JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Climate change causes car fires

 

Don’t try this at home:

Premature energy release can ruin your whole day.

h/t Jim Simpson

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Rating: 9.7/10 (51 votes cast)
Climate change causes car fires, 9.7 out of 10 based on 51 ratings

61 comments to Climate change causes car fires

  • #
    TdeF

    It’s fine. Wait a few minutes. All those cars are renewables. Current models too.

    211

  • #
    Rick Kinsman

    LOL. A small scale demonstration of a global problem.

    170

  • #
    Richard Ilfeld

    Snark is always tempting, but there is a real problem here. We have a 120 year history MOL of application engineering of internal combustion engines
    run by real consumers under real life conditions, including those competing for the Darwin awards. On has to assume that, as we force new technologies into the marketplace,
    everything that can go wrong will go wrong, including lots of things that engineers tell us can’t possibly go wrong. Operation at scale, in the real world, with real consumers,
    and real weather, and real employees, showing real typical diligence, doing real typical maintenance, with typical real world political direction….have ya ever noticed that toast always falls jelly side down. Literally thousands of people died to get our transport system to its current standard which still kills thousands per year. But given the potential risk, filling station fires while refueling, somewhat amazingly, are pretty rare. The lithium lobby is still working on the issue, with reports for everything from cars to sell phones auto-igniting. One suspect other nasty problems will show themselves; more destructively if the technologies are forced to market by political hacks.

    When cars were introduced, horses were allowed to compete.

    140

    • #
      RickWill

      Li Auto has been building hybrid electric vans since 2015. Obviously that is ample time in China to do all the required road worthiness tests. Interestingly it is the second time one of their vans has caught on fire.

      No one knows what they don’t know. It is difficult to copy something and get it right first time. There is literally millions of hours of engineering knowledge embodied in most cars on the roads in current time. Very challenging to copy all that and have an understanding of all the detail.

      There have been some serious clangers with new model cars and I figure Li Auto are learning the lessons fast.

      Li Auto listed in the USA this year so expect to see the vans in the US soon. Please step aside Elon. You have competition for the subsidies in the USA. The Chinese can offer a good part of a vehicle from the subsidy alone.

      I expect there will soon be some distancing rules around proximity of vehicle battery charging points.

      60

  • #
    OriginalSteve

    In holland they just dump a burning EV into a water filled dumpster until it burns itself out…then drain the water and voila…return to sender!

    90

    • #
      • #
        OriginalSteve

        By truck I’d expect…..a diesel….

        100

      • #
        Konrad

        Gas powered forklift typically.

        Manatu for preferance.

        A Franna crane means firefighters have to get close to rig the lift, which is too dangerous.

        00

        • #

          So wherever a vehicle is burning they somehow get a forklift and a large body of water handy. There must be millions of them placed around the country for that to work.

          03

        • #

          So wherever a vehicle is burning they somehow get a forklift and a large body of water handy. There must be millions of them placed around the country for that to work.

          03

          • #
            Analitik

            Yes, imagine how well that would work for on the Nullabor or the Hume Highway. Even the South Eastern Freeway through the Adelaide Hills would be problematic.

            As for a fire in a tunnel….

            10

      • #
        beowulf

        This is the incident.
        https://www.autoblog.com/2019/03/26/firefighters-dropped-smoldering-bmw-i8-water-tank/

        They lifted it with a HYAB in fact as it was only smouldering. Judging by the writing on the side of the tank, it belongs to the fire brigade (Brandweer), so they had time to bring it onsite.

        . . . the hybrid sports car [BMW i8 ] had begun smoking while inside of a showroom. The car was moved outside before firefighters took initial containment steps. The ultimate procedure was to lift the car and drop it into what essentially looks like a scrap dumpster full of water.

        At face value, it all seems like a bit of odd overkill, but that’s far from the truth. We’ve told you . . . that typical firefighting procedures involving vehicles with internal combustion engines cannot be used on electric vehicles. The i8 is not a fully electric vehicle, but it does contain similar parts in its hybrid powertrain setup.

        Because of the chemistry of the lithium-ion batteries found in most EVs, their chemical fires can take massive amounts of water to put out and keep out. So, instead of dousing a car with water, it’s smarter to put it in water, where it will safely be stifled.

        The problem with this solution is that it requires a massive container to fill with water. It’s also not timely. As more information on how to battle EV fires is attained, it will be interesting to see how many response units adopt this type of approach. Hopefully, a simpler and quicker method is found soon.

