When compared to gasoline and hybrid vehicles, electric cars have the lowest number of fires per 100,000 sales. Though electric car fires occur least frequently, they burn longer and hotter than other fires. Learn why these fires occur, how to extinguish them, and safeguards you can put in place.

Why Electric Car Fires Occur 

Electric vehicles are powered by lithium-ion batteries. Most frequently, electric car fires ignite from the battery. There are two main reasons why these fires break out: manufacturing errors and an over-stressed battery, from factors such as over-vibration or electrical shorts.

The Impact of Hurricanes

Millions of Americans were impacted by hurricanes this year. A latent danger of these storms is the impact flooding has had on electric vehicle batteries. Lithium-ion batteries that have been submerged in saltwater run the risk of developing a high-voltage electrical fire. In addition to this, when these batteries are damaged by salty floodwaters, heat, force, corrosion or other chemical reactions, they run the risk of heating up uncontrollably and exploding. It’s been recommended that anyone who owns an electric vehicle that was potentially damaged in hurricanes this year, have their vehicle towed away.

How They Are Extinguished

While any type of car fire is dangerous, electric car fires tend to burn longer and hotter than most. Unfortunately, not many fire departments are adequately trained or equipped with the necessary special agents to extinguish them. Lithium-ion battery fires can take thousands of gallons of water to put out. With a governmental call for half of all new vehicles to be zero-emission by the year 2030, it will be necessary to greatly improve safety protocols for firefighters.

Minimize Your Risk

While electric car fires cannot always be avoided, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of a fire occurring in your vehicle. 

  • Wait until your vehicle battery has cooled down before charging.
  • Only use the battery specifically designed for your vehicle.
  • Avoid leaving disconnected batteries in direct sunlight, hot vehicles, or wet areas.
  • Regularly inspect your battery for any damage or signs of corrosion.
  • Invest in a safety kit designed for electric vehicles.

Fire Systems, Inc.

If you are a business that offers electric vehicle chargers for your employees/patrons, it’s imperative to realize the risk these chargers impose, and to be prepared should a fire occur. If you are unsure whether or not your business is prepared to battle electric car fires, Fire Systems, Inc. can help! 

Atlanta-based Fire Systems, Inc. has been family owned and operated since 1986. Our highly trained technicians can design, install, maintain and even monitor every aspect of your facility’s fire protection system. Take the first step towards ultimate fire protection by visiting our website or giving us a call today at 770-333-7979.