when an ev catches on fire, it’s a different story. lithium-ion batteries are extremely volatile and incredibly there was really nothing even left of the shell of the vehicle. and little education is out there to help firefighters. we’re still trying to catch up with all this stuff, but it the industry has rocket launched radically ahead

Of the preparatory pieces. a lot of the time, firefighters, fire agencies are just on top of the challenges for firefighters, carmakers like gm, ford and hyundai have had to do massive recalls, so the cnbc explores how automakers and firefighters are going to over the years, lithium-ion batteries have seen significant and while this has enabled more powerful batteries, it

Made you had to do lots of things to optimize it, one of them was to reduce the space between the two electrodes, but as you get closer and closer to each other, the chances of short increases. a key ingredient in batteries is liquid organic electrolyte, and it could get into what’s called a thermal runaway situation where it just starts boiling the liquid and it results in

A fire. today’s batteries are very safe, and for large ones, such as those in evs, cells are meticulously controlled through a it has to maintain the right operating temperature for the battery. then within that operating temperature range, the other aspect of it is how fast does it charge or discharge. but there are rare instances where defects or damage cause issues.

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We don’t know the exact frequency of failure for lithium-ion cells. we assume it’s somewhere between one and 10 million and one in 40 million. battery electric vehicle fires can happen due to defects in architecture. the battery pack design matters and so does and when they’re fully charged, that’s when they’re the most dangerous. think of it as a fuel tank. if you

Have a fuel tank in a standard combustion engine and it is completely full and you develop a fire, you have a lot of fuel load, you’re going internal combustion engine vehicles continued to have issues. vehicle fires accounted for 16 percent of the 1.3 million fires reported to u.s. fire departments. most of these are caused by mechanical or but non-crash fires, those

That occur when a vehicle is idle or not in use, are extremely uncommon overall. there’s only about one claim for every 10,000 insured experts are still trying to determine non-crash ev fire incident rates. the data that we’ve looked at so far doesn’t indicate that we need a lot of them and we need a lot of old ones in vehicles. a model s plaid burst into flames earlier

This according to the lower merion fire department in pennsylvania, copious amounts of water were poured on the vehicle for over two hours in order to extinguish the fire chas mcgarvey’s department responded to the pennsylvania tesla fire. we actually had to lay a supply line, the street line, to feed our engines, and we had two inch and three quarters going trying to

Extinguish this fire and it doesn’t go out right away. it definitely burns a lot hotter and a lot quicker. for most fire departments, they are confronting ev fires for the first time. ev fires require different tactics to effectively fight them. gas you put water on top of the engine or the interior plastics. with an electric vehicle, you have the interior plastics,

For water to be able to cool the bottom of the battery. you have to get it under about 260 degrees fahrenheit. the big problem is the accessibility of the batteries, the cells inside the battery, because they’re usually held within a steel case and they form the chassis of the car, a number of european cities have adopted a strategy of these battery pack chemical fires

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Can emit dangerous smoke and gases. it releases two contents in the smoke that we have to be aware of. of the incidents we researched, just under 90 percent the gases that were venting from the traction battery ignited and in about 10 percent of cases, the vapors coming from and the battery packs can reignite up to several days later. all it takes is for a little bit of

Metal in that battery to short circuit. in some instances, the fires have spread to other vehicles. evs are particularly vulnerable when charging and in close in china, they lost 55 busses in one amusement park’s electric, they were on chargers, one caught fire and it not all the manufacturers have up to date and current quick the guides are very good at being kind of an

All-inclusive the challenges occur when things happen to the vehicle that the educational campaigns for the fire service, the resource capabilities for the fire service and then the funding for the education and the resource capabilities, none of that’s intact yet. and with an ever-changing environment, it is hard to keep up there is not really stringent federal regulatory

Components in place right now regarding the batteries placed in evs. you’ve got this whole kind of supply chain of people that are potentially at risk until that vehicle is is broken up and scrapped. whether you are a legacy automaker getting into battery electrics or you’re a startup making battery electric vehicles and new types of them, it’s going to be expensive.

Automakers are already struggling with scaling ev production. in august 2021, gm recalled its bolt electric vehicle, the result of issues with battery maker lg chem’s pouch they have now expanded that recall to fix two potential those potential defects will impact 73,000 additional vehicles. they didn’t want to take the risk that any driver could however, this problem is

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By no means limited to the bolt. bmw, ford, hyundai, mitsubishi and, of course, tesla. within the last year, general motors, hyundai and ford have tesla has tried to minimize battery related recalls, however, this led to a lawsuit for throttling the range and in the united states that settled out, and they got sued for automakers are starting to explore different battery

Chemistries and approaches that could reduce fire risk and tesla recently announced it is switching more of its it does not go to as high of a voltage, so it tends not to have as high of an energy density as the other batteries. but at the same point, because it doesn’t go to as high systems, two at least, that involved lfp batteries that have researchers are working on

Technologies that could reduce or hope around new solid state battery development, but those every automotive company who’s doing electric vehicles has a play in the solid state battery, and they either are developing themselves or they’re investing in companies that issue we had with safety or flammable liquid is just completely removed. but also at the same time results

In batteries, which can have much higher energy density and also can have much 2028 sort of in that time frame, you will start seeing we are just starting to scratch the surface of how much infrastructure, networking and support needs to be in place. the new infrastructure bill is all about electric vehicles, electric future. what we need is in that bill to reflect the

Need for training, and it is important for the public to be aware of the risks. we’re going to have to figure out how to deal with this, and most of that responsibility falls on automakers and battery we’ve had a long time to fully understand the risks and we’re going to have to learn faster how to deal with the challenges with electric vehicles, but we will.

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Why Tesla, GM And Other EV Companies Have A Fire Problem By CNBC