Explained: EV Batteries Fire Catching Reasons and Prevention Tips

Posted On 17 May 2022 By Isha

Over the last month, four Electric Vehicles (EVs) caught fire and eventually emitted smoke in India, raising concerns about the safety of these E-vehicles. These events have sparked widespread concern, as summer is just beginning to arrive across the subcontinent and people are actively considering switching to electric vehicles.

All of these incidents raise one question: why do EV batteries catch fire? Subsequently, how do you avoid an EV battery fire?

To understand the issue in a better sense, we have noted down some points to provide a comprehensive look at the reasons why lithium-ion electric vehicles catch fire and how to avoid an EV battery fire.

Why Do Electric Vehicle Batteries Catch Fire?

Lithium-ion batteries typically fail for two reasons.

The first is induced by a flaw in the battery's manufacturing.

The second type of battery failure is usually because of the result of a combination of factors, such as battery stress such as vibration, an electrical short, or simply a fluke. A manufacturing flaw in a battery can cause it to catch fire. On the other hand, excessive vibration that exceeds the lithium-ion battery's handling capacity can result in a fire risk. An electrical short can also cause a fire.

Thermal Runaway in lithium-ion batteries, according to experts, is to blame for such tragic incidents. A thermal runaway not only causes fire in electric vehicles but is also difficult to extinguish.

A thermal runaway is an incident in which an exothermic process triggers other processes, resulting in an increase in temperature and, as a result, inducing fire in the battery. Thermal runaway occurs when the amount of heat generated within a battery exceeds the amount of heat drained away to its surroundings. 

In India, temperatures can reach 45 degrees, which can cause a battery fire. According to experts, more and more batteries must be produced locally and follow Indian environmental standards to prevent such incidents.

Not only is Thermal Runaway at fault, but the entire Battery Management System, because most automakers used to import batteries from China, resulting in the availability of low-quality products on the market.

EV Battery Fire Warning Signs

There are several types of warning signs that a lithium-ion battery is about to catch fire. The battery may become extremely hot or swell. Furthermore, the battery may begin to discolor, resulting in damage, blistering, and the emission of smoke.

How Can You Avoid an EV Fire?

Fires in electric vehicles are uncommon, and the risk of fire in EVs is significantly lower than in engine-powered vehicles. However, when an EV with a lithium-ion battery catches fire, it is extremely difficult to extinguish.

However, there are some basic precautions you can take to reduce the risk of fire.

  • The EV battery should not be charged immediately after the EV has stopped running because the lithium-ion cells inside the battery remain extremely hot at that time. Instead, allow the battery to cool down before charging it. If the battery is detachable, it is best to disconnect it from the vehicle and charge it separately.

  • Only use the battery designed for the vehicle. Using a cheaper or local battery may also cause damage to the electric vehicle. Use the charging cable that came with the EV as well.

  • Keep the batteries out of direct sunlight and hot vehicles. If the batteries are detachable, keep them in a dry place with adequate ventilation. When the batteries are fully charged, remove them from the charger.

  • Replacement batteries and chargers should be the same as the originals and purchased from the original manufacturer or an authorized reseller.

  • Before using, check for any damage and faults in batteries. If a flaw is found, do not use it and notify the manufacturer. If the battery is extremely hot and shows signs of damage, do not use it.

Final Thoughts

Are you contemplating whether electric vehicles are a boon or bane? Should you avoid EVs?

We don't need to be concerned about minor EV fires, but we do need to be aware of certain things. The numerous benefits of electric vehicles have overshadowed their risks, encouraging people to make a paradigm shift in their favor.

If you own an EV, a few simple precautions can keep both - you and your vehicle safe. When it comes to charging and vehicle use, follow all of the manufacturer's recommendations. Avoid using fast chargers as much as possible because they overload the system and shorten the battery's life cycle, and always use the correct cables and a proper well-earthed socket.

We hope that this article has assisted you in the causes of the EVs catching the fire and how to avoid such incidents. We’re open to receive your feedback whether this is helpful or not. Tell us in the comments.

To learn more about such things related to EVs, visit our website TRiDE Mobility or download our mobile application available on Google Play Store and Apple Store

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