ICE automobiles have 4x greater fireplace danger than EVs however fireplace fighters say EV fires are extra harmful, here is why


The subject of fires involving battery electrical automobiles (BEVs or battery EVs) is a delicate one. It annoys EV fans as a result of studies of fires involving EVs are typically overly sensationalized by the media – which is true.

If a Proton or a Perodua catches fireplace, it’s not a information that many will share on their social feeds. Conversely, if an EV catches fireplace, you possibly can make certain that consideration grabbing headlines will observe.

The extra fanatical worshippers of Elon Musk say that that is a part of an anti-EV conspiracy by the legacy automakers- and oil industry-funded media. Properly on this age of Echo Chamber Impact algorithm-driven customized social media feeds, individuals select to imagine what they wish to imagine.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 01

Why EV fires are sensationalized by the media?

The straightforward reality is that society normalizes the intense – an everyday automobile on fireplace for instance – however pay nice consideration to outliers, issues they don’t seem to be used to seeing. EVs are outliers and the general public loves a “Hah, nonetheless assume you’re higher than everybody else?” impact {that a} burning EV brings to EV lobbyists and followers – whose very vocal calls for for particular privileges are sometimes perceived by most of the people as being delusional and elitist.

EQ and PR 101 – if you wish to make mates and win assist to your trigger, do not create distance between your self and others.

The media can not lead public sentiment, no less than not anymore on this age of social media. It’s only a mirrored image of what the general public desires to see so when a specific matter captures the eye of many, media shops will inevitably interact in one-upmanship with their rival publications to cowl the subject, with more and more controversial headlines and images. The top result’s the demonization of EVs each time an EV catches fireplace. It isn’t due to any anti-EV conspiracy funded by oil corporations, or the favorite whipping boy of EV fanatics – Toyota, however as a result of that is the conclusion that the general public desires to see.

Step away from EVs for a second. The general public is numbed with studies of yet-another-death after a automobile crash as a result of society accepts it, but when a toddler dies in class, there can be an uproar, though dad and mom’ failure (together with the critics themselves) to make use of little one seats are the main reason behind dying of youngsters in any nation that’s not at warfare. The trending matter can be performed up for no less than 3 days, the general public will demand for blood providing to appease their anger, earlier than transferring on to one thing extra fascinating to remark and fulfill their urge to roleplay as subject material consultants on.

That is the truth of the free content material, social media-driven world, and everybody of you voted for this actuality as a result of no one desires to pay for subscription.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 02

About 5 years in the past, many automobile parks in Korea refused to permit BMW diesels into their premises due to many studies of BMWs catching fireplace

Going again to the subject of EV fires, Korea affords an fascinating case examine as a result of two automobile corporations – one ICE, one battery EV – had been topics of intense investigations by Korean security regulators following a spate of fires involving their automobiles. The primary was BMW’s diesel-powered fashions in 2018, the second was Hyundai in 2021, when its Kona EV was discovered to have defective LG Chem batteries that result in fires.

Since each captured the eye of the general public, the Korean fireplace division and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the latter oversees car recollects, have made data on vehicle-related fires public.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 03

Your ICE automobile has better fireplace danger than an EV, however….

The primary reported case of an EV catching fireplace was in 2017, and since then the Korean fireplace division has responded to 83 EV fires. In that very same interval, there have been 27,727 fires involving ICE automobiles. EV blogs typically bounce in at this level and say that fires with ICE automobiles are 100, however it is a deeply flawed conclusion as a result of it does not consider their relative car inhabitants dimension.

Korea has 25.7 million registered automobiles as of 2022, of which solely round 300,000 are battery EVs. This interprets to a 0.11% fireplace incidence price ICE automobiles and 0.03% for battery EVs. In different phrases, ICE automobiles are practically 4x extra more likely to catch fireplace than EVs, however definitely not 100x extra as some EV evangelists say.

However the information additionally must be framed in context – the typical age of an ICE car is quite a bit older, and much more diverse, together with industrial automobiles that function for for much longer hours on a regular basis, typically below excessive driving circumstances. In the meantime. battery EVs fashions are typicaly lower than 10 years previous, are normally privately-owned automobiles, pushed in far much less demanding circumstances, protecting shorter distances.

Additionally, fireplace fighters don’t imagine in their very own statistics, as a result of they know that theoratical stats oversimplify the complexity of the problem.

