Fri. Nov 27th, 2020

As much as many automakers want to move towards the electric vehicle market, one hindrance keeps pulling them back. They are experiencing an issue with the batteries since they keep catching fire. A good example is the case of BMW with 10 BMW and Mini plug-in hybrid models. The recall resulted from debris in their battery cells, probably during manufacturing, which increased fire risk. The next related instance was an investigation into Chevrolet Bolt EVs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated the investigation in early October due to several spontaneous battery fires in the same model.

Hyundai didn’t stay behind as it also recorded similar cases where their EVs caught fire even when parked. It had to recall 75,000 Kona Electric SUVs, out of which 6,700 were in the United States. Last year, there were two battery fires associated with Tesla that went viral. To mitigate that, the company updated the vehicle software. Before that, it had chosen plated following yet another car fire resulting from battery damage. The truth is that all cars can experience the same, including those using diesel and gasoline. 

However, there is much scrutiny and attention regarding EVs since they are the new kid on the block. According to AutoTrader’s automotive relations director Michelle Krebs, that can affect its market. The data is from Cox Automotive, the firm’s parent company that regularly carries out car shoppers surveys. According to the survey’s data, most buyers are looking for two main things, safety, and dependability. Krebs says that the fires make EVs not live up to the expectations of many people.

However, the fires don’t come as a surprise who understand the technology behind the batteries. They are lithium-ion batteries, and they are bound to catch fire in case of faulty manufacturing, damage, or misuse. They also use software that ensures that the batteries produce neither too little nor too much electric charge. According to Energy and Power Technologies at Underwriters Laboratories’ principal engineer director Ken Boyce, it would also cause a fire if it failed to do that job.

He added that given the number of lithium-ion batteries out there and the cases of related fires recorded, it is not something that calls for alarm. After all, out of 12 million batteries, only one is faulty. Equally important, they are the same ones in automobiles and smartphones too.

As far as Marty Ahrens, NFPA’s research manager, is concerned, it is too early to give a verdict on EVs battery fires. He said that the fires often occur once a car is older, and as of now, almost all EVs are new. As for Matt DeLorenzo, battery fires shouldn’t discourage anyone from buying an EV because if that were the case, people would have stopped buying gasoline cars a long time ago since they also experience fires.

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