Are EVs Safer Than Combustion Engine Vehicles?

Tesla is again drawing attention. British television and stage director Michael Morris drove his Tesla Model S on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood when a couple in another car flagged him down and told him to pull over because his car was in fire. Although the cause of the fire is still unknown, police is investigating the battery. This again raises the question how safe are lithium-ion batteries, especially taking into account previous Tesla accidents with batteries which were caught in fire after crashes or after the car ran over debris in the road. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lithium is a highly reactive alkaline metal that doesn't have any concern in liberating more energy making a bond with oxygen or carbon.

Bateries will neve be as safe as hydrocarbons as a storage medium for energy because hydrocarbons liberate energy in presence of oxygen, while a battery have's the fuel and the oxidizer in a single capsule, lithium electron travels from the lithium atom to the carbon atom, and while it does it liberates electricity. Batteries will always be more like a bomb than to a fuel tank. At least until aluminium sulfur batteries work well

Of course you can make driving an EV cleaner if your electrical grid is Nuclear, Hydro, Geothermal, Tidal and wind+pumped storage

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every EV fire seems to be reported in the media giving the impression that EV are prone to start burning and less safer than ICE.

A battery-powered vehicle having a fire incident is newsworthy. A gasoline-powered vehicle having a fire is newsworthy only if it stops traffic.   (Steven Risser, leading expert in electric vehicle fire risk and senior research leader at Battelle)

But ICE fires are as frequent or even more frequent than EV fires if we look at the available data.. U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 152,300 automobile fires per year in the 2006-2010 time period. These fires caused an average of 209 civilian deaths, 764 civilian injuries, and $536 million in direct property damage. Virtually all of those fires involved gasoline powered cars. That works out to about one every three minutes.

Tesla claims that gasoline powered cars are about 11 times more likely to catch fire than a Tesla. It says the best comparison is fires per 1 billion miles driven. It says the 300,000 Teslas on the road have been driven a total of 7.5 billion miles, and about 40 fires have been reported. That works out to five fires for every billion miles traveled, compared to a rate of 55 fires per billion miles traveled in gasoline cars.

But as Riesser said still there's not enough data to make valid comparisons at this point.

 

Another point is the intensity of EV fires. EV fires are more difficult to put down than ICE fires. While firefighters know how to handle gasoline fires, these personnel are not as well-trained in dealing with electrical emission hazards. With a gasoline fire, they know if they get enough water on it, it'll go out,. But with a deep-seated fire, it's hard to spray the water deep enough into the battery to stop the fire. There is also a risk of reignition and crashed EV's should be put into quarantine for 48 hours to remove the chances of reignition

But on the other side, EV fires start more slowly giving more time to the driver and the passengers to leave the car.

 

In the coming years improvements in the battery design should reduce the risks of battery fire and insert more efficient firewalls to prevent the fire to expand from one cell to another causing a chain reaction.

There is way more room to improve the young EV technology than the old gasoline car still burning after more than one century on the roads.

So we don't really know if the EV's are already safer now but for sure they will be safer in the coming years.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a Tesla accident recently where the batteries were still catching fire six days after the accident.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, HermitMunster said:

There was a Tesla accident recently where the batteries were still catching fire six days after the accident.

Once the casing is broken then you need to stop oxygen getting to it. Either let it burn or dump it in a tank of diesel. I recall in chemistry Sodium & Calcium were stored in parafin. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, NickW said:

Once the casing is broken then you need to stop oxygen getting to it. Either let it burn or dump it in a tank of diesel. I recall in chemistry Sodium & Calcium were stored in parafin. 

Per NHTSA data from 2015, there are around 17,000 car accidents/day in the U.S. Now imagine if only say, 5% of those accidents have exploding lithium ion batteries attached to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, HermitMunster said:

Per NHTSA data from 2015, there are around 17,000 car accidents/day in the U.S. Now imagine if only say, 5% of those accidents have exploding lithium ion batteries gasoline attached to it.

Lithium Battery fires are quite slow compared to an exploding gasoline tank. 

Neither is risk free. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, NickW said:

Lithium Battery fires are quite slow compared to an exploding gasoline tank. 

Neither is risk free. 

The lithium ion batteries seem to explode at the slightest disturbance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, NickW said:

Lithium Battery fires are quite slow compared to an exploding gasoline tank. 

Neither is risk free. 

Another great reason to drive a Volkswagen clean diesel!  😀😀

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

Another great reason to drive a Volkswagen clean diesel!  😀😀

Long term kill that - all them extra particulates and NOX 😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, HermitMunster said:

The lithium ion batteries seem to explode at the slightest disturbance.

The evidence would appear to be suggesting otherwise - at least in terms of incidence of fires. 

From Guilaumes post:

Tesla claims that gasoline powered cars are about 11 times more likely to catch fire than a Tesla. It says the best comparison is fires per 1 billion miles driven. It says the 300,000 Teslas on the road have been driven a total of 7.5 billion miles, and about 40 fires have been reported. That works out to five fires for every billion miles traveled, compared to a rate of 55 fires per billion miles traveled in gasoline cars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0