        And there’s this Tesla that crashed.
        https://www.autoblog.com/2019/03/25/fatal-tesla-model-s-crash-ev-fires/

        Firefighters eventually used water to put out the flames, but the Model S re-ignited two more times after being towed away from the crash site, a phenomenon that has happened in previous Tesla crashes. First responders eventually had to call the county hazmat unit for advice.

        That’s why they dropped it in water.

        60

  • #
    yarpos

    I guess it refreshing that at least this time its not a Tesla. I find it amazing that these incidents are as infrequent as they are given the complexity of the battery packs, and as Richard says the immaturity of the technology package in modern EVs.

    40

    • #
      RickWill

      The vehicle is a hybrid and the fire was determined to have started when a damaged fuel line leaked fuel onto a hot exhaust – at least that is what the maker, Li Auto, is claiming.

      30

      • #
        Chad

        I think that was a different incident,.
        ….an SUV, and on an expressway ?

        Chinese new-energy vehicle startup Li Auto has explained why one of its vehicles caught fire on August 6 in Guangdong Province.
        The Beijing-based automaker said the fire was caused by an object that had flown off from under the car and pierced a high-pressure fuel line. Li Auto manufactures extended-range electric vehicles, which are essentially hybrid vehicles that utilize gasoline to extend the range of the car, so the car has a fuel line.

        The sport-utility vehicle, one of the first Li Auto models since mass production began in November last year, went on fire on the Sihui and Lianzhou expressways in Zhaoqing.

        10

  • #
    TdeF

    I had a Chrysler Charger for years. Great car. Never tried to plug it in though.

    131

    • #
      yarpos

      probably never burst into flames sitting in the garage either

      80

    • #
      Deano

      I had a 1971 VH 4.1 litre 3 speed only because I couldn’t get the 4.3 litre 4 speed within my budget at the time (1984). Great car on country roads although it’s arse was prone to slide out around bumpy corners at speed. Bags of room up front and surprisingly economical for such a big motor using 50 year old technology.

      Hey Charger!

      10

  • #
    OriginalSteve

    you can see the moment a battery ruptures and goes…you see the blast of air and then it really goes up. You see a similar thing on youtube videos when people puncture lithium batteries.

    The car next to it didnt do so well either. Amazing how fast it burnt….I guess magnesium, lithium, plastic and aluminium….should burn well.

    Maybe they need to keep a car-sized dumpster full of water nearby all charging stations…..

    40

  • #
    Graeme No.3

    To make electric vehicles comparable with current IC ones (range/load carrying) requires the energy density of the batteries to be 3 to 4 times greater than current lithium ones.
    Compare a lithium battery which has 3 – 5 times that of a standard lead/acid battery and the number of times that the latter appear on YouTube catching fire. In other words expect a lot more & worse fires as legislation drives the adoption of electric cars.

    I have become a fan of the aluminium “battery”. 5 times the energy of a Tesla lithium one, never recharged in public or in homes (with no supervision), and swapped when almost used in a short time.

    31

    • #
      Konrad

      Correct.

      If we ever rebuild our generation capacity to allow EVs, then the aluminum/air reactor is they way too go.

      Lithium is in too short supply, takes too long to recharge, has poor energy density and the issue of dendrite formation and shorting during recharge has only been minimized, not solved.

      Aluminium/air has an energy density to better petrol, it is crash safe and it can be refuelled as fast as petrol.

      31

  • #
    Geoff Croker

    What happens when you have a car park full of these things? Say, at a shopping centre? What gases are released? Do you leave unburnt but die of toxins later?

    Is the fire brigade on your EV car insurance? Does it cover all the third parties?

    Does the fire release any CO2? Needs to go on the climate change total.

    What happens if the power feed gets an overvoltage or non-synch AC current caused by reNEW ables?

    These EVs are PERFECT for lawyers and terrorists. Look mum, no C5. Plug it in and it burns. Don’t plug it in and it becomes a fixture.

    Lithium@work.

    40

  • #
    Chad

    Obviously some mixed reports going on..

