Studies have shown that electric vehicles are less prone to fires, but when they explode, they attract a lot of attention. This is especially true for high profile recalls, such as the Chevrolet Bolt and the Bolt UV.
However, LG Chem has developed a new “plastic product” designed to prevent thermal escape from EV batteries.
The company did not go into much detail, but said “the new advanced flame retardant product developed by LG Chem is a highly efficient engineering plastic product made from a variety of composites, including polyphenylene oxide (PPO) and polyamide (PA) resins.” They said the experiment showed that the product was “10 times higher than ordinary plastic at 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit) and was able to withstand the spread of fire caused by heat exposure for more than ten minutes.” LG Chem claims that it has “the longest fire-resistance performance in the world” and noted that the plastic product retains its shape under variable temperature conditions.
Also read: The study suggests that half of the U.S. Fire Department does not have a protocol for responding to EVs or hybrid fires.
This is important because the company mentions that thermal escape is the main cause of fire in EV batteries. As they explain, “different stressors can create heat in a battery cell” and “when a battery cell exceeds its temperature limit, fires can be caused by short circuits caused by factors such as overcharging and over discharging.”
Although the risk of fire can never be completely eliminated, the plastic product will give drivers and passengers more time to remove in case of a damaged and overheated battery.
Production is set to begin next year and the company is already in the process of obtaining patents in Korea, the United States and selected European countries.