Here at Prosol UK we’ve spent the last five years learning all about EV fires, not only because they directly relate to the products and equipment we supply to provide safe working with EVs, but also because it’s a very interesting topic!
The main risks
As more and more drivers choose to switch to electric vehicles (almost 22,000 pure electric vehicles were registered in November 2021, more than double the number registered in the same month in 2020), the chances of actually experiencing an EV fire obviously increase in direct proportion. Whilst EV fires are relatively rare, when they do happen they can be highly dangerous for several different reasons.
The main risk with an EV fire is the very fact that the fire burns at a much higher temperature than a petrol or diesel car fire. Let’s explain the reasons why that’s a particular issue and concern for anyone working with, handling or even driving an EV.
Blame the battery
The most common form of fire in electric and hybrid vehicles is either a damaged high energy battery or a manufacturing fault that creates a short circuit. As such, a fire can literally start with zero external input. One minute the car is fine, the next it’s on fire and that can happen very quickly.
If an EV battery is affected in either of these ways, it can lead to a phenomenon known as ‘thermal runaway’. The damaged cells in the battery heat up extremely rapidly, and to such an extent, that a fire starts. Unchecked, this fire will quickly compromise adjoining cells to create a domino effect through the entire battery group. What’s more, electrolytes in the lithium-ion battery contain hydrocarbon solvents serve to fuel the resulting fire and create extreme temperatures of over 1,200°C.
It is impossible to extinguish thermal runaway fires by conventional means so the objective is to minimise combustion potential by depriving the fire of oxygen. The best way to achieve this is with a Prosol Electric Vehicle Fire Blanket.
As well as the difficulties and dangers associated with actually controlling an EV fire, the organic chemicals that are produced from the fire, including highly toxic gases like carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, can be fatal to both humans and animals. The fumes and smoke generated by an EV fire can prevent firefighters from tackling the blaze particularly if it is in an enclosed area such as a garage or underground carpark.
At the same time, due to the explosive nature of an EV fire, surrounding vehicles are likely to be affected. There are numerous accounts of one EV fire spreading to neighbouring EVs and causing a major incident. So, limiting the damage and risks associated with EV fires is an ongoing area of development for everyone associated with the automotive industry.
Deploying an Electric Vehicle Fire Blanket
As outlined, one of the ways in which EV car fires can be mitigated is with the early deployment of an EV Car Fire Blanket. Seeing first-hand how much damage and destruction an EV fire can create, our R&D team has been working tirelessly to develop the Prosol Electric Vehicle FireBlanket.
Specifically designed to contain electric and hybrid vehicle fires, the Prosol Electric Vehicle Fire Blanket will inhibit any EV car battery fire by rapidly reducing the temperature of the fire and thereby limiting potential damage to proximate vehicles and property.
Weighing 25kg and measuring 48m2, the Prosol Electric Vehicle Fire Blanket can quickly and easily be deployed by two people and is supplied in a robust, waterproof storage holdall.
The Prosol Electric Vehicle Fire Blanket is an essential item of health & safety equipment for dealing with electric and hybrid vehicle fires should they ever occur in your garage, workshop, compound, carpark or dealership.