    Li Auto said one of its Li One plug-in hybrid vehicles caught fire on an expressway in the southern Chinese city of Zhaoqing. Two passengers were hospitalized and under observation, according to a company announcement (in Chinese).
    The Nasdaq-listed EV maker blamed the accident on what appeared to be iron bands snagged by the speeding SUV that smashed through the fuel pipe, sparking the fire. The final results from the investigation have not been revealed.
    This was the second report from Li Auto about a fire involving one of its vehicles. There have been a series of quality complaints ranging from brakes to suspension problems over the past few months.

    https://technode.com/2020/08/13/xpeng-li-auto-face-quality-concerns-after-car-fires/

    00

  • #
    Dennis

    I happened to find and read again the NSW NRMA Magazine article Electric Cars In Australia, your questions answered: Open Road May/June 2019

    It annoys me that the authors use spread thickly marketing puffery and hyperbole to promote EV to readers, but read those misleading comments and it is very clear that a political agenda is underway, following on from the transition to unreliable energy wind and solar politics and wealth creation, ignoring the problems, pricing and inconvenience for drivers.

    20

  • #
    Dennis

    By the way, from 2021 in NSW all EV driven, NSW registration or interstate, must display blue stickers on the front and rear number plates indicating to authorities that the vehicle is electric.

    Same requirement as LPG fuelled vehicles.

    In other words warning, this vehicle could require special careful handling in the event of an accident.

    40

    • #

      That is not excluding petrol and diesel from requiring special handling though. I think you mean different handling. The special handling without a sticker is assumed to be a liquid fuel at ambient temperature and pressure.

      03

      • #
        Dennis

        I meant special handling, Liquid Petroleum Gas presents a more serious potential danger than diesel or petrol, lithium ion battery exothermic reaction is even more dangerous than LPG.

        50

        • #
          Dennis

          Consider why the authorities require LPG red stickers and now blue EV stickers, but no diesel or petrol warning.

          40

          • #
            OriginalSteve

            Yup….reqyires a bulldozer to dig a pit then push the burning ev onto it and cover with earth. Then just leave it there…its more useful as landfill….

            30

            • #
              Chad

              Actually …..the stickers are to warn “first responders” what they are dealing with.
              Most vehicles will normally be Petrol or Diesel, with well known risks, but LPG is not so common and a different risk (violent explosion). And EVs present the danger of high voltage electrocution if Emergency Services start randomly cutting victims out of a crashed EV, or FR’s contact damaged power cables etc.

              00

          • #

            petrol and diesel are the defaults so no sticker required (duh)

            00

          • #

            petrol and diesel are the defaults so no sticker required (duh)

            00

  • #
    truth

    The CAGW hoax is built on circular argument….and everything is inserted into that circular merry-go-round to make the next argument seem incontrovertible and resistance futile… because the previous insertion has changed everything.

    EVs are the prop for the Global Socialists to claim that there’s no going back…that without them we’re going to be immobilized and disempowered because there will be nothing else.

    They’ll tell us we must embrace EVs because they’re needed to mop up the spillovers and as storage for the inevitable wind/solar floods or famines in their dodgy 100% weather-dependent electricity ‘system’ that they claim we demanded because many of us just went ahead and installed rooftop solarPV.

    …that we installed rooftop solar not in a bid for autonomy…in a desperate defence against astronomical electricity bills caused by the Government/AEMO corrupt social engineering for RE …but just because we are ardent true believers in CAGW.

    …that the authorities had no option after they were amazed and caught unawares by that consumer-led revolution

    …that the authorities had no option but to follow in the revolution’s footsteps …and facilitate it because the politicians are the servants of the people doncha know..

    …that they had no option but to spend ever more billions of the people’s money …without ever asking….on ever-more corrupt social engineering subsidies to corrupt the ‘market’ for the sake of the foreign carpetbaggers…to entice them to build more wind and solar farms to try to keep industry powered…

    …that government had no option but to favor the carpetbaggers so the favored carpetbaggers could nobble and ultimately destroy their competition ie destroy the cheap, efficient and reliable FF plants and system that are systematically hog-tied by the Government social engineering…

    ….so the favored carpetbaggers could send electricity prices sky high

    ….so consumers would install more rooftop solar to dodge the soaring electricity bills from the Government corruption of dispatch..

    …that the Government had to corrupt dispatch to justify favoring more foreigners …especially China…. being favored for dispatch so the FF system could be buried
    ….so with FF decimated…..the vacuum in supply that leaves could now be used to justify subsidizing more foreign carpetbaggers….

    …so the inexorably-increasing dependence on foreign carpetbaggers could be used to justify billions in new transmission build…battery of the nation plus new Marinus link plus Snowy 2.0 regardless of cost…plus synchronous condensers plus more foreign carpetbaggers for the 7x overbuild ..plus whatever the foreign and local carpetbaggers want….

