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Friday, September 29, 2023

EV battery fires uncommon, however on Australian Authorities’s agenda

The Australian Authorities’s just lately printed Nationwide Electrical Car Technique focuses on big-ticket points like growing EV provide and fleet uptake, whereas plugging charging infrastructure gaps.

However different points are lined as nicely, based mostly on a whole lot of submissions from corporations and analysis our bodies: for instance the danger of an EV-related fireplace involving lithium-ion batteries.

The federal government subsequently floated a plan to fund “world-leading steerage, EV highway rescue demonstrations, and fireplace security coaching to handle security and threat data gaps round EVs, chargers and battery know-how”.

Whereas uncommon, spectacular footage of EV battery fires and remembers of standard EVs as a consequence of fireplace dangers similar to this one and this one have captured public consideration and led to misconceptions about how widespread they’re.

The problem of EV fires (thermal runaway occasions) has additionally precipitated concern for the United Firefighters Union of Australia, and led Melbourne-based charging supplier JET Cost to name for nationwide requirements addressing fireplace security necessities within the constructed setting,

One Australian firm deeply concerned on this area is EV FireSafe, which retains a database of verifiable worldwide passenger EV battery fires and tracks emergency response strategies that work.

The corporate attracts funding from the Australian Division of Defence, and has been referenced by the Australian Fireplace Businesses Council, Fireplace Safety Analysis Basis (US), and the Nationwide Fireplace Chief’s Council (UK).

We spoke with venture director Emma Sutcliffe, who had simply returned from a analysis journey to a number of European conferences specializing in the problems round EV fires.

“EV battery fires are very uncommon, however current new challenges and dangers for the worldwide emergency response neighborhood, and we’re nonetheless figuring out handle these incidents,” Ms Sutcliffe mentioned, including no fireplace company globally had printed related customary working procedures.

Her organisation publishes common updates detailing its database of worldwide EV fires, with a number of attention-grabbing findings as of April 30 of 2023 together with:

  • EV FireSafe has verified 375 EV traction battery fires and is investigating an extra 87. To offer this context, greater than 10 million electrical vehicles had been offered worldwide in 2022 in keeping with the Worldwide Power Company.
  • The vast majority of these fires occurred after 2019.
  • The primary causes of thermal runaway and ignition or explosion so as are collisions and particles, an OEM battery fault, water submersion, workshop error, arson, an exterior fireplace, and overheating.
  • One incident describes a tow ball falling off a truck and hitting the underside of an EV, resulting in battery fireplace.
  • 95 per cent of EV battery fires had been ignition occasions with jet-like directional flames, with the remaining 5 per cent being a vapour cloud explosion normally in an enclosed area.
  • Of this set of incidents, 31 per cent had been of vehicles parked outdoors, 29 per cent had been vehicles driving outdoors, 24 per cent had been in an enclosed area, and 16 per cent had been unknown.
  • Solely 18 per cent of complete EV battery fireplace incidents occurred whereas the automotive was linked to a charger, with an extra 5 per cent disconnected from the charger inside 10 minutes of the fireplace.

“… EVs are far much less prone to catch fireplace than ICE [vehicles], nonetheless they’re clearly newer autos so we’re watching to see if that modifications over time,” she cautioned.

“We work with a worldwide community of fireside and battery specialists, and I significantly love that so many are keen and enthusiastic to brazenly share data.”

Particular to Australia, Ms Sutcliffe claims “there have been solely 4 passenger EV battery fires that we’re conscious of in Australia”, three of which had been parked in constructions that burned down and took the EVs with them, and one which was linked to arson.

“Our actual threat is mild EVs – e-bikes, scooters and skateboards – that are destroying properties, killing and injuring folks world wide on an almost-daily foundation,” Ms Sutcliffe added.

In its submission to the Nationwide EV Technique, EV FireSafe took purpose at what it referred to as “anti-EV sentiment being pushed by mainstream and social media into emergency circles, main responders to imagine EV battery fires happen ceaselessly, are not possible to handle and that EVs linked to charging or concerned in a collision pose a excessive threat of electrocution”.

“This media bias is significantly impacting emergency responder confidence in EVs, and responder security when managing incidents involving EVs. Nascent EV analysis and testing applications can not but present all solutions and should be urgently supported,” it added.

The corporate has referred to as for actions similar to EV emergency response guides written to ISO 17840 requirements, a nationwide rollout of blue ‘EV’ badging, highway rescue demonstrations, an emergency response information database, on-line classes for emergency companies, and the funding of an EV coaching prop.

Then there’s the problem of best-practise responses, provides Ms Sutcliffe.

“Think about incident administration: can we cool the battery with water which takes a very long time, submerge it in a water bathtub which is pricey, troublesome and never really useful by any EV producer, or can we let it burn out and take away the stranded power threat?” she mentioned.

There’s additionally the problem of what OEMs can do, with examples on this area being Renault’s fitment of a water inlet to the battery pack. New chemistries may additionally assist, for instance the proliferation of extra secure lithium iron phosphate packs in BYDs and Teslas.

In response to Ms Sutcliffe, EV drivers might help hold emergency responders safer by not driving or charging their EV if:

  • They’ve been concerned in a collision (ring the producer and get recommendation, she says)
  • It’s been submerged in water, similar to flood water
  • It’s been recalled by the producer

When putting in dwelling EV charging, make sure the wallbox has the RCM Tick {of electrical} compliance, that it’s put in to ASNZ3000 wiring guidelines by a professional electrician, and examine it for put on and tear commonly.

MORE ON THIS: Firefighters nonetheless battle to defeat EV fires successfully

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