The issue with EV fires shouldn’t be how typically they occur, however how tough it’s to place them out

Fireplace fighters hate battery EVs as a result of though EVs have decrease fireplace dangers, they will nonetheless catch fireplace and once they do, it’s extremely tough to place them out. In reality, there isn’t a approach to put out an EV fireplace. You are able to do your finest to supress the hearth, however the EV will burn once more hours later.

There’s just one approach to put out an EV fireplace – which is to briefly snuff it out, after which discover a approach to shortly transfer the car to a secure flat floor to dunk it right into a pool of water or depart it to burn itself out in an open discipline (and emitting extra poisonous fumes).

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 04

New fire-fighting strategies like fire-retardant blankets are being developed, however that is solely short-term fireplace suppressant measure.

A brand new era of lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) know-how popularized by BYD’s Blade Battery is meant to dramatically lower fireplace dangers, as are strong state batteries which Toyota is engaged on however industrial viability continues to be years away.

To be clear, hybrids additionally current comparable challenges, however as a result of their excessive voltage battery is simply 50 instances to 100 instances smaller, at lower than 1 kWh, it’s nonetheless manageable with current fireplace preventing instruments. Plug-in hybrids nevertheless, with their bigger circa 10 kWh to twenty kWh battery dimension current greater dangers.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 05

That is the one approach to completely put out an EV fireplace

Korea is a serious producer of EVs however the Nationwide Fireplace Company laments that solely 3 out of the 18 fireplace division headquarters in Korea are outfitted with an open-top water tank to dunk a smouldering EV into. Of better concern is that fireplace departments in Seoul and Jeju Island, each sizzling spots for EV gross sales, don’t have such gear.

A fireplace involving an ICE car could be shortly put it out by a single fireplace truck in a matter of minutes, utilizing round 1,000 litres of water, however a burning EV wants 100,000 litres of water sprayed over a interval of 72 hours, requiring the assist of many extra fireplace vehicles.

To regulate a current EV fireplace that occurred in Jeju final month, involving a Chevy Bolt (video above), fireplace fighters sprayed 22 tons of water to chill the Perodua Myvi-sized EV, and that is after placing out the preliminary fireplace earlier than towing it to a secure place to allow them to setup a makeshift pool.

On 7-December, a Tesla Mannequin X caught fireplace in a Tesla service centre in Seoul (video beneath). It took 13 fireplace vehicles – together with 5 water tank vehicles and 6 pump vehicles – and 52 fireplace fighters, excluding different rescue operation automobiles and paramedics, greater than 3 hours to place out the hearth!

Additionally, fireplace fighters must hint the ignition supply of any fireplace as a result of they will start put it out however since battery cells are hid inside a protecting case, it’s not possible to do visible assessments. The situation of the battery additionally differs from one EV to a different.

Keep in mind that fireplace fighters must work with mangled automobiles, typically in harmful positions, with occupants trapped inside. This can be very tough to establish the make and mannequin when all they will see are 4 wheels dealing with the sky, typically resting on unstable floor. With out figuring out its make or mannequin, fireplace fighters can’t inform if the car’s battery is situated below the ground pan, below the rear seat, or below the boot ground, or the place is the grasp fuse to chop energy provide.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 06

Are we critically anticipating our Abang Bomba to confer with laptops / smartphones for each EV fireplace? Sure, sadly this can quickly be the brand new actuality. Picture supply

You possibly can inform if an engine is operating. With an EV, fireplace fighters don’t have any approach to inform if it’s secure to chop open the automobile to rescue the individuals trapped inside, as a result of excessive voltage cables snake inside the automobile’s physique.

Fireplace fighters can simply assess the hearth danger of an ICE car as a result of they will see and odor gas, however electrical energy is invisible. The issue applies to common hybrids too.

Producers have tried to assist fireplace fighters by inserting QR codes in key areas fireplace fighters are educated to first look. However critically, do you anticipate a fireplace fighter sporting protecting gloves, working below extreme time strain and thermal dangers, to someway whip out his cellphone to scan a QR code, load a pdf file, and zoom in to some diagram?

Many EVs even have electrically operated, hidden door handles that come out solely when activated. They’re designed to launch in an accident, however fireplace fighters will inform you that their expertise with real-world incidences say in any other case.