    …so that electricity would become even more expensive and unreliable …in order to pay for the subsidies to the foreign carpetbaggers…and try to compensate for their inherent unreliability.

    …so the carpetbaggers would stick around after they’ve killed coal …to intermittently power the dregs of Australian industry and military ….so they could spill their leftovers into EVs so EVs can be tapped to keep the lights on …etc etc…

    …that you drove it all for reasons of autonomy…but now any of you who did that, must relinquish that autonomy forthwith because you must by law allow the authorities to herd you into collectives…to remotely orchestrate and control your solar homes …so the authorities can switch you off ….or the grid will collapse and catastrophe will inevitably ensue….and it will all be the fault of the ‘consumer-led revolution’ out of nowhere.

    It’s more a deadly vortex than a circular argument.. puts your head in a spin…boggles your mind and scrambles your brain and it’s meant to…as it drags the country down into nothingness…meant to shut down your mind..…as everything is, in these times of deliberately-altered reality.

    Bottom line…it will be all your fault.

    70

    • #
      PeterS

      Well it is actually our fault. It’s our fault for not protesting at the ballot box and giving both major parties a clear message we no long stand for that nonsense. It appears though too many voters don’t give a damn, are clueless of asleep. So, yes it is our fault.

      40

      • #

        Is it OUR fault for not taking the time to do a (lengthy because it’s well hidden) search on EVERYTHING related to battery cars, or someone else’s fault for not telling you about it in the first place, and then, having told everyone all about it, is it then our fault for not being electrically trained enough to understand it all, or their fault for taking advantage of our lack of understanding.

        It actually is a circular argument.

        And the people who DO KNOW all about it, are considered to be someone with a ‘barrow’ to push, eh! So no one’s going to listen to a word they say anyway, no matter how well they explain it.

        Tony.

        110

    • #
      Zigmaster

      Youre right about the circular arguments we have. Every time there are major outages or exorbitant price increases with our power supply the people in charge argue that the solution is more renewables will make it more reliable and cheaper. So as more renewables make the system worse we need to build more to make it better.
      And sceptics are portrayed as the crazy ones.

      60

  • #
    Ronald Bruce

    Not the first one and it certainly won’t be the last one. Like everything else the warmies do it’s going to blow up in their faces.

    40

  • #
    Bill Hall

    This is definitely the funniest thing I’ve seen all day ! – Thanks Jo ! :-)

    20

  • #
    Bill Hall

    This is definitely the funniest thing I’ve seen all day ! – Thanks Jo ! :-)

    00

  • #
    tygrus

    The “EV’s never blow up” statement is false.
    The “EV’s always blow up” statement is false.

    Some of each car type have accidents, failures and fires that includes EV’s, hybrids, LPG, petrol & diesels.

    “Accidents per 1M cars per year” EV vs hybrid vs full hydrocarbon?

    “Fires per 1M cars per year” EV vs hybrid vs full hydrocarbon?

    Also consider rates “per 1 Million kms travelled per year..”

    These examples show “it can happen” but not the relative rates. Therefore, no degree of danger can be inferred.

    What can be concluded is that additional monitoring, fire suppression / fire fighting, or car improvements could be useful. How people should act and quickly call the fire service (signs, big red buttons and/or automated notification of driver & fire service).

    11

    • #
      Dennis

      EV globally is a very small percentage of the vehicle fleets, so the lithium ion dangers, exothermic reaction after a collision, hard bump to the underbody and battery pack, hot conditions have not yet been comparable to internal combustion engine vehicles.

      But despite the small number of EVs registered there have been in my opinion too many fires to ignore, and with due consideration for the rapid inferno situation and very difficult to extinguish situation.

      40

    • #
      truth

      Was there not a case where two young people found their on-fire EV locked automatically somewhere in the US and they were burned to death?

      Not sure of the details and can’t find the story so far…..but the following is from an investigation for the British car park industry of what to do in the event of EV ignition in a car park.

      [ 'It was not easy to uncover a little-known fact that in some batteries the chemical composition can produce its own oxygen (not to be confused with Lithium Oxygen batteries) as the chain reaction within the battery proceeds once overheating and burning begins.
      This will contribute greatly to the problems of extinguishing such fires in battery systems using these chemical combinations, because they cannot be starved of oxygen, which is the main method of extinguishing a fire.
      This scenario may lead damaged batteries to reignite or continue to burn when there is little oxygen available.
      Thermal runaway causing batteries near to each other to reach critical ignition temperatures do not need to be punctured, because, as the flash point temperature is achieved the electrolytes will ignite which in turn can burn with the oxygen they produce within the battery. ']

      https://www.britishparking.co.uk/write/Lithium_ion_batteries_EV_vehicles_and_their_impact_on_the_parking_industry_by_Lesie_Donohue-Bromley_.pdf

      Think of a car park full of EVs in the dungeons beneath a residential tower full of sleeping people.

