There have been a number of incidents where electric vehicles have caught fire which has led to many sensational reports (and some costly recalls), but a new one from California has raised major concerns.
Although EVs are actually at risk of catching fire in the car, when they go up, they are very difficult to control. A Tesla showed it burned to the ground after sitting in a racking yard for just three weeks.
When a battery-electric vehicle feels a thermal escape and catches fire, it is incredibly difficult to stop. In some cases, a single battery cell can cause such an escape because it also triggers overheating of the cells around it. In the case of this particular Tesla, the accident in which it landed at Scrap Yard was not reported to have involved battery damage or fire.
The Sacramento Metro Fire car was already completely engulfed in flames and arrived at the scene. Despite having all the usual equipment at hand, they could not put out the fire completely without taking serious measures. This includes making a hole, placing Tesla in it and then filling it with water to cool the hot material to a stable temperature.
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Picture of a crew hole … pic.twitter.com/BVnhxA2aOt
– Sacramento Metro Fire (metrofirepio) June 12, 2022
It stopped the fire and the fire department went on to clarify what they knew about the situation: “The car had been parked in a racking yard for 3 weeks after a car accident (fire not involved) and then caught fire in the yard. Our crew was dispatched, and it was confirmed that the vehicle had been extinguished after more than an hour of firefighting. “
Exactly how this fire started has not been reported and it is unlikely that we will ever know for sure because of the extensive damage. Many companies are working hard to make batteries that greatly reduce the chances of escaping the heat.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident. Although EVs, in general, are quite safe in the event of a fire, it will be interesting to see how fire departments adapt to this new challenge over time. We suspect that making a hole and moving vehicles would be an effective solution in most cases.