On 6-December 2022, a Hyundai Ioniq 5 taxi in Yeongju, for unknown causes, accelerated in direction of a constructing and crashed into it (video above). The car caught fireplace virtually instantly and passers by mentioned they struggled to open the door to rescue the driving force as a result of the door handles stayed flushed with the physique. Failing to open the doorways they even tried to search for a launch button on the boot however that would not open both. Additionally they couldn’t break the home windows.

Whereas ready for the hearth truck to reach, residents within the space used 10 fireplace extinguishers on the automobile however nonetheless couldn’t put out the hearth. The taxi driver in his 70s died.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 07

It took 41 fireplace fighters in 13 fireplace division automobiles to place out the hearth, which burned for two hours. It isn’t an understatement that fireplace fighters actually hate EVs. So whereas ICE fires are extra frequent, the results with EVs catching fireplace is much extra extreme.

However whether or not they prefer it or not, the inhabitants of EVs will solely maintain rising, and dealing with greater dangers when battling car fires is an unlucky actuality that under-appreciated fireplace fighters everywhere in the world should cope with.

New tips / necessities from insurers, fireplace division

Though ICE automobiles catch fireplace extra typically than EVs, Korean insurers see EVs as the next danger car, and are encouraging EV charging companies suppliers to look into higher fireplace suppression strategies to include the injury ought to an EV catch fireplace whereas charging.

The Korea Expressway Company for instance, have began putting in water retention tubes that may shortly be raised to encompass a burning EV, turning it right into a makeshift pool that’s excessive sufficient to submerge the battery.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 08

This Hyundai Kona caught fireplace whereas charging at a DC quick charger in Korea

The Korean fireplace division can also be drawing tips to make water retaining barricades that may be shortly setup round a burning EV obligatory for each charging station. With out it, insurers will not pay for any injury attributable to an EV fireplace.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 09

Korean insurers and fireplace division need such detachable water obstacles a obligatory merchandise for all EV charging stations. With out it, injury claims can be rejected

Within the absence of adequate assurance, some constructing house owners are reacting in a very excessive method – by outrightly banning EVs from getting into their constructing. A constructing in Korea not too long ago went viral there as a result of its administration had put up an indication that claims EVs are banned from parking underground.

The constructing has EV charging amenities however the service has since been disabled.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 10

This signal says EVs are banned from getting into the constructing’s underground parking

The administration argues that the constructing homes a hospital and a cinema. An out-of-control fireplace spreading from its underground automobile park, an space fireplace vehicles can not entry, coupled by the constructing’s excessive human visitors, is a danger the constructing proprietor don’t wish to take.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 11

Greater fireplace dangers or not, EV gross sales will proceed to extend so we have to put together

Nonetheless, EV inhabitants will proceed to extend worldwide no matter what naysayers assume. This additionally signifies that EV-related fires will enhance proportionately, one thing that Korea is experiencing proper now as its EV inhabitants crossed the 300,000 items milestone final 12 months.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 12

Nearer to house, Bermaz is among the few, if not the one automobile firm in Malaysia that has addressed this concern in a extra severe method. Many manufacturers have performed EV fireplace and rescue strategies coaching to first responders, however most of those are mere classroom lectures.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 13

Bermaz’s BAuto Coaching College in Glenmarie, Shah Alam went past presentation slides and educated our Bomba heroes with excessive voltage handling-training simulator instruments, utilizing curriculum set by the UK’s Institute of the Motor Business (IMI), the identical coaching obtained by UK’s fireplace division.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 14

And since Bermaz sells EV fashions by Kia, Mazda, and Peugeot (coming quickly), it has additionally educated our Abang Bomba to deal with all kinds of EVs.

ICE cars have 4x higher fire risk than EVs but fire fighters say EV fires are more dangerous, here's why 15

Past first responders, tow vehicles despatched by Bermaz Roadside Help to tow EVs are outfitted with the suitable excessive voltage safety security gear, and the mandatory coaching has already been given to representatives of the towing firm.

However it is a voluntary effort by Bermaz. There’s solely a lot one firm can do. What about coaching and equipping fireplace fighters outdoors of Klang Valley? Do EV charging service suppliers in Malaysia have any fireplace prevention measures in place?

The subject of fireplace and rescue procedures involving EVs is one thing that the federal government will want to handle in tandem with its purpose to have 10,000 EV charging stations by 2025 (solely lower than 1,000 setup to date).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here