      And this…also from the British article, is… I think…an instance described in an earlier comment.

      [ 'At present many fire brigades are not fully equipped to deal with a fire resulting in thermal runaway, as was demonstrated at the scene of a fatal accident where the vehicle was left to burn out over a period of six hours, only to reignite on the recovery vehicle and then again 24 hours later (https://youtu.be/T3RNISfwa4E ).
      The fire chief commented he was reluctant to pump the recommended 3,000 US gallons (11,370 Litres) or 11.37 tons of water into the car as he had concerns about possible dangerous pollution from battery chemicals being washed into the environment.' ]

      10

      • #
        Chad

        One of The biggest problem with EV battery fires is being able to access the source of the fire which is inside the battery pack ..usually a well sealed , often metal encased (Tesla) and burried under the car structure.
        Water, in quantity and in the right place, is very effective at extinguishing the fire and more importantly, cooling the heat generated by damaged/ shorted cells, which produced the gasses to fuel the fire.
        EV makers should have to install a external “flooding” connection to enable the Fire dept of force flood water direct into the pack,..rather than randomly spray the external surfaces.
        But no one wants to admit to the potential fire risk currently !

        20

  • #
    Paul Miskelly

    This story re the potential fire hazard in Lithium battery technology perhaps explains why Toyota have persisted with NiMH battery technology. I note that in a recent press release, Toyota claim that they are pursuing research into what they call “solid-state battery technology”, that they are going this route to higher energy densities in order to avoid the flammability issues apparent in Lithium-based technologies. (No, I have no connection whatsoever with this company.)
    On another tack, of course if we were to apply the same safety standards to motor vehicles as we do to nuclear reactors, then we would demand that vehicles using Lithium battery technologies would be required to be fitted with a very large tank of water, so fitted that, in the event of an emergency, the water would be dumped passively under gravity so as to form a deep, intact pool smothering the battery and thus eliminating all chance of fire.
    Well done, Jo, and well spotted Jim Simpson.
    Regards,
    Paul Miskelly

    20

    • #
      Chad

      Toyota have installed Lithium ion batteries in many of their models (the Prime range of Plug in Hybrids) .. but none of those are sold in Australia.
      Recently they have changed the top selling Camry Hybrid from NiMh to Li ion pack.
      Like most players in the EV space, Toyota are developing and testing various battery chemistry’s
      https://evcentral.com.au/toyota-camry-hybrid-battery-upgraded/

      00

      • #
        Analitik

        It will be interesting to see how the new Toyota battery packs perform over time. One of the weaknesses of Li ion cells is they tend to degrade significantly faster in hot conditions.

        As an aside, it doesn’t say much for the progress of the solid-state battery venture that Toyota has embarked upon if they are transitioning from NiMH to Li ion

        00

        • #
          Chad

          There are many different Lithium battery chemistrys, with varying degrees of cycle life/ degradation performance response to temperature .
          Modern EVs mostly use “ active” thermal management systems to maintain safe temperatures and maximise useful life.
          I dont know why Toyota have chosen to change to lithium (NCA..Tesla type) cells, ..but it is most likely a cost driven decision ?
          Solid state is not ready for commercial applications yet.

          00

  • #
    Deano

    Electric car fires and any other problems with EVs will be hushed up in the same way any data contradicting the sacred global warming mantra is.

    “EV fires? No, we’ve no records of that ever happening.”

    20

  • #
    Analitik

    E-bikes can be a fire hazard too, as was demonstrated last April when a woman had her house burn down when the e-bike battery ignited while charging (ironically, the bike itself survived because she stored that outside)
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/an-orange-flash-then-melanie-s-house-burnt-down-20190426-p51hj2.html

    And it’s not an isolated case – in the US, Lyft stopped e-bike hiring because of fires.
    https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/a28778383/electric-bike-explosion/

    00

  • #
    Jim in Newcastle.

    If we could only contain the energy from that fire and use it to heat something like water to a high pressure and then use the high pressure steam to drive a piston……..

    10